Thursday Island Cruise Port

Port of Thursday Island: An Overview

Also known as 'TI' or Waibene by its residents, Thursday Island is one of Australia's northernmost outposts, meaning very few people have travelled there. The remote setting is untouched and beautiful, surrounded by lush islands, clear water and abundant marine life. Although the island has many tempting beaches, swimming is not recommended as crocodiles and marine stingers inhabit the region. Fishing, boating and exploring the island's military history are popular alternatives.

The main attraction on Thursday Island is the Green Hill Fort and Museum, with its underground rooms and tunnels. TI locals are friendly, so don't be shy to say hello or strike up a conversation at one of the typically Aussie pubs.

As the commercial and administrative centre of the Torres Strait Islands, a sparsely populated archipelago between the tip of Australia and Papua New Guinea, Thursday Island has more buildings than you may expect in such a remote place -- mostly along the two main streets -- and a population of about 2,600. Measuring just 3 square kilometres (1.2 square miles), it's possible to walk around the island, but taxis and car rental are available near the wharf.

Don't Miss

For the best vista in town, head up to Green Hill Fort, which has beautiful panoramic views of the neighbouring islands (Friday, Prince of Wales, Horn and Hammond), and is a great spot for a photo of your ship in the middle of the sea.

One of the most intact 19th century forts in Australia, it has several breach-loading guns, tunnels and an underground Torres Strait Historical Museum of military, shipping and pearling history. The uphill walk takes about 20 minutes but due to the extreme heat and humidity during the wet season, when most cruise passengers visit, it may be worth grabbing a cab.

At the Heritage-listed Thursday Island Cemetery, you can discover the diversity of the past population, with graves of Japanese pearl divers and people from Torres Strait, Malaysia, Indonesia and Britain, buried in religious sections such as Muslim, Buddhist, Catholic and Anglican. 

After a long walk in the sun, cool down with a drink and food at one of Australia's northernmost pubs such as the Grand Hotel, with water views from an outdoor deck, Federal Hotel, opposite Federal Beach, Royal Hotel or Torres Hotel.

Gab Tui Cultural Centre showcases Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula culture through displays of contemporary indigenous art and historical artifacts. A gift shop sells artworks, jewellery, textiles, books, music and souvenirs.

Adjacent to the wharf, Peddell's Ferry and Bus Tours (peddellsferry.com.au) offer guided tours of Thursday Island and nearby Horn Island, especially for history and World War II enthusiasts.

Where You're Docked

Thursday Island is a tender port. The ride from ship to shore takes about 15 minutes. Near the wharf is a table staffed by two locals, who provide maps, directions and suggestions. Within walking distance are four pubs, a cafe, supermarket, post office, pharmacy, churches, AJ's Car Rental, and Gab Tui Cultural Centre.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money

The Australian dollar is the only currency accepted on Thursday Island; credit cards are also accepted. The National Australia Bank is located on Douglas St.

Language

English is the main language spoken. There are also five indigenous languages spoken in the Torres Strait and many of the locals also speak Torres Strait Creole, known as 'Broken English'.

--By Louise Goldsbury, Australia Editor