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Cumberland Islands, Great Barrier Reef

July 24, 2017 - July 29, 2017


The Cumberland Islands lie off Mackay on the central coast of Queensland. Located south of the Whitsunday Islands, the vast majority of the Cumberland’s are well off the tourist trails and are only visited by cruising sailors and a few local boaters. You can expect a true island and ocean wilderness brimming with wildlife, with an amazing cultural history and outstanding natural values.

Wildmob has been involved in conservation of the Cumberland Islands for the past eight years, and we have a wide range of projects underway amongst these islands including; restoration of critically endangered littoral (beach) rain forest, weed control, removal of marine debris (plastic, nets, ropes and so forth) from marine turtle nesting beaches, seabird surveys, turtle research and the list goes on. During the Cumberland Island’s Expeditions we will be visiting one or more islands, selecting our project location(s) based on the prevailing weather. Our conservation work is based on the Wildmob ethos of “Doing Things That Matter” and as part of the Wildmob team you can expect to be doing sensible, pragmatic conservation work that really makes a big difference.

Of course whilst doing so, you will camp on tropical white sand beaches, explore remote bays, sail, try stand up paddle boarding or ocean kayaking, snorkel and enjoy the company of like minded people.

We need enthusiastic adventurers to join our highly experienced project leaders in these unique restoration projects. We’ll sail to the islands and set camp for six days targeting invasive weeds and marine debris and collecting natural history information that will help guide future management of these magnificent islands.

Where do we meet?
Mackay Marina Village, Mackay Marina Office
Mulherin Drive, Mackay Harbour, QLD

What time do we leave and when do we return?
Start date: Monday 24/07/2017 at 7:00 am
End date: Saturday 29/07/2017 at approximately 1:00 pm

We strongly suggest you do not plan to fly out of Mackay before 4PM on the day of arrival back into Mackay as delays might occur because of weather or other circumstances outside of our control.

What’s Included:

From stepping on board The Wild Cat at Mackay Marina to stepping off again 6 days later we’ll take care of the catering, supply camping equipment, working equipment and snorkelling gear

Example Day:

7.00am Breakfast

8.00am Daily Briefing

8.15am Island Rehabilitation

10.00am Morning Tea

10.30am Island Rehabilitation

1.00pm Lunch

1.45pm Snorkeling/swimming/exploring/relaxing/ stand up paddle boarding, kayaking

5.00pm Free Time (Relax)

6.00pm Dinner with a group meeting and discussion

The Cumberland Islands, as first charted by then Lieutenant James Cook in 1770, included the islands directly offshore of Mackay through to the northern part of what is now referred to as the Whitsunday Islands. More contemporary convention has the Cumberland Islands including Brampton and Carlisle, St Bees and Keswick, Scawfell, Penrith, The Smith group and a scattering of others. Naming semantics aside, the Cumberland’s have huge conservation value and play integral roles in conserving Australia’s biodiversity. They are also examples of the evolutionary processes that were driven by a great period of climate change, the warming of the last Ice Age during the Holocene Period (commencing about 12,000 years ago). This period saw massive increases in sea level, which inundated the coastal plain, resulting in formation of the Cumberland and other islands along the Queensland coast.

The Cumberland Islands floristically are very similar to the adjacent mainland to which they were once attached. However, as they are now islands, there are remarkable opportunities for conservation of biological diversity, which mainland areas do not have. For example, few islands have populations of vertebrate pests, and the only remaining population of e.g. feral goats is being removed from St Bees Island. With careful vigilance to biosecurity, we are also able to prevent pests such as feral cats and introduced rodents from invading these islands. Further, we can to a large degree prevent new infestations of weeds, and we can dramatically reduce the impacts of those that have established. For example, Wildmob places a strong focus on rehabilitation and ongoing management of critically endangered littoral rainforest. http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/communities/pubs/76-listing-advice.pdf

Wildmob also works to improve habitat quality for threatened species that use the Cumberland’s during part or all of their life cycle. For example, we remove marine debris from marine turtle nesting beaches, and areas used by seabirds and migratory waders, so as to significantly reduce the risks of ingestion and entanglement. https://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/d945695b-a3b9-4010-91b4-914efcdbae2f/files/marine-debris-threat-abatement-plan.pdf

The Australian landscape has been moulded over millennia through the use of fire by Aboriginal peoples. Application of Traditional fire science is integral to maintaining ecosystem diversity and structure, and in more contemporary management regimes, the control of many weed species because they are not tolerant to fire like native species. The Cumberland Islands are no different and Wildmob is close to completing a comprehensive fire management strategy for these islands on behalf of the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service. Wildmob is playing an integral role in monitoring and planning the use of fire that mimics to the greatest possible extent, Traditional Aboriginal fire science.

Wildmob is a science based organisation that seeks to be guided by the best available information. That includes Traditional Ecological Knowledge. We are humbled and enormously grateful for the guidance that we have received from the Traditional Owners of the Cumberland Islands, the Ngaro people.

Wild Mob respectfully acknowledges the Ngaro people, their Elders past and present, and the important role they continue to play on Land and Sea Country where we carry out our conservation projects.

The following equipment items are essential to ensure your safety, comfort and enjoyment of the program.

  • 1 large backpack – better than a suitcase as you will be required to carry your luggage at times.
  • 1 small backpack for daytime activities.
  • Sleeping bag
  • 1 or more pairs of long working shirts and trousers – to protect against scratches from plants, mosquito bites and the sun.
  • Wet weather clothing. Preferably lightweight.
  • Warm clothes – it can get cold at night. A fleece, wind stopper or sweater is ideal.
  • 1 pair of walking boots, trainers or sneakers (strong soles)
  • 1 pair of CLOSED shoes with strong soles that can get wet. (sneakers or reef shoes made out of wetsuit material, available at stores such as K-Mart or BigW for approx $20, high ankles are best)
  • 1 pair of sandals, thongs or flip-flops
  • Towel
  • Personal medication & toiletries. Sunscreen (highest protection factor) and insect repellent– preferably biodegradable
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat – wide brimmed for plenty of shade
  • Personal drink bottle – total minimum 2 litres.
  • Torch and spare batteries – head torch preferable.
  • Bring plenty of casual clothing t-shirts, tops, shorts, socks, underwear and anything else you may need for the week.


  • Camera and spare batteries


  • 1 Small Pillow / Pillow case to put jumper in
  • Binoculars – optional to spot wildlife

Important note: Bring any personal medication and medical equipment, as there is no access to pharmacies on the Island


Moderate: 4 hours a day habitat restoration

Camping, solar shower, camping toilets

2 to 4 hour voyage on the Wild Cat amongst the Cumberland Islands

Secluded tropical island, relax, explore and snorkel


July 24, 2017
July 29, 2017
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