Are you an Extreme Dreamer?
Our Extreme Dreams: Torres Strait expedition is a one-of-a-kind, pioneering, raw adventure in untamed sea country. It's not for the faint-hearted and not everything will go to plan. What we can guarantee is a true 'Robinson Crusoe' style adventure.
After flying into Horn Island, we start the expedition from the Torres Strait Outrigger Club on Thursday Island setting off in two 6-man outrigger canoes to explore the archipelago of Southern Torres Islands. We camp on beaches under a tapestry of stars, spend time with the unique first-nations people of the region and supplement our food stores with whatever we can harvest from the ocean en route (crocodile isn't very good to eat don't worry).
Over the first few days of the expedition, we'll hone the art of paddling outrigger canoes in the stunning waters around the southern islands, spend a day visiting the tip of Cape York, circumnavigate Muralug Island and enjoy some well-earned downtime on Badu Island.
Working closely with the local Torres Strait Islander communities, we'll learn about their deep spiritual and cultural connection to the land and ocean, cook Kup Murri on the beach and witness rarely visited sacred sites, all with the blessing of the Traditional Owners.
My ever-lasting memories during my time as the Caretaker of the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef during the Best Job in the World are from my visit to the Torres Strait islands. The deeply cultural island communities have an appearance more Pacific Islander than Australian Aboriginal, they engage in warm conversation with strangers, have deep pride in their history and for these and a million other reasons, I created the expedition to share the experience with others. I still remember the deep belly laughter, community gatherings, palm leaf weaving under the trees and the best view I've ever experienced from a toilet seat.
This itinerary for this expedition is likely to change, it's very much an unscripted adventure, the kind that challenges you and has more unknowns than most people can stomach. It’s a different kind of travel, and we think more people should experience it.
No previous experience in outrigger canoes is necessary. We will all start this adventure as novices and end up as salty sea dogs. Best Life Adventures will arrange a couple of taster sessions around SE Queensland in the run-up to the expedition proper.
We need 10 people to ensure this expedition goes ahead - no more, no less. If you get in too late and miss out, we'll add you to the waitlist but don't expect people to give up their place easily. This will be epic.
Arrive Horn Island
Our Extreme Dreams: Torres Strait expedition kicks off today so make sure you get to Thursday Island in time for our initial briefing.
If you're flying in from South East Queensland, you can make the journey in one day. Our recommendation for travel is as follows:
- Monday 25th October
- Depart Brisbane on an early morning flight into Cairns
- Have a dip in the lagoon pool and an early lunch somewhere in the city
- Catch the afternoon Qantas Link flight from Cairns into Horn Island
- Grab the McDonald ferry from Horn to Thursday Island - their connection bus will take you from the airport to the ferry
- Check into your accommodation (full details to be provided closer to the expedition date)
As the sun sets on our day we'll have a pre-expedition briefing where you meet your fellow adventurers, get the latest information on the adventure you're about to embark on, get bags packed and prepared, and feast on an early dinner.
Tomorrow we embark on something that's only been done once before. It's time for your Extreme Dream to become real.
Expedition Day One: Thursday Island to Zuna Island
It's an early start today with a big journey ahead. We head to the Torres Strait Outrigger Club to meet the remaining members of our crew and prepare the outrigger canoes for the sea voyage that lies ahead.
Departing from Thursday Island, we head south across the racing currents of the main channel to the sheltered waters of the mangrove forests that line the first half of our journey south towards Zuna Island.
Stopping for a quick rest and lunch at Cheraopo Island we make for the beach at Zuna Island, our final destination at the end of Day One where we spend our first night under canvas.
Zuna is one of the most picturesque islands in the southern Torres Strait group with palm tree-lined, wide sandy beaches and shallow sheltered waters.
Our impromptu campsite is the perfect place to light a fire, throw a line in the water and catch some dinner. Failing that, we have ample supplies to cook up a veritable feast.
EXPEDITION DAY TWO: DAY TRIP TO THE TIP
After waking up to the sound of the ocean lapping our beachfront camp, we devour breakfast, secure our outrigger canoes and prepare for a day trip in our support vessel to the tip of Cape Yorke - the northernmost point of mainland Australia.
