Rich in Indigenous culture, history and natural beauty, spend a little time on Thursday Island and you’ll get to know a totally different side of Queensland. Known as Waibene or simply T.I. to the locals, this is the administrative centre of the Torres Strait and one of the 274 islands that lie between the tip of Cape York and Papua New Guinea. Time might stand still here, but you won’t.
1. Green Fort Hill
Green Hill Fort was built in the 1890s to guard against the threat of a Russian invasion, and then became military headquarters during World War II. Today, the fort and its cannons remain a relic of the past, on one of the island’s best vantage points. Spend the afternoon exploring the underground tunnels which now houses the Torres Strait Historical Museum.
2. Gab Titui
Gab Titui Cultural Centre is your best starting point to get to know the cultures of the Torres Strait Islands. Here, you can discover historical artefacts alongside contemporary Indigenous artworks and cultural performances that celebrate a strong connection to land and sea – and even buy some artwork for souvenirs.
The best way to take advantage of the fishing around Torres Strait is to jump on a fishing charter under the guidance of a local. Dirk’s Fishing Charters, Blue Fishing Charters and Serenity will all show you a good time in a day trip from Thursday Island, with plenty of fish to catch. Keep your eyes peeled for turtles, rays and dolphins along the way.
4. The Japanese Pearl Memorial
The monument was erected by the Monument Building Committee of Japan to commemorate the Japanese who worked, lived and died in Torres Strait between 1878 and 1941 and their contribution to the pearling and fishing industies. The monument on the left honours who died while pearling in the Torres Strait area while the monument on the right honours Japanese shop owners and other business people who died on Thursday Island.
5. Local Tours
- Torres Strait Tours offers the fastest ferries and water taxis and comprehensive island tours. Their modern and reliable vessels deliver a regular TI to Horn Island ferry service, which also includes transport to your island destination. A water taxi service to surrounding islands and Cape York is available, as well as custom designed tours to the ‘forgotten islands’ of the Torres Strait and Cape York. For bookings contact Rebel Marine on (07) 4069 1586 or email email@example.com
- Peddells Thursday Island Tours transports travellers from Thursday Island to Seisia (Cape York-mainland) weekly on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. They also offer scenic and historic island bus tours showing clients the great sights TI has to offer including Green Hill Fort and the Torres Strait Museum. For bookings contact Peddells on (07) 4069 1551 or book online at www.peddellsferry.com.au