Archive for the ‘Islands’ Category

The Whitsunday Islands, Queensland

The Whitsunday Islands are one of the world’s most beautiful archipelagos, and can excite and inspire just about every visitor. And they do – over half a million travelers visit Whitsunday each year.

Located along the Queensland coast and sandwiched between the renowned Great Barrier Reef (a UNESCO World Heritage site), and Airlie Beach on the mainland, the 74 islands offer a diversity of experiences and attractions to suit a range of budgets.  Most of the islands are wholly- or partially-designated national parks, with environments ranging from white-sand beaches to mangrove forests, marshes, rainforests, cliffs, mountains, and bushland.

Dirk Hartog Island, Western Australia

Dirk Hartog Island is Australia’s westernmost point, and the first European landing site during the great explorations. The island is part of the Shark Bay UNESCO World Heritage area, and is located 37 kilometers offshore Denham, in Western Australia.  Dirk Hartog is 80 kilometers by 15 kilometers.

A maximum of 35 visitors – and eight four-wheel drive vehicles – can be on the island at any given time.

The island is closed between November and March, due to the strong prevailing winds during those months.

Recherche Archipelago (Bay of Isles), Western Australia

The Recherche Archipelago is known by locals as the “Bay of Isles.”

The archipelago contains over 100 pristine islands, and 1500 islets, off the coast of Esperance. The archipelago is located in the south-east of Western Australia, and covers 230 kilometers from East to West, and 50 kilometers from north to south, and total almost 100 square kilometers of land combined.

The archipelago is arranged in two groups, the western group (which includes the largest island, Woody Island, offshore from the Cape Le Grand National Park), and the eastern group (which includes Middle Island and is near Cape Arid National Park).

Cockatoo Island, Sydney, New South Wales

Cockatoo Island is the largest island nestled in the Sydney Harbour, and offers stunning views of the city skyline.  The island is located at the joining of two rivers – the Parramatta and Lane Cove rivers.

The island, which is a national heritage-listed island, was opened as a tourist destination just a few years ago, in 2005 with the Cockatoo Island 2005 Festival.

History

The island has a strong history – it was home to an old imperial prison, reformatory, gaol, and industrial school.

Maria Island, Tasmania

Maria Island mixes beautiful landscape and wildlife with a rich history.  Maria Island runs 20 kilometers by 13 kilometers, with the entire land-mass designated a National Park, and does not have a sizeable settlement – only park ranges reside on the island.

The island is located off the East coast of Tasmania, and is a break from the hustle and bustle – as the island has no automobiles or shops.

Visitors must remember to procure food supplies and clothing prior to arriving on the island.

Flinders Island, Bass Strait, Tasmania

Flinders Island is the largest island in the Furneaux Group of 52 islands (and the only island with a permanent settlement, of about 900 people). It is located along the Bass Strait, which separates Tasmania from the mainland. Measuring 70 kilometers by 40 kilometers, Flinders Island has over 450 kilometers of road for visitors to use.

Flinders Island is located 20 kilometers off the north-eastern tip of Tasmania, Cape Portland.

The Furneaux Group was sighted by Tobias Furneaux in 1773, who was part of Captain Cook’s expedition, and then explored again in 1798 when Flinders and Bass circumnavigated Tasmania, proving it was an island.

Great Palm Island, Queensland

Known as Palm Island, Great Palm Island, or by its Aboriginal name “Bwgcolman,” this 64-square kilometer island is the largest in the Greater Palm group, and is located 65km north-west of Townsville in Queensland.

Palm Island was named by Captain Cook due to the cabbage tree palms growing on the island during his exploratory travels.

The Queensland government established an unofficial penal colony on the island, which operated for most of the 1900s but mostly during the 1940s and 1950s. An Aboriginal reserve was established on the island in the early 20th century.

Dunk Island, largest of the Family Islands

Dunk Island is situated just off the mainland cost from Mission Beach, south of Cairns, and within the Great Barrier Reef UNESCO World Heritage site.

Dunk Island is part of the Family Islands Group, which are known for their long spits of sand. Dunk Island is the “father” of the family – the largest, at six kilometers by two kilometers.

Three-quarters of the island is a National Park. Dunk Island’s shoreline and surrounding waters are designated a Marine Park.

The island is accessible for day trippers, but is more popular for extended stays at the island’s resort. The resort is one of Australia’s leading resorts.

Fitzroy Island, Queensland

Fitzroy Island is a continental island located within the UNESCO Great Barrier Reef World Heritage site. The island is a protected area – the Fitzroy Island National Park.

Fitzroy is known for its adventure activities and nightlife, offering an opportunity for budget travelers to experience all that the Great Barrier Reef has to offer.

History

The Gunghandji have gathered food, hunted, and held special ceremonies on the island for thousands of years.

Whitsunday Island, Whitsundays, Queensland

Uninhabited Whitsunday Island is well-known for the Whitsundays’ world-famous beach – Whitehaven beach.  Comprising fine powdery white sand with 98% pure silica content, and surrounded by warm clear turquoise water, the seven-kilometer beach is picturesque. Whitehaven beach is considered to be Australia’s “most beautiful beach” according to Keep Australia Beautiful (and Australia’s most photographed beach), and one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Because of this, many folks consider Whitehaven beach to be a must-see attraction, and a large number of people visit the island – the largest of the Whitsunday grouping.