Written on: 06/03/2003 by Neil Slater.
Warm weather, food, fishing, service.
Low tide exposes mud - commonplace on coral islands.
Dunk Island is located between Cairns and Townsville in tropical north Queensland, Australia.
The island is about 5km (just over 3 miles) ferry trip from the mainland town of Mission Beach or 40 minute flight south from Cairns.
This is the location my wife and I chose for our honeymoon and can happily recommend it to families and couples alike.
The weather is exceptional averaging 29o C (85oF) for the year with the wet season being from approximately November until April.
We were there around May and there was hardly a breath of wind and the sun greeted us each morning for 28-degree days. The Island is one of the very few places I have been where it really is like the pictures in the postcards - which is important for me!
Dunk Island's calling card is the spectacular Ulysses butterfly which has electric blue 14 cm wing span on the larger males. I'm not dead sure of the best time of year for these astounding insects, but we only saw one flick amongst the gardens one morning on our 5 day stopover.
The only thing with a lot of these coral reef islands is that when the tide goes out, you are left with a strip of sand (that you've just spent all day banking on) which leads down to mud, rock, broken coral or all of the above.
During periods of high tide, the beach is picturesque and the low tides exposure of the mud flats is just one of those unfortunate things in life we all put up with as you remove the small umbrella from your drink.
At our time of visiting, the water was reasonably clear and suitable for snorkelling, but don't expect to see all those glamorous reef fish - they are on the barrier reef and you need to jump on an organised tour for this (which is highly recommended!).
There is a conference facility and around 150 rooms ranging from units to beachside villas on Dunk. All have air conditioning (very important in summer), direct dial STD phone and all the standard room fittings such as fridge, TV (with movie channel!), hair dryer, tea and coffee stuff and beach towels.
The place is dotted with pools, bars and restaurants many being 'open air' so you can enjoy the relaxed atmosphere.
I found the staff here eager for a chat (but know when you aren't) and not too 'plastic' - in other words, they a genuinely pleased you are having a good time.
Then there's the food .
The food is without doubt the best I've eaten at any holiday resort. Now, I haven't been to hundreds of resorts, but the steak was superb, the king prawns 'snap' when peeled, the barramundi and coral trout are unbelievable and I challenge anyone not to go back for seconds on the seafood buffet night!!
And, if that's not enough, wait until breakfast!!
The service was prompt and I never had to ask for anything - it was offered first.
The drink prices were very fair and the wide variety obviously caters for the diverse tastes of the guests that stay on Dunk.
There is a great little golf course as well as tennis, badminton and squash courts, well catered for gym, archery, bocce, and several nature walks around the island.
The water sports are many and they include, fishing (from the pier or a hired dinghy), sailing, snorkelling, water aerobics and volleyball motorized dinghies and mountain bike and Jet Ski tours.
There are also sport and game fishing charters as well as barrier reef tours available.
All the activities where you do not need a guide or petrol (gas) are free (golf, tennis, 'sail your own' yacht etc) and everything else has varied costs associated with them. eg: around AUS$100/day for a motorized dinghy.
There is also a child minding and cr che service as well as plenty of kid's activities available if you need a break from the ankle-biters.
One of the 'do not miss' activities I have to say is the sunset cruise. For around AUS$50, they take you and about a dozen other people (yep, you have to book) out on a large yacht with champagne and nibbles until the sun goes down over the Atherton tablelands on the mainland.
Now I'm no sailor, but this was great and the sunset was truly spectacular!
So I guess you can say, "I approve" of Dunk Island!
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