Taking a stroll along the Kennedy Walking Track is one of the best things to do in Mission Beach. In this one walk you can experience many of the things Mission Beach is best known for. You’ll walk along beautiful palm-lined beaches, get great views of Dunk Island and the other Family Islands, walk through rainforest and you might even bump into a cassowary.
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- Where does the Kennedy Walk Track Start?
- What to expect on the Kennedy Walking Track
Where does the Kennedy Walk Track Start?
You need to get yourself to South Mission Beach, and onto Kennedy Esplanade that runs along the beach. Drive until you can’t go any further, you’ll see the South Mission Beach Boat Ramp, a few carparks, a toilet block and the start to the Kennedy Track. There is a big sign and boardwalk, you can’t miss it.
How hard & long is the Kennedy Walking Track?
The Kennedy Walking Track is an easy to moderate level walk. Depending on how much of it you do, there will be steps to negotiate, a few small hills and there is some low level rock hopping in the second half of the walk. For walkers of average fitness and agility it is all manageable.
The first part of the track to Lovers Beach is on an access friendly boardwalk and is 320m one way. It is a lovely spot and if you just want somewhere with a nice a view to relax you couldn’t do much better.
But the walk does continue from there. To Morgans Lookout it is a 5.4km return walk and if you want to go on to Kennedy Bay you can add another 2.5km (return) on to that. It is further again if you want to walk all the way to the mouth of Hull River but is it worth it? We’ll discuss that shortly.
When is the best time to do the Kennedy Walking Track?
There are a couple of things to be aware of before you start the walk, the first is the tide. You want to do this walk at low or mid-tide. At high tide parts of the walk become inaccessible – this is especially the case at Luggers Bay and on a big tide also around the Mije Creek mangroves where you can see the highwater mark has previously covered the track.
Another thing to be aware of is the heat. Long stretches of the track are exposed so if you decide to do the walk from November to the start of May be prepared for hot and humid conditions and that there is nowhere to get a drink along the way. We didn’t have problems with mosquitoes but friends who have done the walk said they can be full on so it might be worth having some bug repellent handy too.
What to expect on the Kennedy Walking Track
We loved this walk; you get to experience a range of landscapes, the scenery is beautiful, there is lots of wildlife – you never know what you might see, and you walk over all sorts of terrain. Here are some of the highlights and what you can look forward to when you explore the Kennedy Walking Track.
Boardwalk to Lovers Beach
The officially named Edmund Kenndy Memorial Walking Track starts with a delightful short stroll along a boardwalk that hugs the coast to Lovers Beach. You could not want a more picturesque start to a walk, to your left are beautiful views across the water and to the right dense rainforest pushes right up against the wooden walkway.
The boardwalk meanders 320m to Lovers Beach where there is a large wooden platform, some seats and signage about the history of the track. It is not hard to imagine that a lot of people get to this point and go no further, it is such a nice spot! While you enjoy the views you can also read about the amazing community effort that went into constructing the path which was the vision of three locals – Len Staff and Norma and Bill Morgan.
Dunk Island Lookout
From Lovers Beach the boardwalk ends, and you continue on a dirt track up into the rainforest. There are a few short sets of steps to get up and down here, but they are not too big and there is plenty to distract you as you walk along. For our walk there were butterflies floating across the track and the leaf litter was alive with little lizards which could be shaded-litter rainbow skinks.
After going up and down some stairs you can take a short detour to a viewing platform – Dunk Island Lookout. There are great views from here of the Family Islands. Looking down into the water we spotted a turtle swimming along. There’s a bench seat in case you want to stop for longer, but otherwise from here the trail is downhill to Luggers Bay.
Lugger Bay Walk
From the start of the Kennedy Walking Track, it is 1.2km to Lugger Bay. Another small set of steps takes you down onto the 1km long crescent shaped bay. Before you set foot on the sand there are signs warning that incoming tides could cut off sections of the track from this point. As you come down off the stairs, you’ll spot a picnic table and chairs up on the rocks and a sign telling you, you are at Lugger Bay.
Don’t be tricked by the sign, the path does not continue beyond the table, that is just a rest spot. The walk goes along the beach on the sand. It was a lovely walk out in the morning, but by the time we came back it was a hot slog into the sun!
Mije Creek Mangroves
About 50m before the end of the beach there is a wooden post in the sand pointing right with directions to Mije Creek, Morgans Lookout and Kennedy Bay. You turn right off the beach then you take a left onto a dirt track – the marker had come loose here and pointed the wrong way so watch out for that – hopefully it has been fixed.
From the start of the walk, it is 2.3km to Mije Creek and this is a really different part of the walk as a sandy path takes you past mangroves, a small mud flat and over Mije Creek. It is hardly surprising to see a crocodile warning sign as you cross the creek, it really feels like croc country. The walk through the mangroves is interesting but short lived, the yellow trail markers soon lead you over a tangle of tree roots and up a small hill to Morgans Lookout.
Morgans Lookout to Kennedy Bay
After a short uphill hike along a dirt path and a few steps you get to Morgans Lookout which is 2.7km from the start of the walk. There is a shelter here and more great views across the water and Family Islands. You can continue down the hill and across a rocky track to a little patch of sand known as Turtle Bay. A concrete path then takes you around the headland to the start of Kennedy Bay which is 3.9km from the start of the walk. Keen walkers can continue along the beach of Kennedy Bay to the mouth of the Hull River.
One of the things we like about the Kennedy Walking Trail is that many of the best bits are in the first part of the walk. For families, just doing the section to the start of Lugger Bay is a great walk or if the kids are in good form, the walk as far as Morgans Lookout is really good fun, the ever changing environment keeps it interesting too.
Kennedy Walking Track Wildlife
As always, there are no guarantees with wildlife spotting, but there is the potential to see a lot on the Kennedy Walking Track. On our walk we spotted lots of butterflies in the rainforest, colourful skinks everywhere and a turtle at the Dunk Island Lookout. Around Mije Creek we saw some huge golden orb spiders. Also keep an eye out at Lugger Bay and see if you can spot the balls of sand made by the sand bubbler crabs.
There are cassowaries in the area so keep an eye out for them. Our cousin who lives in Mission Beach has come face to face with one on the path between Lovers Beach and Lugger Bay and there are frequent cassowary poo and footprint sightings on the Lugger Beach too. In the water also keep an eye for dolphins and dugongs.
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