Archive for September, 2010

Hamilton Island, Whitsundays, Queensland

Hamilton Island is a popular member of the Whitsundays group in the Coral Sea, and is the second largest inhabited island in the chain.  The 5-square kilometer island almost exclusively caters to the tourist industry and to island visitors, though the small number of island residents (less than 1,500) is growing to support tourist businesses.

The island attracts guests of all types, and offers a multitude of land- and water-based activities to suit all tastes.

Haggerstone Island an exclusive resort, Queensland

Haggerstone Island is a remote, exclusive, and intimate island within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and off shore from the Cape York Peninsula. It is located over 100 miles from the nearest habitation, and guests must make a concerted effort to reach Haggerstone, as the island is accessible only by private light aircraft.

The island is owned by Anna and Roy Turner, and is one of Australia’s most exclusive private island resorts. The Turners were inspired to construct a Robinson Crusoe –style retreat. This is not a vacation experience for those who enjoy the trappings of an all-inclusive resort experience. But for those seeking solitude, immersion in nature, healthy freshly-caught cuisine, and a break from the fast-paced world of work and electronics, this is the island for you.

Groote Eylandt, Gulf of Carpentaria, Northern Territory

Lovingly referred to as “Groot,” Groote Eylandt is located in the Gulf of Carpentaria, in northeastern Australia. It’s the largest island in the Gulf, and the third largest Australian island measuring 50km by 60km. The island is home to almost 14,000 residents. The island is part of the Arnhem Land Indigenous Reserve, and is owned by the Anindilyakwa indigenous people.

Visitors must receive permission from the Anindilyakwa Land Council prior to arriving on the island.

The island has four towns, with the population concentrated in the port town of Alyangula, with 670 predominantly non-Aboriginal mining employees (Manganese has been mined on the island near the Aboriginal settlement Angurugu for almost 50 years, with royalties paid to owners of the land).

Green Island coral cay, Queensland

Green Island is a beautiful coral cay off the coast of Northern Queensland, almost 30km off the coast from Cairns, and situated within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park UNESCO World Heritage area.

The popular island destination is easily accessible by day trip from Cairns. The island totals about 15 hectares (300m by 650m, with a 1.5km circumference) but sits on over 700 hectares of reef, and located amidst substantive and beautifully diverse coral reefs.  Green Island is the only coral cay within the Great Barrier Reef chain that also has a rainforest.

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.

The island is home to a self-governing Aboriginal community called Bwgcolman. In total about a few thousand folks call Palm Island home. The town’s small island goes by several names, from the Mission, Palm Island, Palm Island Settlement to Palm Community.

History

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

Great Keppel Island, Queensland

Great Keppel Island is the largest island in the group of fourteen islands of the same name. It’s also known as Wappaburra, which means “resting place.”

The 1,400 hectare island is located 15km offshore from Keppel Bay town of Yeppoon, in Central Queensland, or 55km from Rockhampton.

Great Keppel can be visited for a day trip or an extended trip, and has something to offer all types of visitors – single travelers, families, and couples. The island’s economic centre is along Fisherman’s beach, where the vast majority of businesses are located.

Hindmarsh Island, South Australia

Hindmarsh Island is an island on Fleurieu Peninsula, within the lower part of Murray River near Goolwa, South Australia.   Hindmarsh and neighbor Mundoo Island separate Murray River from two freshwater lakes – Lake Alexandrina and Lake Albert.

The island is linked to Goolwa by a bridge, opened in 2001. About 300 residents call Hindmarsh Island home.

History

The island has been predominantly agriculture-based since the mid-nineteenth century when it was first settled by Europeans.  At that time, Charles Price purchased a large parcel of land, settling on the island and importing Hereford cattle and Shropshire sheep.

French Island, Victoria

Sixty kilometers south of Melbourne, you’ll find French Island and its more famous counterpart, Phillip Island. They are located in Western Port, Victoria, Australia.

French Island is a relatively uninhabited and undeveloped island that is 18km by 12km, with 144km of coastline. The resident population hovers somewhere between 60 and 90 people.

This island is a breath of fresh air with a dollop of peace and quiet, as it has avoided the worst of development over the past few decades. Two thirds of the island was declared a state park, and then a national park in 1997 – the French Island National Park. The waters north of the island are also a protected Marine National Park.

Fraser Island, Queensland, World’s Largest Sand Island

Fraser Island is one of Queensland’s most popular destinations. A UNESCO World Heritage Site-listed island, and the largest sand island on the planet (totaling 1840km2), Fraser also boasts the world’s only rainforest that grows on sand.  Fraser Island is situated near Hervey Bay, is 120km long by 30km across its widest point.

Fraser Island boasts a 120km beach along the eastern shore.

Remote and deserted Fraser is not: the island welcomes about 600,000 visitors a year, but for good reason.

Pumpkin Island, Queensland, Unspoiled Eco-friendly

Pumpkin Island is a beautiful and humble little island along the Capricorn Coast, within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Reserve.  The island is situated 16km off the coast of Yeppoon, 10km north of Great Keppel Island, 42km east of Rockhampton, and over 650km north of Brisbane.

Totaling just 6.1 hectares (450M long and just 150M wide at the widest point!), the island is nestled in sheltered Keppel Bay, and surrounded by the Keppel group of islands (just south of North Keppel Island). The privately-owned island offers visitors eco-friendly accommodation in but five self-contained and self-catered beach cottages.  Wind and solar power provide electricity on the island, and freshly filtered rainwater provides drinking water for guests.