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Torres Strait Islands

Where the South Pacific Ocean and the Arafura Sea mix their currents, lie the 274 islands of the Torres Strait.

About the Torres Strait Islands

One of Australia’s most beautiful natural hidden gems. The Torres Strait region is a unique and magical part of Australia that very little is known about. Set against the turquoise blue sea surrounded by an abundance of tropical Islands that dot the Strait with their pristine white sandy beaches with added touch of the chilled-out sounds of Islander fused reggae music the land and seascape evokes a laid back vibe and a platform to ease Superyacht clientele into a relaxed pace, space and place of Torres Strait Islander life.

A cultural crossroads

Two of the oldest cultures on Earth meet in the Torres Strait. Islanders of Melanesian descent have lived alongside Aboriginal people of Cape York for tens of thousands of years. The result is a rich and vibrant culture with strong traditions of dance, colourful headdresses, masks, carving and printmaking. Each of the islands’ small communities has its own distinct practices, so you’ll discover something new every day. Several islands have high-quality art centre’s where you can meet and buy art direct form the local artists.

Fishing is out of this world

From a casual throwing of a line in from the wharf on Horn Island, to the extraordinary sport fishing of the eastern Torres Strait, there’s a fishing adventure for you in the Torres Strait Islands. With minimal commercial fishing in the region, you’ll find fish like coral trout, mackerel, golden snapper, Nannygai and red emperor in huge numbers. The area is also home to some of the highest concentration of painted crayfish in the world, with freediving and spearfishing steadily growing in the region.

Fascinating military history

The Torres Strait Islands sit between Australia and the rest of the world, so not surprisingly it has long played a role in Australia’s defence. Green Hill Fort on Thursday Island is one of the oldest military fortifications in the country, built between 1891 and 1893 to defend the colony against a potential Russian invasion. More than 5,000 Australian and American personnel were stationed
on Horn Island during World War II and the Japanese regularly bombed the island. Almost 900 Torres Strait Islanders volunteered for service here, and Horn Island was the only place in Australia where Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal soldiers served side by side. Gun emplacements, slit trenches, an RAAF airstrip and even a wrecked aircraft remain on the island, a sobering
reminder of how close the war came to mainland Australia. The Torres Strait Light Infantry Battalion was formed in 1942, with almost all of its enlisted men
being Torres Strait Islanders, making the battalion the only Indigenous Australian battalion ever formed by the Australian Army.

Australia’s original pearling region

Commercial pearling in the Torres Strait dates back to the 1870s, predating the industry in Broome by about a decade. Pearling in the region had its ups and downs, but was revived in the 1960s and you can now visit a number of working pearl farms on the islands. The farms vary in their offerings from Japanese inspired lunches using freshly caught seafood to relaxing glamping style breakaway escapes. Some farms even allow you to walk over the beds on a floating jetty, see how pearls are harvested and even take home a one-of-a-kind piece of jewellery.

Virtually undiscovered islands

Forget crowds – in the Torres Strait Islands, there’s a good chance you won’t ever see another tourist. Some of that is down to logistics – with the limited transport options using being of a significant cost. Only a few of the islands permit visitors, and in most cases a permit must be arranged and obtained prior to entry. But step foot on these picture-perfect islands and that will all be
forgotten. Tiny villages lined with leaves and flowers, blissful beaches and laid-back locals are waiting to welcome you to this little slice of paradise.

Thursday Island

The administrative center of the Torres Strait, Thursday Island has modern accommodation and tours all set against a world-renowned turquoise backdrop. Visit Green Hill Fort and the cannons which once guarded the island’s main approaches. Its refurbished underground tunnels house the Torres Strait Historical Museum. Historical artefacts and contemporary Indigenous art can be seen at the Gab Titui Cultural Centre.

Albany Passage

This narrow passage between Albany Island and the mainland is a very historical area being the first port area of the Torres Strait / Cape Yorke. The port of Somerset was named by the Jardine brothers who first settled in the 1860’s. There are now anchorages in the passage and visits ashore can be made to historic sites and the fishing lodge on Albany Island.

Prince of Wales

A large island boasting of multiple pristine beaches and wonderful bush walking with a waterfall in its centre. It is also home to deer, goats and pigs all of which are feral so may be hunted. It belongs to the Kuaraleg people – indigenous mainlanders so different social rules would apply but visitors welcomed and encouraged. Very close to Thursday Island and easily accessible in a ship’s tender.

Endeavour Strait
Incl. Bamaga, Cape York and Jardine River

The Strait made famous by Capt. Cook abounds in sites to visit including Cape York itself – Australian mainland northern most point. Possession Island where Cook landed and claimed the country for England – possible to land here and visit the cairn commemorating the event. Further along is the tiny port of Bamaga where a vessel can anchor safely close to the shore – there is also a berth there but don’t recommend using it. Tenders from here can take visitors into the Jardine River which abounds in crocodiles but provides magnificent cruising in tenders for some miles inland.

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