Green Island: Escape Into A Different World

What makes Robinson Crusoe such a popular and enchanting novel for all age groups is the opportunity it provides for make-believe. It puts you into an uninhabited island and makes you its landlord, thereby enabling you to be the architect of all your desires. Stuff that fantasies are made of, stuff that inspire more fantasies – it is not surprising that Robinson Crusoe brought in its wake so many veiled and unveiled emulations.

As you step into Green Island, your first thought is that you have reached Crusoe’s island. And the uncharted possibilities of desert island adventures open up to you. At heart a child, you wish you could live that fantastical childhood once again.

A small blot of luxurious green within a blue ocean of a thousand shades – a bird’s eye view of the Green Island situated within the Great Barrier Reef gives you the impression that a small child has smudged tubes of varying shades of blue acrylic and placed one dollop of green in between it. The warm sunshine (that shines throughout the year), the crystal clear vision and the sharp colors will impress upon the fact that you have stepped into a different world.

Green Island is a small but authentic coral cay close to the mainland. Built over the last 6,000 years through build up of sand, animal and coral deposits, it had served as a fishing ground and ceremonial site for local Aborigine tribes for thousands of years before Captain Cook sighted it – the first white man to do so.

However, it was as late as the middle of 19th century that white settlement appeared, when a sea cucumber smoking station was established on the island. Towards the end of the century, Green Island had already become a site for occasional pleasure trips, and a fortnightly ferry service to the island was started in 1924.

Its vantage position in the Great Barrier Reef meant that it became a starting point for popular exploration of the reef. Floating glass boxes were used for viewing corals for a long time until glass bottom boats were introduced in 1948. Only a few years later, in 1954, Green Island was the site for the world’s first Underwater Observatory.

The Marineland Melanesia has a crocodile farm, an aquarium as well as a museum. The island is also famous for the world’s first movie theatre on a small island which was operational till the early 1990s. The island reached a celebrity status when in 1970 Queen Elizabeth II paid a royal visit to the island. Shortly afterwards, the Great Barrier Reef was declared a national park, and the position of Green Island within it established it as frontier post for exploring the reef.

This smallish blot of tropical green is all of 15 hectares and it just takes a leisurely 45 minutes walk to circumnavigate it. A fascinating intersection of luxury, intense beauty, harmony and peace, Green Island is a paradise for the nature lover. Its tropical forests harbor 126 native plant species, 20 native bird species and 50 migratory species and magnificent coral gardens. While fishing is not particularly popular, it may be an ideal place to spend a few idle hours with the line – it is another matter, though, if you will catch something!

Green Island can be a great holiday destination, whether you are a day-tripper, or you want to stay over and sink in the ambience over a few leisurely days. A short distance from Cairns and Palm Cove, and a little more from Port Douglas, it is easily accessible, and yet comfortably separated from mainland to guard its unique charms. The weather is uniformly tropical with very little difference in temperature between seasons.

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