Agnes Water: The Kangaroo Place

Kangaroo looking mad

The Town of 1770 has long piqued my curiosity, purely because it has a number for a name. Officially it’s spelled out as ‘Seventeen Seventy’ in keeping with Queensland’s naming convention, but writing ‘1770’ seems more fitting for the world’s only town with a number for a name.

1770 was called Round Hill until 1970, when it was rechristened to commemorate the bicentenary of then-Lieutenant Cook’s first landing in Queensland. He is impossible to ignore as he sailed all over Oceania ‘discovering’ places, disregarding the history that existed prior to his arrival.

secluded beach australia
“Let’s call this James Cook beach because I’m a white European and that’s how it works.”

Twinned with 1770 is Agnes Water; the two are connected by a 7km stretch of Captain Cook (!) Drive. It’s considered Queensland’s northernmost surf beach, safe from stingers and still drawing in a bit of swell.

All of these things were interesting, but what finally got me to 1770 & Agnes Water was the promise of camping with kangaroos. (Looks like I’m not that great with history either.)

We use the excellent WikiCamps app when choosing campsites, and that’s how Jared learned about Horizons Kangaroo Sanctuary. This is how that went down:

“Hey this place in Agnes Water lets you camp with kangaroos,” he said.


Horizons is run by a couple who rehabilitate orphaned joeys before releasing them into the wild. They have about ten campsites on the property and all proceeds go to the joeys, so everybody wins.

baby joey peeking out of pouch
This guy. This guy wins.

Except the neighbours, who are vehemently opposed to an increased number of kangaroos in the area, but that’s a different story.

joey climbs into pouch
Unlike human babies, joeys can climb right back in there. Not the only point of difference I suppose.

It was one of our most beautiful campsite vistas to date, on top of a hill with the ocean in front of us and the mountains behind us. And, of course, kangaroos everywhere.

Campsite agnes water
In a nutshell, why we quit our jobs.
Kangaroos agnes water
“Are you done yet? I’m next.”

Jared asked me recently if I thought I’d ever get tired of seeing kangaroos—after a combined 5+ years in Australia I still point them out whenever I spot one. In saying that, I still shout ‘COW!’ when I see cows, so my answer was no, I’ll never get sick of roos.

group of kangaroos
“What do you wanna do?” “I dunno what do you wanna do?”
baby kangaroo eats
Tandem snack time.

Camping at Horizons made me feel like the kangaroo version of Jane Goodall, surrounded by kangaroos who paid me no attention. I stood watch while Jared backed the car into the site, and even had to physically push one stubborn roo out of the way.

I felt pretty firmly in Australia at that moment, with my hand on the little animal’s furry backside, cooing at Skippy to get out of the way. The days to follow cemented that feeling; each day the kangaroos lounged around eating grass, sunning themselves, and scratching itches as required.

kangaroo scratching itself
Get that itch
kangaroo bouncing
Kangaroos’ll make ya JUMP JUMP

We were slightly more active than the kangaroos, though we had the advantage of wheels and managed to cover more ground. Agnes Water and 1770 are part of the Southern Great Barrier Reef, and the water is stunning.

beautiful beach agnes water
Love how the horizon curves.

The best views of our short visit were from the 1770 headland, accessible by walking track from the headland carpark or (surprise surprise) the Cook memorial cairn. Insider tip: if you detour a bit from the main paths, you can get down to secluded swimming beaches without too much trouble.

wading through water
But yeah, you might get wet.

Obviously, the standout for me was the kangaroo interaction. I’ve already taken to calling Agnes Water/1770 ‘the kangaroo place,’ despite the fact that kangaroos live all over Australia and Horizons isn’t the only place you can hang out with them.

But Agnes Water & 1770 is where I had my kangaroo experience, so the twin towns are forever linked to marsupials in my mind.

Maybe I’ll petition for another name change.

kangaroo in front of tent
“This is a one-roo tent, get out.”
hand petting kangaroo
Standard views from the tent.

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    1. I think it might be. I have noticed that I take way less photos of the kangaroos, but I still definitely stare at them as they stare at me until we’re both uncomfortable.

  1. The nightlife is quiet in Agnes Water and 1770, and with a lot of self-contained accommodation, it suits to eat in. We try a couple of places during the day and stay in at night especially as our beach shack is very cute and cosy!

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