Obligatory photos out of the way, we stop in at Punsand Bay for a cold drink and to meet some of the locals and dusty overland drivers who've conquered the famous Telegraph Track that runs connects this part of the world to southern civilisation. Back onboard our support boats, we'll attempt to catch dinner en route to Roko Island, our destination for the night.
EXPEDITION DAY THREE: ZUNA TO MURALUG ISLAND
After a hearty breakfast, we catch an early boat ride back to Zuna Island to prepare our outriggers for a BIG day on the water and one of the toughest of the Extreme Dreams: Torres Strait expedition.
It's a 25km paddle from Zuna Island around the exposed southern tip of Prince of Wales Island (or Muralag to the locals) with over 700km of open Arafura Sea to the west, and Arnhem Land the next landmass WAAAAAY off in the distance. Big waves, strong currents and potentially strong winds mean we need to be on our game to safely make it to our beautiful beach camp at Irriki where we'll spend the next two nights.
Sunset drinks, hammock time and a fresh fish dinner are the rewards for some serious physical effort. Tonight you'll sleep very well.
EXPEDITION DAY FOUR: VISIT SACRED SPRINGS TREK
After three days on the water we swap paddles for walking shoes, and head on a full-day trek to the rarely visited sacred springs in the higher ground of Muralag Island. It's another big day though with 9km of bush bashing to get us to the sacred cool, clear, fresh waters of the waterfall pool with our rangers providing an insight into the connection the Kurareg people have to the island and their traumatic past.
If our support crew have been successful there should be coconuts and locally caught fish for dinner. They're pretty damn good!
EXPEDITION DAY FIVE: IRRIKI CAMP TO MURALUG LODGE
Our seafaring expedition continues as we skirt the western side of Muralag and turn east towards the capital of the Torres Strait, Thursday Island (TI to the locals), before overnighting at the northern tip of Muralug where our freshly-stocked house provides the comfort of a normal bed to recover from the first half of our expedition.
EXPEDITION DAY SIX: MURALUG ISLAND TO FRIDAY ISLAND
We depart in our canoes from our lodge back along the Friday Island passage, stopping en route at Kazu Pearl Farm to savour fresh sashimi and learn about the century-old industry of pearl seeding from Tamaki who's been producing gems of the ocean for the last 12 years in the region.
We depart to the west and make for our remote beach camp where we truly live the Robinson Crusoe lifestyle searching out mud crabs for dinner, boiling a pot over the open fire and watch the sun descend into the ocean.
EXPEDITION DAY SEVEN: FRIDAY ISLAND TO THURSDAY ISLAND AND ONTO BADU ISLAND
After seven days on the ocean, we save the best for last with our biggest physical challenge of the expedition.
After 20-30km days on the water so far, a simple 10km paddle might seem easy but we head directly into the wind and current for our final push to get back to Thursday Island, the home of our outrigger canoes.
You'll need every ounce of energy to battle through your inner demons but as you turn the final corner for home, the overwhelming reward of completing our Extreme Dreams Torres Strait adventure takes over - it's a sight and moment to behold.
Once we recovered and refuelled with fresh coffee and a hearty lunch, our support vessels take us on a sea adventure of a different kind across 50km of open ocean, past ripping currents, exposed reef and uninhabited tropical islands, before dropping anchor at Badu Island - home of the warrior people - who a truly some of the kindest and most interesting you'll ever meet.
EXPEDITION DAY EIGHT: EXPLORE BADU ISLAND
After enjoying the local breakfast we prepare our Kup Murri (Amai oven) for tonight's dinner and then have the day to explore the island, meet the locals and visit Badu Art Centre to learn about lino printing which has made the region famous.
Our final night is spent back on the beach sharing stories of the week gone by watching the sun disappear into the ocean one last time.
TRAVEL TO HORN ISLAND
Today is the final day of our adventure together so it's an early start to get everyone back to Horn Island in time for the afternoon flight to Cairns.
We take to the skies in charter planes and travel south over the reef and islands we've spent the last week exploring by outrigger canoe. It's the perfect way to wrap up our adventure together.
Feel free to stay longer and explore the other outer Torres Strait islands - I can personally vouch for the magnificent Masig, Poruma and the bizarre-looking Croissant Island.
Torres Strait QLD, Australia
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