The sleepy beach towns of Agnes Water and 1770 are often confused as being one place but are in fact two separate towns only a few km away. The gang and I stopped off here between Rockhampton and Bundaburg and stayed for a few days in Agnes Water (nicknamed Agnes all-of-the Water due to the crazy rain) to explore, in the hope of waiting out the weather before we got to Fraser Island. I couldn’t find much blogature (blog literature?) on either town which surprised me, and so we arrived only with stories told from travellers and with few expectations.
There are just three hostels of similar prices ($25 – $29, bear in mind these might be low season prices) and are all within the same area in Agnes Water (even though they have 1770 in their names – don’t be fooled). We stayed in Cool Bananas and couldn’t recommend it more – it was funky, chilled and friendly – I also felt very safe and comfortable leaving my stuff in an unlocked room while we went out (the norm there it seemed). Plus they offered crepes for pudding (+202342 points). When we visited it was super rainy and also low season so we risked it and rocked up, hitting the jackpot with an 8-bed dorm to ourselves but on our second night it was much busier so might have been a different story. Maybe book your first night or call ahead about availability to be on the safe side as there are only a few hostels.
What to do?
This seemed to be the tour to do here – a 3 hour historical tour on scooters souped up to look like Harleys – all you need is a car or provisional license. This is a great option if you’d like to explore 1770 and don’t have a car. Unfortunately, it was rubbish weather while we were in Agnes / 1770 and as we already had a car to use for exploring, we decided to skip this one and put the money towards diving later on.
Surfing Lesson $17
As it was already raining, we decided why not get even wetter and try surfing! None of us had ever surfed before and as I’m on my way down through the Gold Coast to Byron, I thought I should give it a crack. For a very reasonable $17, Reef 2 Beach surf school gave us a 3 hour beginners surfing lesson (10am – 1pm) with board / rashie hire included. For me this is a must in Agnes as it can be $60+ further down the coast. Full blog post to follow on these guys because they were awesome.
Agnes Water is one of the first places you hit if travelling south where you don’t need a stinger suit! Great for surfing, swimming and climbing over rocks.
Walk the National Park
There are a few short walks and lookouts at the very end of 1770 in James Cook National Park, overlooking the water and the beautiful cliffs below, we had a hoot even in the rain.
What to eat? Vegan / Veggie friendly?
There’s a fairly big grocery shop (Foodworks) not too far away from the hostels with all the basic necessities and it’s more common here for people to make some good ol’ tomato pasta rather than eat out. Our hostel offered a single value meat option, e.g. roo burger, every night but alas no veggie options. Other options to eat out are very limited and fairly pricey, the only vegan options I found were in Sol Foods – a health food shop with smoothies, vegan cakes etc – not so backpacker budget friendly but a yummy treat.
The Greyhound bus stop in Agnes is less than a five minute walk from the hostels which is convenient but if you’d like to see 1770 you’re out of luck as there is no public transport to get between Agnes Water and 1770. If you’re without a car, your options are to either rent a bicycle ($20ish day) or hitchhike however my advice would be to take the Scooteroo tour (see: what to do section).
The Premier bus stop is a 20 minute drive from the hostels but I believe most offer transfers.
How long to stay?
We spent two nights in Agnes and thought that was the perfect amount of time to see what we wanted to see. Having said that, Agnes / 1770 is so chill and cheap enough that it would make a great place for a bit of downtime mid road trip if you have no time frame. You could even ask about working for accommodation to make it an even cheaper – Cool Bananas offered a bed for 1.5hrs work a day with only a week minimum.
The lookouts over the cliffs of 1770 are very pretty with the waves crashing against the orange rocks – the wind and rain made photography a bit tricky for us though!
The town of 1770 is one of the few places you can see the sunset over the water so be sure to visit the beach to see it.