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Aussie coins gold dust on Fanning Island

THREE Aussie dollars in return for a singing a song had a young lad on Fanning Island thinking he was rich.

Seeing him grin from ear to ear as he showed the booty to his mates was one of the highlights of my day on Fanning Island, part of a cruise around the Hawaiian islands.

Other than cruise passengers, few visitors go to the remote island in the Republic of Kiribati.

Officially known as Tabuaeran Island, the footprint-shaped atoll in the central Pacific Ocean is a sibling of the better-known Christmas Island.

Named after its discoverer Captain Edmund Fanning, the island’s first documented residents were Gilbertese settlers.

The discovery of Polynesian artefacts also suggests early settlements by people from the Cook Islands or Tonga.

Today, the island’s population of about 2000 people are eager to interact and share their culture and way of life.

 

Locals on Fanning Island in Republic of Kiribati are eager to share their culture and way of life.

Locals on Fanning Island in the Republic of Kiribati are eager to share their culture and way of life.

A young mother happily poses for a photo with her little boy.

A young mother happily poses for a photo with her child.

Fanning Island people are mostly self-sufficient and have developed their own businesses and agriculture.

Fanning Island people are mostly self-sufficient and have developed their own businesses and agriculture.

Today, the island's major exports are copra and handcrafts including cowrie shell, shark tooth knives and Kiribati stamps.

They have a seafood-rich diet and export handcrafts including cowrie shell, shark tooth knives and Kiribati stamps.

The remote footprint-shaped atoll in the central Pacific Ocean is a sibling of the better-known Christmas Island.

The remote footprint-shaped atoll in the central Pacific Ocean is a sibling of the better-known Christmas Island.

12 things to do at Cooktown

Top 12 things to do at Cooktown

“SEEN one rainforest, seen ém all” doesn’t apply at Cooktown where in 1770 Captain James Cook and his crew landed on the banks of the Endeavour River after their ship ran aground on the Great Barrier Reef.

Exploring Queensland’s Cape York Peninsula was just a blip on my travel radar until last December. I’d already seen plenty of rainforests so with many other exciting places beckoning, I figured if an opportunity arose to go to North Queensland I’d go but otherwise I wouldn’t make the effort.

An opportunity did arise, in fact, after relatives moved to Cooktown in late 2014. An airline company was offering cheap flights from Brisbane to Cairns so that blip on my travel radar suddenly started beaming “visit me”.

I planned to make the trip before the 2016 wet season (January to March) but I’ve since learnt the monsoon rains in summer renew wildlife in spectacular fashion. Waterfalls are also in full flow so awesome photographic opportunities would have been greater than the month I chose, September 2015.

While Cooktown is accessible in a standard vehicle all year round, time was limited for my north Queensland jaunt so I took a 45-minute flight from Cairns with Hinterland Aviation.

Located 328 kilometres north of Cairns, Cooktown is steeped in history dating from ancient Indigenous times, Captain James Cook’s landing on the bank of the Endeavour River in 1770, and the Palmer River Gold Rush of the late 1800s.

Here’s a snapshot of things to do and see at Cooktown

This list of 12 things to do at Cooktown is just a snapshot of the vast number of things to do and see in and around the coastal town that boasts a population of about 2500,

Cooktown

1. Stroll through the Cooktown Botanic Gardens featuring native and exotic palms, orchids, fruit trees and more than 90 species of birds. These gardens are among the oldest in Australia.

Cooktown

2. Go crocodile spotting. The best time is during the dry season (July to December) on a low tide when they come out of the water to sun themselves on the river banks. Beware of venturing near water on beaches and river banks where crocs view humans as prey.

Cooktown

3. Swim in the popular fresh-water pool below the Trevathan Falls, accessed from Mount Amos road.

Cooktown

4. Enjoy spectacular views of Cooktown, the Endeavour River and the Great Barrier Reef from the Grassy Hill Lookout and Lighthouse.

