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The northern most town in Australia, Thursday Island has a population of just over 2,000, but by no means does this mean it's devoid of thrills. If anything, the lack of frantic tourist crowds and quiet friendliness of its locals make it an incredible place from which to embark on a life-changing exploration of the Australian coastline.
Once a major hub for pearling, today this magnificent island exists as a fertile and prosperous remnant of Australia's colonial past, with a rich culture and cosmopolitan population standing as testaments to its illustrious history.
Only 1.5 miles across, just a stroll across this island can reveal a wealth of natural wonders. With awe-inspiring pure white cloud formations, crystal clear aquamarine waves lapping along the shore, and golden beaches are all part of this island's enduring mystique. Thursday Island may not be grand in size, but it is certainly a magnificent monument to the natural beauty that typifies the Australian coast.
Gab Titui Cultural Centre
The exterior of this building is more than likely to catch your eye before you even set foot out of the harbour. Its pointed modern architecture provides a futuristic contrast to the rustic buildings in the centre of town, yet the concern of its unique interior is wholly the past. Exhibits detailing the lives and traditions of indigenous tribes, the unusual geography of the Torres Strait, and the role of the sea in Australian culture are all covered within its spacious galleries.
Green Fort Hill
This historical site is a fantastic example of the island's past which has long been a magnet for tourists. A gunnery position which overlooks the bay of the town, the regimental guns have stood there for decades, having guarded the island during every major world conflict of the 20th century. Just 10 minutes from the centre of the town, this intriguing landmark is also a perfect place from which to gain a panoramic view of the Thursday Island coastline, with all its grassy inlets, golden sands, and listless trees.
Sea and Pearl Museum
A site dedicated to the pearl industry which once defined the island, this museum is a testament to the importance of the Torres Strait to Queensland culture. Exhibits cover everything from whaling, to the colonial trade which once made the island a flourishing centre of commerce centuries ago. Exhibits include whaling harpoons used by native islanders, as well as antique ship anchors.
Although there are not commercial stores per se upon Thursday Island, there is still a thriving community of local craftsmen and artists who often sell their wares from the stoops of houses and market squares.
The Federal Hotel is a great place to enjoy a divine lunchtime menu, or even just a drink at sunset. The imperial exterior of this fantastic restaurant may look austere, but the atmosphere of its eatery certainly isn't, with local fruits and vegetables flavouring the meals, and a festive atmosphere dominating proceedings.
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