We joined Wildlife Queensland’s Townsville Branch recently to walk the Edmund Kennedy Track on one of their rare excursions beyond the local area.
The occasion was a joint expedition with the Cassowary Coast branch to commemorate the anniversary of Kennedy’s landing in 1848, and it was combined with a visit to Ninney Rise and a very convivial dinner at the nearby Bingil Bay Cafe. (Yes, that’s a free plug. Anyone who makes a laksa as good as theirs deserves one.) The weekend will be written up on the branch blog in due course so I will focus on the Track.
The Kennedy Track runs from the boat ramp at the southern end of South Mission Beach to the Hull River mouth. The two longest sections are wide open bays, Lugger Bay and Kennedy Bay, separated by the rugged Tam O’Shanter Head. The track was constructed by local conservation groups as a Bicentennial project and has been partially rebuilt after various cyclones since then.
It begins as a fully wheelchair-accessible boardwalk but narrows after 300 metres, continuing as a mix of boardwalk, constructed track, and beach walking. None of it is very difficult and I can only assume that Walks, Tracks and Trails visited it when it was in need of maintenance: they rated it “medium to hard” but “easy to medium” is far more accurate. Some sections are rough, narrow, steep, or all three, but they are short. The majority of the walk is on the beach – which might, admittedly, not all be such easy walking at high tide.
And the scenery is beautiful, with wonderful views out over Dunk Island and its smaller companions. The beaches are lined with paperbarks, wattles, mangroves and more other plants than you could poke a magnifying glass at.
The day began showery and cleared up during the morning. Most of us walked around Tam O’Shanter Head and stopped at the northern end of Kennedy Bay. That was 4 km from our starting point and we looked at 4 km of open beach ahead of us and decided we had gone far enough. Kudos, though, to those energetic souls who continued to Hull Heads!
The walk is poorly documented online and in fact the best description I found was a 2016 walk report on the WQ blog. Local tourist pages only give it a quick intro, and the National Parks pages don’t mention it at all (there’s an Edmund Kennedy section of the Girramay National Park but that’s well to the South, between Cardwell and Tully).