Journals of Conscious Travel & Lifestyle

Tag: Slow Travel

How I Lived Happily in Outback Australia On $75 Per Week

Cleaning rooms in a rural caravan park in Katherine, Outback Australia, I was more content than I remember. Plenty of free time and surrounded by nature, I had all I needed despite earning very little.

My ‘visa’ job search in Darwin had turned into weeks of adventures and raucous nights out. I’d been searching for rural work that would count towards my second year working holiday visa application. One of the criteria for applying is (bizarrely) three months of specified work in a rural location in industries such as agriculture and construction. Quite different from my usual office-based marketing jobs!

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Brampton Island – An Abandoned Resort

While sailing around the Whitsunday Islands in 2014 I learned some of the islands were abandoned resorts. I find abandoned places fascinating so was keen to stop by one of the abandoned islands. 

Brampton island isn’t the only abandoned resort; Hinchinbrook, Hook and Lindeman islands have all been left dilapidated too. South Molle island used to be ‘Koala Adventure’  island and the old rooms and infrastructure are still there, but it’s now used as a research facility.

After a few days sailing round other islands we arrived at Brampton Island late afternoon to find one other boat anchored there. Rick who I was sailing with dropped me off the Tender boat near the dilapidated pier. He stayed aboard our catamaran. I walked along some old rickety rail lines which must have trolleyed tourists up to the resort.

A group of guys from the other boat came to have a look round too, and we wandered round the abandoned bar and beach area discussing why it might have been left, and whether there was really a caretaker that lived there, given there was no sign of anyone. There were a few signs warning trespassers to keep away.

The guys went back to their boat and I continued to explore alone. It was really creepy seeing a modern resort just left like it was suddenly abandoned and I felt a bit on edge walking around on my own. The ground was littered with palm fronds and old coconuts, and I was aware one could drop any moment!

It was possible to get into some of the rooms as the doors were open. They were dusty and messy, as though there had been people in them only weeks ago, but a storm has swept in.

Everything was still there in the rooms – beds, TVs, furniture and pictures on the wall.  I even considered tidying up and staying in one of the rooms to have a break from the boat from a night as we’d had rough seas. We had an issue with the mast and it had been keeping me up at night clanging, so the idea of being still for a night was tempting. (first world problems I realise!) They weren’t in the best state though and lugging bedding off the boat would have been effort.

I was scared a coconut could fall from the non-maintained palm trees and fall on my head. They were so high my head would probably crack like a coconut!

Making my way through the foliage outside a block of holiday chalets, I walked straight into a spider web and came face to face with a huge spider. I’m pretty scared of spiders!

I was pretty tense walking round, as I didn’t know what I’d stumble on, literally. Being the only person on an abandoned island is quite a spooky feeling. Rick was anchored too far away to hear if I shouted and if anything happened it would be a while before he would come to find me!

While walking round one of the blocks I smelled a disgusting smell like something dead, and was horrified to come across a huge decaying dead kangaroo.

I should probably have turned back but I was fascinated and kept exploring. I found some sort of sports centre with a gym. Weights and machines were left…an old snail-eaten copy of Men’s Health…medicine balls….

In the reception area tea bags and toiletries were left sitting there. I imagined staff and happy holiday makers chatting, excited about their holiday. ‘Brampton Island’ was written across the glass in fancy writing.

Kangaroos roamed amongst jet skis and other expensive abandoned equipment….at the far edge of the development I even found an old airfield and landing strip for small planes!

I visited Brampton Island for the day while on a slow month-long sailing trip on a 40 foot catamaran from Airlie Beach to Hervey Bay in 2014. We stopped and explored many islands including Lady Musgrave and Percy Island.

By bizarre coincidence a few weeks after visiting the island I met someone at a party in Mackay who knew the people who were going to buy and restore the Brampton Island resort.

I’d be interested to go back to Brampton Island one day when it’s developed. But in some ways it’s more interesting when abandoned!

Interested in Sustainability?

The global Sustainability Award helps to identify the best sustainable and plastic-free options. It’s my latest eco-venture, please check it out, and say hello on social media! 

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