Cooktown

5. Hike from the Grassy Hill Road to Cheery Tree Bay, Cooktown’s most secluded beach and fringed by rainforest and large rock formations.

6. See spectacular views over the Hope Islands and Cape Tribulation from near the lighthouse at Archer Point, 15km south of Cooktown, off the Mulligan Highway.

6. See spectacular views over the Hope Islands and Cape Tribulation from near the lighthouse at Archer Point, 15km south of Cooktown, off the Mulligan Highway.

Cooktown

7. Visit the mysterious Black Mountains 25km south of Cooktown on the Mulligan Highway. The mountains of grey granite boulders are culturally significant for the Kuku Yalanji people and tales abound of people, horses and cattle disappearing, never to be seen again.

Cooktown

8. Have a beer in the Lion’s Den Hotel, built in 1875 on the banks of the Little Annan River. Surrounded by mango trees rainforests, the historic hotel built of timber and iron is famous for its quirky interior.

Cooktown

9. See Indigenous Australian art, pottery and jewellery at the Wujal Wujal professional gallery near the Bloomfield River.

Cooktown

10. Enjoy a riverboat cruise on the Endeavour River for scenic tours designed to share maritime stories while croc spotting and bird watching.

11. Visit the James Cook Museum, located in the restored Sisters of Mercy convent school building, where artefacts from Captain James Cook's ship Endeavour and diary extracts are housed. The museum also holds Indigenous Australian and Chinese displays

11. Visit the James Cook Museum, located in the restored Sisters of Mercy convent school building, where artefacts from Captain James Cook’s ship Endeavour and diary extracts are housed. The museum also holds Indigenous Australian and Chinese displays.

 

Cooktown

12. Take a walking tour of the town to see the water fountain, Elizabeth Guzsely Gallery, history centres, Milbi (story) Wall, statue of Mick the Miner and the interactive Musical Ship. James Cook tributes include a statue, cannon and monument marking the spot where Cook beached his Endeavour in 1770. Markets are on Saturday mornings near the bowls club.

Jeremei broadens his career horizon

HAVING a university degree broadens the horizon in more ways than one, says University of Southern Queensland (USQ) Student Ambassador Jeremei Maudsley.

“Expanding my career options within Australia is just the start,” he said. “There are also myriad opportunities for jobs overseas on a work and holiday visa.”

horizon

Jeremei Maudsley.

Mr Maudsley, 28, said his lifetime dream was to travel around Europe. Now, with just one semester of study left to complete his Bachelor of Business, making that dream a reality is getting closer by the day.

With a major in resource management and minors in psychology and education, Mr Maudsley has plenty of scope for securing work in a variety of areas that require highly skilled people.

“I chose a psychology minor because it linked with human resource management in business. I also wanted the education minor to give myself as many career pathways as possible.”

The former sheet metal worker said finishing his USQ undergraduate degree this year still allowed him time to apply for a UK Tier 5 Visa, which applies to Australian and New Zealand citizens aged between 18 and 30 years.

“I turn 30 in March next year (2016) but I can apply up to my 31st birthday. With that visa I’ll be able to work and travel anywhere in the UK for two years.”

Born in the North Queensland town of Ingham, Mr Maudsley is of Philippian and Australian descent but has lived mostly on the Fraser Coast in Maryborough and Hervey Bay.

“I did a sheet metal working apprenticeship before enrolling at USQ. I had achieved everything I wanted with the trade and was looking for a new challenge.

“I’m trying to keep my options open because I don’t know what I really want to do yet. If I don’t like something, then I want to be able to move around, so having a university degree with studies in a few different areas gives me the best chance to do that.”

To start studying in November (Semester 3, 2015), applications via QTAC close on November 2. Direct entry applications close on November 12. For more information visit the USQ website at www.usq.edu.au/

-ENDS-

Photo: USQ Student Ambassador Jeremei Maudsley is looking forward to traveling overseas, buoyed with a university business degree to help him find quality work.