Nestled 130km south east of Mackay lies Middle Percy Island, an off-grid destination that offers an exceptional unplugged experience amidst breathtaking natural beauty.


We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the Country on which this adventure takes place who have occupied and cared for the lands, waters, and their inhabitants, for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.

About Middle Percy Island

Are you keen to live off the grid on a tropical island? Look no further than Middle Percy Island, a hidden gem located in the Whitsunday region, about 130km south east of Mackay.

Known as a yachting hub and a haven for sailors, this island is blessed with stunning natural beauty, a resource-rich environment, and a fascinating history.

Whether you’re seeking a remote escape or an unforgettable adventure, Middle Percy Island is the perfect destination to immerse yourself in tropical paradise.

Recently, the Caretakers of Middle Percy Island Incorporation established a not-for-profit foundation aimed at preserving the island’s beauty and attracting young people and families interested in self-sufficient living and conservation.

Volunteers who contribute to the island’s upkeep can experience off-grid living and become part of a community committed to preserving this iconic destination for generations to come.

Middle Percy Island History

The Percy Isles boast a captivating and multifaceted history that’s filled with mystery, tragedy, romance, shipwrecks, buried treasure, and pioneering hardships.

For years, the history of Middle Percy Island remained shrouded in secrecy, until Jonathan and Liz Hickling took on the mammoth task of compiling information from published media and firsthand accounts from old leaseholders, friends, and lightkeepers.

Their extensive research culminated in the book The History of the Percy Isles, which has become a cornerstone in understanding the rich history of this captivating destination.

Although Captain James Cook sailed past the Percy Isles during his expedition along Australia’s East Coast in 1770, he never set foot on Middle Percy Island.

It wasn’t until Captain Matthew Flinders embarked on an expedition to chart the missing parts of Australia in 1802 that the Percy Isles were rediscovered.

Flinders, who is believed to be the first European explorer to have set foot on the island, described West Bay, the main bay of Middle Percy Island, as ‘one of the prettiest little places imaginable’. And we couldn’t agree more!

Long before European explorers, the Middle Percy Isles were frequented by local Aboriginal people, who used the island’s abundant resources.

However, little is recorded about their history and connection to Middle Percy Island. Despite this, the island’s rich and diverse history continues to capture the imaginations of all who visit.

How to Get to Middle Percy Island

Getting to Middle Percy Island is an adventure in itself. The island is a hidden gem that can only be accessed by private boat, as there are no ferry services available. While it may take a while to get there – roughly a 12-hour boat ride – the journey is well worth it. The island’s breathtaking natural beauty and serene atmosphere make it a destination worth visiting.


Where to Stay on Middle Percy Island


If you’re planning on camping on Middle Percy Island, the designated camping area is located in picturesque West Bay, near the Percy Hilton or Percy Island Yacht Club A-frame building.

Be sure to contact the caretakers before setting up camp. You can contact them before you embark, or once you arrive on VHF Channel 73 on the Marine Radio (their phone and email information can also be found in the FAQ section).

The A-frame camp kitchen is fully equipped with all the necessary crockery and cutlery for your stay. Please note that camping fees are currently $10 per person per night (subject to change), payable to the caretakers upon arrival.

Please note that water is a limited resource on the island and is not provided, so be sure to bring plenty of your own. If you’re in the mood for a campfire, they’re permitted at the designated fire pit at the back of the A-frame.

Tree House

If you’re looking for something truly special, consider staying at the Tree House in West Bay, the island’s main anchorage. This one-of-a-kind three-storey beach shack can accommodate up to seven people, making it perfect for couples, families, groups, and solo adventurers alike.

Inside, you’ll find a basic kitchen with a gas oven, stove, fridge, and freezer. The bathroom features a shower and sink, while outside you’ll find a pizza oven and BBQ for alfresco dining. And don’t miss the unforgettable views from the outdoor long-drop toilet!


At Anchor

Northerly Anchorages

  • Rescue Bay
  • Pebble Beach
  • Spur Bay
  • Whites Bay

South-East Anchorage

  • West Bay (safe but prone to swell, especially in winds over 20 knots)

South-West Anchorages

  • Zodiac Bay
  • NE Cove

Visitors can also anchor in the lagoon, which, although tidal, is ideal for shallow draft vessels such as trimarans and catamarans.

