Archive for October, 2010

St. Helena Island, Queensland’s most historical island

St. Helena Island is Queensland’s most historical island. Less than one square kilometer, it was the site of a prison between the 1860s and the early 1930s.  in the 1890s it was Queensland’s main maximum security prison. At its peak, the penal settlement housed 300 inmates.

The island became a National Park in 1980, but it was not until 1988 that sufficient funds were raised to restore the prison ruins.

Prison ruins remain, attracting visitors who embark on day trips to the island from Brisbane to learn about its turbulent past. Themed day and evening tours, as well as tours featuring professional actors, appeal to many school groups.

South Stradbroke Island, 27km of white sandy beaches

South Stradbroke Island – affectionately known as “South Straddie” – is a beautifully remote island. Visitors come here to get away, to enjoy nature and wildlife, and to take advantage of the 27km of white sandy beaches.

South Stradbroke Island is similar to its northern counterpart geographically (indeed, they were one island until a storm separated them at the turn of the 20th century), but the island is much less developed than North Stradbroke Island.

Natural environment

The island is 21km by 2.5km and is made up of sand dunes, rainforest, and wetlands. The island is known for its hundreds of wild wallabies, including the endemic Golden Wallaby as well as the regional Agile Wallaby.

South Molle Island, Whitsundays, Queensland

South Molle island is continental island in the Whitsundays, within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The island is the largest of the Molle islands – North, Mid, and South Molle islands.

The island is relatively undeveloped, with no buildings taller than the island’s palm trees. There is over 400 hectares of protected national parkland on the island.

History

The island has been privately owned by the Bauer family since the 1920s, who used the land primarily for animal grazing until the resort was constructed in the 1950s.

Goldsmith Island, Smith Islands National Park

Smith Islands National Park is located within Queensland. The largest island in the National Park is Goldsmith Island. Smith Island, for which the National Park is named, is one of the smaller “triplet” islands in the Family Group of islands. The islands in the national park are the Family Island grouping, which are continental islands.

The National Park covers an area of 18.7 square kilometers. The aboriginal name for Smith Island is Kurrambah.

Natural environment

Goldsmith Island’s coastline is rocky, its land is covered by low forest and bushland (with brush box trees, as well as grasstree and wattle making up the understorey), and the northern and western coasts are ringed with long, sandy beaches.

Penguin Island, Perth – largest Little Penguin colony in WA

Penguin Island is located just off of Perth, in Western Australia.

The island is small, just 12.5 hectares, and is inhabited by the largest population of wild Little Penguins in Western Australia.

Natural environment

The limestone island has sea caves, cliffs, headlands, coves, beaches, and natural bridges. The island is surrounded by the Shoalwater Islands Marine Park.

The island is known for its population of wild little penguins (also known as fairy penguins).  The penguins spend most of the year at sea, coming to the island for a short period to nest and malt.

Orpheus Island, secluded Barrier Reef sanctuary

Located on the Great Barrier Reef, Orpheus Island has been a desirable remote retreat since the 1930s. Orpheus Island is the second largest island in the Palm island group.

Private, exclusive, and romantic, the island only caters to 42 guests at a time, at the Orpheus Island Resort. The resort is the only private land on the entire island.

The island caters to couples and honeymooners who are seeking sanctuary. There are no televisions, telephones, day visitors, dance clubs, or children under 15 on the island.

North Stradbroke Island, Moreton Bay

North Stradbroke Island is a beautiful sand island in Moreton Bay, home to 3,000 welcoming residents.

Locals endearingly call the island  – one of the world’s largest sand islands – “Straddie.”

History

Before 1896 North Stradbroke Island was part of Stradbroke Island but in that year a massive storm separated the two islands and created a waterway – the Jumpinpin Channel.

The island’s aboriginal name is Minjerribah. The first European settlers to stay on the island were three shipwrecked sailors; the local aboriginal community supplied them with food, shelter, and a canoe to help with their onward journey.

Norfolk Island, a unique culture with a colonial past

Norfolk Island a tiny island located between Australia, New Zealand, and New Caledonia, in the South Pacific Ocean – about  1,000 miles northeast of Sydney and 600 miles north of Auckland.

The Island, one of Australia’s external territories, caters to couples and families. As well, low-cost holiday packages make Norfolk Island a great affordable honeymoon destination.

The island is considered by some to be one of the world’s most beautiful islands, and as a result the island is enjoying record-numbers of visitors.

Mornington Island, Gulf of Carpentaria

Mornington Island is the largest and northern-most of 22 islands that make up the Wellesley Islands, which are located in the Gulf of Carpentaria. The Mornington Shire totals 1227 square kilometers, of which Mornington Island itself covers 700 square kilometers.

The island has about one thousand residents, most of whom live in the township of Gununa and most of whom are members of the Lardil and Kaiadilt Aboriginal clans.

History

During the early 1900s at the time of Australia’s “protection area,” children and people from tribes on the country’s mainland and area islands were removed from their homes and placed in missions on Mornington Island.

Moreton Island, one of the World’s largest sand islands

Moreton Island is sand island within Moreton Bay, in the south-east part of Queensland. 98% of the island’s landmass is the Moreton Island National Park, and the waters surrounded the island are part of a marine national park as well.

The island is very appealing to nature lovers, given the abundance of outdoor activities on the island.

History

Shell middens have been found on Moreton Island, pointing to Aboriginal populations on the island for 2000 years.

Europeans settled on the island in the mid-1800s, after a vessel was shipwrecked on the island.

Queensland’s oldest lighthouse sits atop Cape Moreton.