The town of 1770 is noted more for its picturesque place in history than its mangroves, but that’s what charmed us about this special place in Queensland. Named for the year when Captain James Cook first landed on Australian soil, Seventeen-seventy consists of a shop, a pub, a boat ramp and a whole lot of holiday houses clambering up the hill to take advantage of the spectacular views.

Seventeen-seventy is one of the closest towns to the the southern reaches of the Great Barrier Reef, and it attracts hordes of tourists who come to snorkel, dive, fish or swim in the beautiful Pacific Ocean. Further north, the Great Barrier Reef hinders the ocean from forming the beautiful sandy beaches loved by surfers, and nearby Agnes Water boasts probably the best northern beach on the eastern coast of Australia.

We arrived late in the afternoon, just in time to climb the headland and enjoy the sunset.

Sunset from 1770, November 2010
The sunset from the top of the hill at 1770 — one of the best in the world.

After sunset at 1770, November 2010
The after-sunset glow was also stunning.

Our first campsite was on the hillside on a vacant block of land (asking price $720,000!). I made David promise to encourage me to get up early so we could watch the sunrise over the ocean.

Our campsite at 1770, November 2010
Here's our beautiful overnight location — I would call them priceless views, but if you have $720,000 for the land, they can be yours!

Sunrise over the Pacific, November 2010
The sunrise was almost as beautiful as the sunset.

Sunrise over the Pacific, November 2010
What a privilege to behold this view!

Stick insect, November 2010
This interesting stick insect was on our trailer in the morning.

Because we had found some coconuts on the ground under a nearby tree, David and I became enthusiastic about harvesting the rest of the nuts from the tree.

Calista eating coconut, November 2010
We've all enjoyed the coconut fruit.

David climbing coconut tree, November 2010
David tried a modified belt to help him scale the trunk.

Lauren climbing coconut tree, November 2010
I got marginally higher than David — but only just!

Trying to get coconuts, November 2010
As a last resort, David climbed onto the roof of a nearby shed and tried to sway the coconuts out of the tree.

After our unsuccessful coconut harvesting, we drove down to the town’s foreshore park and made ourselves comfortable. David and I enjoyed chilling in the morning while the girls played on the little playground.

Seventeen-seventy, November 2010
The main park in Seventeen-seventy is right on the water.

Aisha and Brioni watching a bridal party, November 2010
The girls were enthralled by a bridal party that arrived at the park in the late afternoon for photos.

The weather was quite variable during our stay. We didn’t mind because the girls are comfortable in their wetsuits, but the showers kept the the crowds away. We enjoyed sharing our electric barbecue with another vegetarian (a rarity), and we met a local family with 5.5 children who unschool and live a radical life with very few possessions. They’re convinced that Seventeen-seventy is one of the most beautiful places in the world, and so they’ve set up several semi-permanent camps in various location around the township as “home”.

In the afternoon, David took the older girls for a walk, and they ended up exploring the mangroves. With the tide coming in, the game was to stay out of the mud and out of the water, climbing only on the mangrove roots. While they were perched on the roots in deeper water, a bevy of oarsmen rowed their long canoe past them, startled to see three faces peering at them from between the leaves!

That night, we elected to stay parked where we were — in the centre of the tiny town. We walked up to the local pub and enjoyed a restaurant meal. The girls were having such a good time that they didn’t want to go to bed, and Brioni ended up convincing David to take her for a canoe-ride in the dark!

David and I laughed and laughed as we carried the canoe to the water. We knew how crazy it was, but Brioni was intent on the adventure and we didn’t want to spoil her positive spirit.

Canoeing at night, November 2010
David and Brioni were eager to get out onto the water, even though it was a moonless night.

The ride ended up lasting only about five minutes before Brioni had enough and wanted to return to the warmth of the truck. So it was a lot of effort for a very short amount of time, but we know that our energy won’t be wasted because it will light within her a desire for more grand after-dark adventures in the future!

Our campsite at 1770, November 2010
For our second night in Seventeen-seventy, we stayed right in the centre of the village.

Playing in the water at 1770, November 2010
As always, the girls enjoyed a little bit of water play.

The next day we returned to the mangroves as a family. The kids liked searching for little sea-snails that climb up the trunks of the mangroves, and Calista mastered the art of root-climbing.

Climbing in the mangroves, November 2010
What a fabulous way for children to learn dexterity and agility!

Climbing in the mangroves, November 2010
The girls liked to find little snail shells that were on the trees.

Climbing in the mangroves, November 2010
The objective was to see who could reach the furthest mangrove trees without touching the water or the mud.

Climbing in the mangroves, November 2010
Today, Calista was new to the game, and it took her a little while to adjust to what she could and couldn't do.

Climbing in the mangroves, November 2010
With a little help from Daddy, she soon was a pro.

Sea snails, November 2010
These are the little snails that the girls loved to find on the tree branches.

Mangrove fruit, November 2010
There are 39 species of mangroves in Queensland, and I am not sure exactly which one we were climbing in.

Playing in the mangroves, November 2010
The best way to encourage kids to act a certain way is to model it for them. This includes adventurous forms of play like clambering around in mangrove forests — so David and I got in the thick of it with the girls.

Playing in the mangroves, November 2010
By the time the girls reached the edge of the mangrove forest, they didn't mind if their feet got wet. It was still pretty shallow, and the water was clear.

Examining a dead fish, November 2010
Further along on our walk, we stopped to look at a fish carcass.

Playing in the water, November 2010
It's interesting how water is so magnetic to children and can yet be so loathsome too.

When it was time to go, the rain was setting in. We hadn’t explored the Great Barrier Reef for ourselves, and there are other fantastic national parks close by, so we know we’ll be back one day to continue our adventures in Seventeen-seventy again!