West Bay is typically the most popular anchorage for those seeking shelter from the trade winds, and is also home to the iconic A-frame, tree house, and scenic walking tracks.


Essential Gear for Middle Percy Island


Things to do at Middle Percy Island


Experience the serenity and natural beauty of Middle Percy Island, and embrace the opportunity to disconnect from modern society.

West Bay to Homestead – Long Track
Distance: 4.1km (one way)
Duration: At least one hour

Embark on a peaceful journey by following the track from The Percy Hilton/A-frame to the Homestead, which runs along the island’s ridge.

As you wander, you’ll come across ‘Ring Ring Rock’ which offers a phone signal if you need it, and Andys Lookout where you can take in breathtaking views of South Percy Island.

West Bay to Homestead – Short Track

Distance: 2km (one way)
Duration: 45 mins to one hour

Also known as the ‘Goats Track’, this track is an alternative route to the Homestead that’s shorter in distance but involves a steep ascent.

Mount Armitage

Distance: 1.5km (one way) from the Homestead
Duration: At least one hour

If starting at West Bay, choose either the Long or Short track to the Homestead and add the distance on to get the total hike distance (one way).

Mount Armitage is the highest point of the island, offering breathtaking views of North-East Percy Island, which resembles a giant floating on its back from this angle.



This majestic mountain is also surrounded by a pristine Hoop pine forest, adding to the serene atmosphere of the area. The mountain is named after Colonel Armitage, who purchased the lease in 1887.

Whites Bay

Distance: 2.5km (one way) from the Homestead
Duration: At least two hours

If starting at West Bay, choose either the Long or Short track to the Homestead and add the distance on for the total hike distance (one way).

White Bay is a beloved destination among many long-time visitors to Percy Island for its stunning beauty. To reach this picturesque bay, the track winds through wooded country, a pristine Hoop Pine forest at Mt Armitage, and the airfield. While there are some steep sections along the way, the breathtaking views that await you make the effort well worth it.

Castle Rock

Distance: 11-12km loop
Duration: Allow for at least six hours

This walk can be challenging, particularly if the vegetation is overgrown. It’s important to check the current track conditions and confirm directions with the caretakers before embarking on the journey.

The final section of the track involves a steep climb up rocky terrain, and a rope is provided to assist with the ascent and descent.


The Percy Isles are renowned for their exceptional offshore fishing grounds, making them a dream destination for avid fishers.



If weather and time permit, it’s worth taking the journey to the Swain Reefs, which are located approximately 35-40 nautical miles away and are also renowned for their excellent fishing grounds.


Discover the breathtaking beauty of Middle Percy Island by kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, or snorkelling in the crystal-clear waters. Immerse yourself in the island’s stunning natural surroundings for an unforgettable experience.

Help With Island Projects

You can contribute to island projects or expand your knowledge of off-grid living by volunteering your time. The caretakers welcome assistance with various tasks such as gardening, beekeeping, building, plumbing, electrical work, general maintenance, airfield repairs, mechanics, food preparation, fencing, and more.



Check the bulletin board in the A-frame to see where help is needed or reach out to the caretakers directly. Your efforts will not only benefit the island but also provide a unique opportunity for personal growth and learning.

Browse the Remarkable Collection of Nautical Memorabilia in the A-frame

The A-frame at West Beach on Middle Percy Island has become a central gathering point over the years. It’s adorned with boat name plaques, flotsam, and historical time capsules, providing a unique insight into the island’s nautical history.



After immersing yourself in this history, you can unwind on the huge hammock bed under the shade of the hut, taking in the beautiful view of swaying coconut palms and the turquoise ocean.

Buy Fresh Island Produce

As there’s nowhere on the island to eat out, you’ll need to bring your own food over or purchase some local produce. The Percy Hilton A-frame serves as a small product store where visitors can purchase organic island produce including fresh fruit, vegetables, eggs, and honey, as well as seasonal preserves such as mango chutney, jams, and marmalade.

Visitors can make their purchases by placing money into the honesty box provided.

Go Coco-Nuts

With coconut palms abundant on the island, you can enjoy nutritious and delicious coconut fruit. Use a coconut spike to dehusk and crack open the coconut, drink the refreshing coconut water, and then either scrape out the coconut flesh or shred it using the coconut shredder located in the A-frame.



