Saturday, 22 December 2012

Dunk Island taking its first step back after Yasi

Brammo Bay at Dunk Island back in 2003.
When I first came to Far North Queensland, on a holiday in October-November 1999, I stayed overnight in Cairns before heading down to Mission Beach. I remember walking off the bus at the Hub, down past the Shrubbery Taverna, and onto the beach. The view out to Dunk Island was magical, and may have been the point at which there was no turning back and I would move here.

Over the years I stayed at the resort a couple of times, and also took day trips to the Island while staying at Mission Beach. I loved crashing at the cafe/bar on the spit, munching on chicken satays, sipping various summery drinks, and occasionally taking a dip before returning to a beach chair and reading.

When Cyclone Yasi hit in February 2011 and news came that Mission Beach and Dunk Island were particularly hard hit with Dunk Island shutting down, it was quite depressing. I have kept an eye on news about the Island's sale and moves toward re-opening. I feel a sense of longing for news a cafe has re-opened for business. I haven't returned to the Island since Yasi, though I'm starting to think I should head down for a look.
While that's still in the future, ABC News reports that the camp ground at Dunk Island is re-opening for Christmas:

Cassowary Coast Mayor Bill Shannon says he is relieved a popular tropical island will reopen to campers for Christmas.

Parts of Dunk Island have been off-limits since it was hit it by Cyclone Yasi in February last year.
Work has been carried out throughout the year to rebuild infrastructure and rehabilitate the island's natural features.

Councillor Shannon says overnight camping will resume tomorrow, with nine sites available.

"I'm very pleased," he said.

"We've been trying for a long while for this to occur, after a long, drawn-out process we got the money and we've had the work done and completed.

"When I say it's completed, the grassing of the area in a couple of areas is still to occur and that will only occur when the turf from the turf farm can be actually picked up.

"If they tried to pick it up now when it's been so dry it will literally fall apart, so there'll be some turf-laying as soon as it rains.

"Up to 50 people I think they can take in nine sites, the nine sites are all set out.

"The facilities are there, tables, chairs, the ablution block, barbecue areas, everything is in place and we've got the work site, which is the construction of the jetty, appropriately barricaded so there's no safety issues there and the whole of the spit is now open for business."
It's nice to hear Dunk is back, but I still think a cafe/bar is needed to get it to rebound. I'm surprised that the jetty has taken this long as well, though with the Dunk Island Water Taxi normally dropping off directly to the beach that's not such a big deal.

The Dunk Island website hasn't been updated for since July 2011, which is a little disappointing. Reports have said that the new owner, Peter Bond, is aiming for a more exclusive and smaller resort, but I hope he pushes ahead with day trip facilities as well. Bring back the Jetty Cafe!

1 comment :

  1. Hi Mike,
    Local rumours say it will never open as a resort and the new owners intend to demolish the remnants of the resort to build a holiday house.