Hope Islands National Park

The Hope Isles were gazetted as a national park in 1939. The islands are located 27km south-east of Cooktown within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

 

Snorkelling, camping, bird watching and fishing are all popular activities on Hope Isles. East Hope Island is a popular anchorage.

 

The waters surrounding Hope Isles are Conservation Park zone (yellow). This provides for limited recreational fishing, one hook per line and two lines per person are permitted. Spearfishing is allowed in the Hope Isles area. Please note that spearguns are not allowed on the islands (firearms are prohibited on the National Park).

Geology and Landform

 

With a total area of 174ha and an average height of 9m East and West Hope Islands are separate cays on two separate reefs, with a deep channel between them. West Hope Island is a solitary vegetated shingle cay. East Hope Island is a heavily vegetated sand cay, accompanied on the reef top by a small shingle bank rising 1.5m above the reef flat on its windward margin. It has developed from a distinctive shingle tongue, and cemented edges are found just seaward of the main bank.

 

Cultural heritage - Aboriginal

The islands are part of the traditional sea country of the Kuku Yalanji Aboriginal people who still use the area for hunting, fishing and collecting. Today many of the people traditionally associated with the Hope Isles live at Wujal Wujal Aboriginal community on the Bloomfield River.

 

Cultural heritage - European

 

In 1770 Lt James Cook, aboard the Endeavour, struck a reef and started taking in water. They had passed the “two small low islands” earlier and Cook wrote of them “I have named them Hope Islands, because we were always in hope of being able to reach these islands".

Plants and Animals

 

Plants

West Hope Island supports mangroves on the northern and western sections, with sea purslane on the south-eastern rampart. The eastern side is dominated by red condo and native chinese lantern, draped with nickernut.

 

East Hope Island in dominated by beach almond and the red coondoo in the centre, with sea trumpet, silver bush and nickernut around the edges. On the foreshore, colonising plants include the goat's foot convolvulus and coastal jack bean. Numerous vines are present in this area of the island, including native moon flower.

Animals

Twenty-five species of seabirds and eleven species of woodland birds have been recorded on the Hope Isles. The seabirds include the Australian pelican, eastern reef heron, osprey, white-bellied sea eagle, sooty oystercatcher, Mongolian plover, crested tern, sharp-tailed sandpiper, bridled tern, sooty tern and brown booby. The woodland birds include bar-shouldered dove, sacred kingfisher, varied honeyeater, white-breasted woodswallow, buff-banded rail, forest kingfisher and figbird.

Twenty-five species of seabirds and eleven species of woodland birds have been recorded on the Hope Isles. The seabirds include the Australian pelican, eastern reef heron, osprey, white-bellied sea eagle, sooty oystercatcher, Mongolian plover, crested tern, sharp-tailed sandpiper, bridled tern, sooty tern and brown booby. The woodland birds include bar-shouldered dove, sacred kingfisher, varied honeyeater, white-breasted woodswallow, buff-banded rail, forest kingfisher and figbird.

Hope Isles are an important breeding ground for pied imperial-pigeons which spend the summer months nesting on the islands. They are also important breeding islands for large raptors. Human activity can cause the death of young chicks due to stress and predation if nesting birds are disturbed.

 

 

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