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Poruma Island Resort
Poruma Island Resort
One of the rooms
The gorgeous beach

Poruma Island

Thursday, July 31, 2003
It may take you a few plane trips to get there, but once you land you are in an untouched and unbelievably beautiful place.

The Torres Strait Islands, of which there are more than 100, are part of Queensland and are the only part of Australia sharing a border with another country — Papua New Guinea. The first inhabitants of the region came from the Indonesian archipelago 70,000 years ago, when New Guinea and Australia were one.

They lived in small communities and relied on fishing, hunting, growing crops and trading in artifacts made of pearl and turtle shell, feathers, canoes and tools.

Chinese, Malay and Indonesian traders are thought to have explored the islands, but the navigator credited with finding them was Spaniard Luis Vaez de Torres, who sailed through the strait in 1606.

The discovery of pearl shell in the 1860s brought people from Japan, Malaya, the Philippines, Micronesia and as far as Europe, resulting in Mabuiag, Meriam, English and Torres Kreole being local languages and all influencing customs and culture. Thursday Island was the main settlement. Pearl luggers employed hundreds of people, and even though most trade stopped after World War II, there are some cultured pearl farms still operating today.

Each island community elects its own council which runs the domestic affairs of the island. The economy is based around fishing and gardens. Even though many islanders live all over Australia, most keep strong links with the Strait, keeping custom and identity alive.

Poruma Island, more commonly referred to as Coconut Island, belongs to the Central Islands group. It is a coral atoll of 45ha, bound by a shallow fringing of coral reefs. It is accessible by boat and charter plane and a barge arrives regularly with cargo and fresh supplies. It has just 188 residents and is 1900m x 350m, half of which is airstrip.

At 10 degrees south of the equator, it is considerably more tropical than Tahiti, Fiji, Yasawa, Hawaii, Noumea and the Caribbean. It doesn't have summer and winter — the seasons are defined by wet and dry.

Poruma has the only resort in the group. This is managed by Bob Wallenburg, but within the next five to six years, it is anticipated it will be handed to the local community, who will benefit from all profits.

So far there are just two units, right on the beachfront, with open design. Each has a large bedroom leading to a plunge pool and bath garden and a lounge and day room on the beach's edge. The resort is on the western end of the island, the best location for superb sunsets.

Activities available include snorkelling and diving in the crystal clear water, which is full of tropical fish and other sea life. You can learn to weave, try to spot the 30 species of birds living there and enjoy a kapmari, a feast cooked in the ground, followed by dancing and other festivities.

Fishing trips to other islands can be arranged through Northern Blue Charters. You can troll for mackerel, sailfish or other pelagics and meet inhabitants of nearby islands.


The Torres Strait, off Cape York


Qantas Link flies twice daily from Cairns to Horn Island and Regional Pacific Airline has transfers between Horn Island and Poruma Island for $386 per person return.
Poruma Island Resort bungalows cost $490 a double a night.
Northern Blue Charters start at $799 for a half-day trip for up to six people.
Please note prices are valid at time of transmission and to the best of our knowledge are inclusive of GST.

More information

Poruma Island Resort
Poruma,Queensland 4875
Ph/Fax: (07) 4090 0170

Regional Pacific Airlines
Ph: (07) 4053 5122
Fax: (07) 4053 3622

Qantas: 13 13 13

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