Thursday Island is located 34km north of the Australian mainland and the tip of Cape York Peninsula. The island is affectionately referred to as “T.I.” and is the hub of the Torres Strait which includes 14 inhabited islands with a collective population of 12,000 people. T.I is home to about 3600 beautiful people speaking 4 different languages, including English.
The Thursday Island tour is a unique and wonderful experience worth considering. Flights are available from Cairns or boat cruises from Punsand Bay and Seisia at the top of the Cape York Peninsula.
T.I. is a beautiful island protected by many other islands surrounding it in the aqua-blue sea. The scenery is stunning in each and every direction. The island is only small and the circumference can easily be walked in an hour.
Visiting tourists have the option of exploring the island at their own leisure on foot or joining a guided bus tour with a local islander. The bus tour is comically informative, showing you the sights and giving you insight into the Torres Strait Islanders’ history and culture.
The island tour includes a birds-eye view of the amazing panoramic scenery from atop Green Hill, where an old World War II fort and defense cannons remain.
You also visit the beautifully maintained and decorated T.I. Cemetery where local family and friends and pioneer Japanese pearlers rest. Many of the tombs are very unique and have the most interesting designs and insignia.
Pearl Islands Seafood is next on the agenda and if you enjoy crayfish you’ll appreciate this stop. Listen to an informative talk on the crustacean outlining reproduction and fishing practices, get a close look at a Painted Crayfish and best of all sample the produce with delicious sauces. Seafood is also available for purchase to take back to the mainland.
The last stop is Australia’s Top Pub, which is literally the northern most pub on the continent. This watering hole is a great location to enjoy the outside beer garden and watch the world go by on the main street of town. The service is friendly and good food, cold beverages and TAB betting are available here.
The Esplanade is a beautiful strip to take a stroll after lunch and enjoy the view and tranquility T.I. has to offer. There is a park across the road with grass and shade perfect for relaxing by the water for the afternoon.
The main street in town is also worth a stroll to check out the local shops. Note that Sunday is a religious day on the island and not much is open except for the hotels. Sunday is scenery day for the tourists.
An alternative afternoon activity to settling in at the Top Pub or exploring T.I further on foot is to join the ferry ride across to nearby Horn Island
which is rich in World War II history, being the old military airbase. The island has very few facilities however there is the Gateway Motel and private collection WWII Museum. The Horn Island option should be booked when organizing your Thursday Island tour.
Travelling by air or sea across the Torres Strait to this magnificent little island inhabited by delightful people is a great day out. The scenery is amazing, the guided bus tour is informative and the insight into the Torres Strait Islanders’ history and culture is valuable.
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Destinations in Queensland
Daintree National Park
Tin Can Bay
Undara Volcanic National Park
Return from Thursday Island to Queensland