Usually we would not plan an adventure weeks in advance but, seeing as November is a month of celebrations for us, I thought I would surprise Ben with an epic escape from reality.
He had no idea about anything, only that he had to take the Friday off work and that he could bring his spearfishing gear. That is the most important information anyway, right?!
After 2 weeks of continuously refreshing the Willy Weather website and praying that the weather forecast would drastically change from thunderstorms and rain all weekend to nothing but sunshine (which it did!!), Friday arrived. We were on our way to Keswick Island, a low-key island surrounded by the Great Barrier Reef.
With no rowdy tourists, crowds, retail stores, chain motels, bustling restaurants or bars, this little-known slice of paradise tucked away in the southern Whitsundays made us feel like castaways on an episode of Survivor.
Watching the reality TV show accentuates just how much we all want to have the raw experience of being a castaway. But let’s be honest, many urbanites cringe at the thought of having no hot water, no shelter and having to start a fire with two sticks without the guidance from YouTube and Google because of no phone reception is unimaginable.
Therefore, with the choice of a villa/studios, glamping or plain ol’ camping, access to hot showers (although sometimes having to boil your own water), the option to hire a golf buggy and having to bring absolutely everything you want to tantalise your tastes bud with, unless hunting for fish is your forte, Keswick Island is an island where the castaway experience can be as raw or as luxurious as you please.
6 “Castaway” experiences on Keswick Island
1) FLY WITH ISLAND AIR
Although only 15 minutes from Mackay, the exhilarating scenic flight will feel like you have landed in an isolated part of the world.
It is not hard to understand why the island is affectionately called ‘The Treasured Island’. There is a lot of untouched natural beauty to be discovered, with plenty of bays and the reef becoming completely exposed during low tide.
3) HUNT AND GATHER
Being surrounded by reef, the island is a sea-foodie’s paradise. Spearfishing and line fishing is permitted in most areas surrounding the island and with no shortage of coral trout, parrot fish and other tasty reef fish, lunch and dinner will be sorted for days. You may even get lucky and score an entrée of fresh oysters while beachcombing the bays.
4) KAYAK / SUP
Step up the hunt and gather game and venture out further in to the crystal-clear waters or just enjoy the thrilling paddle. Watch the fish, turtles and the occasional curious reef shark swim around underneath you.
Wind through tropical vegetation and share the paths with the resident monitors while looking out over the turquoise waters of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Beat the heat of the North Queensland sun and go for a sunset or sunrise walk.
The Whitsunday Islands are defined by the water around them. Keswick Island’s 50 shades of blue are bound to seduce you within seconds. Snorkelling at mid-tide is so overwhelming. After seeing the reef completely exposed and looking like a war zone, the abundance of marine life and coral comes to life and finding (not eating) Nemo will become a daily ritual.
So, with all the above in mind, what will you choose? The raw castaway experience or the luxurious castaway experience on Keswick Island?