Archive for September, 2010

Macquarie Island, sub-Antarctic experience

Halfway between New Zealand and Antarctica you’ll find Macquarie Island, a Tasmanian island located in the southwestern Pacific ocean 1,300km south-east of Tasmania. Macquarie  Island is endearingly referred to as “Macca.”

A UNESCO world heritage site since 1997, this island is considered part of the Antipodes Sub-Antarctic Islands tundra eco-region.

Australia has operated a research station on the island’s northern shore for over 50 years.  The Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) research base is home 20-40 residents a year who conduct scientific research on a variety of topics (biology, physics, meteorology, auroral physics…).

Lord Howe Island, picturesque World Heritage Site

600 kilometers east of the Australian mainland you’ll find Lord Howe Island, a small island in the Tasman Sea with just 350 island residents. The island is part of the Lord Howe Island Group which includes Ball’s Pyramid, nearby.

Lord Howe Island is absolutely picturesque, and is just one of four islands on the UNESCO World Heritage Site register for global significance due to biodiversity and beauty. The Island became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the early 1980s. Two-thirds of the island is a protected Permanent Park Reserve, and surrounding the island is the protected Lord Howe Island Marine Park.

Long Island, Whitsundays, Queensland

Long Island is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful islands in the Whitsunday group. The island offers three distinct resorts to island guests.

History

Archaeological evidence demonstrates that the aboriginal Ngaro people inhabited Long Island for as long as 8,000 years.

The first European settlers were shipwrecked onto the island in the 1820s  after their boat was damaged on a reef offshore. Unable to fix the ship, the crew of almost 60 lived on the island for three months before being rescued by another boat.

The island remained uninhabited until Carl Alderman moved onto the island in 1921 to grow bananas.

Lindeman Island, Whitsundays, Queensland

The only Club Med in Australia is located on Lindeman Island, the southernmost and warmest Whitsunday group island. This island has a relaxed all-inclusive feel, with guests comfortable knowing that everything is taken care of and they do not have to worry about a thing.

The island has the Whitsundays’ oldest resort, which Club Med took over in 1992. Club Med is a family-oriented resort, which offers a plethora of activities to suite every visitors taste, or guests can opt to do nothing at all!

History

The island was known by the Aboriginal population as “Yara-kimba,” which means the place of snapper-bream fish.

Keswick Island, Whitsundays, Queensland

Located in the southern part of the Whitsundays, Keswick Island is a member of the Cumberland group of islands and is within the UNESCO World Heritage Great Barrier Reef area.

The island has a small number of residents, just a couple dozen, and remains relatively undeveloped, as there is no all-inclusive resort on the island. The island is quiet and secluded island for visitors compared to its much more developed neighbor, Bedarra Island, which is seven kilometers to the north.

Few visitors make it to this island. In the first quarter of 2009, over 700,000 traveled to the Whitsunday islands, but fewer than 700 visited Keswick Island.

Introduction to Kangaroo Island, South Australia

Kangaroo Island (KI) is off the coast of South Australia. 160km wide by 60km north-to-south, most of KI’s settlements and accommodation are on the island’s eastern shore.

The island is very laid-back, with just four towns: Kingscote, Penneshaw, Pardana, and American River. These towns provide visitors with opportunities to shop for food, sip a latte at a café, read at a bookstore, eat or drink at one of the restaurants or bars, fill up with gas, and explore the island’s history.

KI is known for its wineries, with 30 growers on the island.

Hook Island, Whitsundays, Queensland

Hook Island is the second largest of the Whitsunday Islands off the Queensland coast, and it’s one of the Whitsunday’s most rugged, wild, and uninhabited islands.

The island is shaped like three downward-pointing fingers, with the island’s only resort on the tip of the third finger. 95% of the island’s landmass, or 58 square kilometers, is a national park – the second largest national park in the Whitsunday group.

Hinchinbrook Island, tropical northern Queensland

A tropical island in Northern Queensland, Hinchinbrook Island is between the mainland and the UNESCO World Heritage sited Great Barrier Reef.

Most of the island (along with the Hinchinbrook Channel and neighbouring Goold Island) is part of the Hinchinbrook Island National Park.

The island is 399 square kilometers, making it the country’s largest island national park.

The island has no road network – the only way to get around is via ferry or by walking. This is not a destination for those seeking the trappings of a luxurious all-inclusive resort. But if you’re looking for peace and quiet and enjoying the environment – not jet skis, nightclubs, and hustle and bustle – this is the place for you.

Heard Island and McDonald Islands, Australia

Heard Island and McDonald Islands (often referred to by the acronym HIMI) are a series of wild, barren, volcanic islands in the Antarctic Sea. Australian territories, these uninhabited islands are located close to two-thirds of the way from Madagascar to Antarctica.

The islands are uninhabited and are predominantly used for research, being the only sub-Antarctic islands that have active volcanoes, and also the only sub-Antarctic Islands with no known species introduced by humans.

Historically, they were used during the height of the sealing trade.  The islands became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997.

Hayman Island, Whitsundays, Queensland

Hayman Island is the northernmost island of the famed continental Whitsunday group. It totals less than 300 hectares, with its resort taking up 13 hectares.

The island is known for its 5-star resort, which caters to couples, honeymooners, and families, and hosts weddings, honeymoons, and conferences. Weddings in particular are very popular on Hayman Island, with wedding consultants who can plan every detail for weddings ranging from the most simple and exclusive to the most extravagant.

Natural environment

Hayman Island is a typical picturesque tropical island, with white sand beaches, forest, bushland, hills, rocky outcrops, ponds, waterfalls, and bays.