Try cooking the coconut flesh on the BBQ to make crispy coconut chips.  For a tasty twist, you can add some fresh Percy Island bush honey and soy sauce to make honey soy coconut chips.

It’s 5 O’clock Somewhere

As cruising sailors, it’s a long-standing tradition to meet each other at the beach (or in this case, the A-Frame) to chat, watch the sunset, cook a BBQ, or have a fire together.

Whether you’re a camper, glamper or boatie, be sure to join in the fun and get to know the fellow travellers you’re sharing this beautiful oasis with.



Live Off-Grid Longer Term

The Caretakers of Middle Percy Island Incorporation are actively seeking individuals who are interested in learning the skills required to caretake the island and who are able to stay for a few months at a time.

If you’re interested in this opportunity, reach out to the caretakers to express your interest. They’re hoping to attract both young and young-at-heart people who are passionate about conservation and eager to learn how to live sustainably on the island.

As a volunteer-led not-for-profit organization, the Caretakers of Middle Percy Island are dedicated to better managing and preserving the park’s natural beauty. They actively seek out individuals to train in caretaking the island and encourage visitors to engage in conservation efforts during their stay.

Tips For Visiting Middle Percy Island

To fully immerse yourself in this unique adventure and gain a deeper appreciation of the island’s heritage, we suggest exploring the two books written by Jonathan Hickling, who lived on the island with his wife and two children for 12 years.

The first book, Living in the ‘Out Front’ of Australia, provides a captivating read with personal stories and insights into daily life on Middle Percy Island. This book offers a firsthand account of the challenges and rewards of living off-grid, as well as the unique experiences and adventures of island life.

Alternatively, The History of the Percy Isles provides a comprehensive timeline of historical events, delving into the island’s past, including its Aboriginal history, European discovery, settlement, and the various industries that have operated on the island throughout the years.

This book is an excellent resource for those interested in learning about the island’s rich history and how it has shaped its present-day culture and environment.


Middle Percy Island FAQs

How big is Middle Percy Island?

Middle Percy Island is approximately 2000 hectares.


Is Middle Percy Island a national park?

Middle Percy Island is a unique blend of national park and privately managed conservation park. While the majority of the island is under the jurisdiction of Percy Isles National Park, a portion of the island is managed through a granteeship by a private operator.

This offers visitors not only the chance to enjoy the island’s stunning landscapes and wildlife, but also to learn the art of sustainable off-grid living.


Is Middle Percy Island part of the Great Barrier Reef?

Yes, the Percy Isles are within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. However, the outer Great Barrier Reef is still another 35-40 nautical miles east of the Percy Isles.


Can you swim at Middle Percy Island?

Absolutely! But remember to be shark smart.


What does it cost to stay at Middle Percy Island?

While anchoring in the bay is free of charge, camping or staying in the Tree House on Middle Percy Island does incur a fee. To learn about current prices and make a booking, we recommend getting in touch with the island’s caretakers.


Are there any other islands near Middle Percy Island?

Yes. The Percy Isles comprise of several other enchanting islands, each offering their own unique charm and attractions. Among these are Hotspur Island, Shrewsbury Rock, North East Island, Pine Islet, Pine Peak Island, South Percy Island, Sphinx Island, and Walter Island, each boasting its own distinct character, natural beauty, and breathtaking vistas waiting to be explored.


Is there phone reception at Middle Percy Island? 

Yes but it’s limited. To find reception, take a leisurely walk up to ‘Ring ring rock’ above West Bay where you can connect to the outside world. The path to the rock is clearly marked, so you won’t have any trouble finding your way.


Can I bring my dog to Middle Percy Island?

Yes, dogs are allowed on the island. However, they must be kept leashed when on tracks and aren’t permitted at the homestead. Within the conservation area, dogs are allowed, but within the national park, they are not permitted. If there are multiple dogs at West Bay, keeping your dog leashed is recommended to avoid any potential conflicts.


How can I contact the caretakers at Middle Percy Island?

There are several ways to get in touch with the caretakers at Middle Percy Island. You can call them at 0452 295575, email them at, or try reaching them on VHF Channel 73 if you’re travelling by boat.

Additionally, joining the Facebook group Middle Percy Island is a great way to stay up to date on island news and connect with other visitors.