It’s a far north as you can go in Australia, it’s perhaps the most culturally different place, and it’s truly the top spot to eat a painted crayfish. Welcome to Australia’s Thursday Island.
Situated among 137 other mostly uninhabited islands, Thursday is the administrative centre of the Torres Straight Islands. It has a carefree lifestyle, exotic and varied culture, strange tongues and offers a panorama of island scenery, fishing boats and the bluest of blue oceans.
TI, as the locals call it, concentrates on three major industries: pearling, crayfishing and harvesting trochus (a mollusc). Once an important port of refuge for survivors of ships wrecked in reef waters, Thursday Island lies 39km north of Cape York. Accessible by air (via Horn Island, a strategically important air base during WWII), the more fun way to get there is via Peddell’s Ferry from Seisia.
Thursday Island is the perfect one-day trip from Cape York, giving you time to explore and experience one of the most unusual places in Australia.
Did you know?
In 1898 Australia was in the grip of the Russian War scare, and consequently Green Hill Fort was built on Thursday Island to repel the Russkies should they dare cross the Torres Straight. Fortunately, they never materialised.
How to get there
Thursday Island is located 35 km north-west of the tip of Cape York. There are regular flights from Cairns and Weipa.
Peddells Thursday Island Tours operates a ferry service connecting the Cape and Thursday Island.
Best time to go
May to November
For more information on Cape York see Time’s nearly up at the Top.
Visitor info on Thursday Island
Info on Peddells Thursday Island Tours
** This is our original 100 Things to Do Before You Die. First published in 1996. There is an updated 100 Things To Do In Australia Before you die, published in 2011.