5 Reasons Why The Torres Strait Needs To Be On Your 2022 Bucket List
From a tourism perspective, the Torres Strait Islands is arguably Australia’s least understood region. This is partially due to the high cost and long distance for most Australians to access the region but also due to the lack of information and opportunity. Yet a few Torres Strait islands are beginning to welcome small, controlled numbers of intrepid travellers who are looking for a culturally enlightening experience set against the turquoise backdrop of one of Australia’s most beautiful regions.
Strait Experience has worked in partnership with Traditional Owners and indigenous small-scale operators to curate packages which respectfully manage and hold Ailan Kastom (Island Custom) at the CenterPoint of every experience.
Ailan Kastom (Island Custom)
The Torres Strait’s is not just a geographical connection between Australia and New Guinea but a cultural connection between Melanesian and Aboriginal people. It is a place where two of the world’s oldest continuing cultures have met in both peace and war for over 45000 years. A cross-cultural cohabitation which has survived an ice age and a time when both land masses were connected by a single uninterrupted land bridge. Torres Strait Islanders represent an indigenous group of people with one of the most extraordinary cultures and traditions found anywhere on earth yet it is right here in Australia and ready to be sustainably and respectfully explored.
Unrivalled fishing options
The Torres Strait region forms an area of fishery which is one of the most lucrative and sustainable in Australia – it contains a significant number of Australia’s painted cray export market which continues to be the economic powerhouse to the region. Other significant fisheries include Prawns, Mackerel, Coral Trout, Nannygai, Barramundi as well as lesser-known fisheries including trochus and sea slug. Due to the strong advocacy by Traditional Owners to own and manage this important fishery, the region is well stocked and protected with limited large scale commercial fishing resulting in one of Australia’s best recreation fishing and spearfishing destinations. Torres Straits is one of the few places in Australia where you can catch Barramundi, Tuna, Coral Trout and Crayfish in a single trip.
The military history is fascinating
During WW2 the Torres Strait was the 2nd most bombed place after Darwin. 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. Yet the region has acted to protect Australia since 1891 when Green Fort Hill fortifications were built on Thursday Island to protect the colony from a Russian invasion. Today it represents one of the oldest military fortifications in the country.
Island village life at it most authentic
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. Only a few of the islands permit visitors, you may need to arrange permits and transport options are limited. 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.