Aussie ABC – I is for Islands!
But me? Of COURSE it’s an island! Anything to add more bragging rights another world class experience to my loud, proud Aussie portfolio!
But while my devotion to the BIG island is well documented, Australia’s 8222 other islands often lure us away from the mainland, and into a different world. Island magic weaves its spell from the moment that sea crossing – an actual rite of passage – physically separates the traveller from her/his troubles, and lands her/him in what is more often than not a wondrous amalgam of staggering scenery, wonderful wildlife and relentless relaxation.
So narrow the field even further and follow me around OZ for my Idiosyncratic Individualised 5-Island Introduction!
1. For … ‘Idyllic‘, try Magnetic Island, Far North Queensland!
So much more than the twanging tourists and wandering wildlife I’ve previously described (see below), Magnetic Island perfectly combines natural attractions with niceties; charm with convenience; and laid back lifestyle with luxury.
Only 8 km offshore from Townsville, it’s easy to get to Magnetic Island by ferry, and even easier to stay … National parks, beaches and bays, a variety of accommodation and dining options (yes! a bakery!) and its own public transport system make this island an archetypal idyllic tropical paradise!
2. For ‘Incomparable‘, try Lord Howe Island, New South Wales!
The high incidence of world class attractions ensures this small island 600 km off the New South Wales coast a steady stream of visitors and makes it one of my all time favourite Australian travel destinations. It’s also the scene of my one and only triathlon attempt … but that’s another story (see link below)!
Lord Howe Island’s well deserved world heritage status manifested in staggering scenery, numerous endemics and fascinating history is best experienced over as lengthy a period of time as you can afford. Add to that (arguably) the most scenic public toilet in Australia AND a bakery, and you’d be ill-advised to ignore this incomparable island!
3. For ‘Incredible‘, try Griffiths Island, Victoria!
Migrating muttonbirds (Short-tailed Shearwater) manage the 15,000 km flight from their home in the Aleutian Islands and Kamchatka Peninsula so as to arrive at their nesting grounds on Griffiths Island within 3 days of 22nd September every year!! Incredible!
As is the engineering feat that combined two islands into one at the mouth of Port Fairy’s Moyne River, and the island’s interesting history and glorious scenery. Every day at sundown, the muttonbirds return from the sea to roost and feed their chicks in their nesting burrows – an incredible sight which one day we’ll get to see!
4. For ‘Intriguing‘, try Kangaroo Island, South Australia!
Australia’s 3rd largest island, this eclectic mixture of unspoiled beaches, Remarkable Rocks (their actual name!), seal colonies, lighthouses, sand dunes, national parks and the purest strain of Ligurian bees in the world is one of South Australia’s premier attractions.
With a number of settlements, a strong eco-tourism presence and a plethora of natural attractions (a study once named Vivonne Bay the top beach in Australia) ‘KI’, as it is known downunder, is South Australia’s answer to the northern tropics!
5. For ‘Infamous‘, try the Abrolhos Islands, Western Australia!
If mutiny and shipwreck, with theft, murder, rape, a psychopathic anti-hero and the general breakdown of civilisation in the 106 days before rescue sounds a little too much like ‘Extreme Survivor’, then you probably don’t want to read the sensational true story of the Batavia, wrecked off the Western Australian coast on the Albrohos islands in 1629!
This compelling tale of degeneration, dastardly deeds and despair on the islands has been the subject of many studies, novels, films and TV series, but it’s probably too melodramatic to say I’m dying to visit one day!!
Happily, Perth Daily Photo supplied these pictures from her friend and mentor Bill, whose excellent Bill’s Diving Blog has even more photos of these infamous islands, now home to much less sensational ecotourism pursuits!
Yes, I know.
It’s all too beautiful, isn’t it?
And you want to see it for yourself, right??
So what are you waiting for?