It's a pretty common experience for many of us - but playing tourist closer to home is something a lot of people don't always get around to doing. For people who like travelling, the allure of the unfamiliar is often far more tempting than poking around the corners of our own back yard.

So, I've been trying a few strategies to break out of the work/home/internet/chores rut that I seem to have settled into lately, and figured a bit of backyard tourism might be just the ticket! Luckily I logged in just in time to get the last ticket for a sea turtle tour out to one of the islands in a nearby harbour. It's prime nesting season for sea turtles at the moment and conditions were looking hopeful for a successful trip.

Located 50km west of Darwin, it's a 90 minute boat ride out to Bare Sand Island, a tiny exposed speck of land located just off the Darwin coast in Bynoe Harbour. I've travelled out to this spot before while out fishing but as the island has pretty much no shelter to speak of, it's not really a spot that invites visitors to stick around for too long.

Sand dunes on Bare Sand Island

Bare Sand Island is a prime breeding spot for flatback turtles - the only species of all the sea turtles that nest on Australian beaches that breeds exclusively in Australia (all other species include other countries in their breeding territories). Darwin's university - Charles Darwin Uni - has been conducting research on the island since the late 80's and a research team was out on the island during our visit (including one of my old lecturers from my student days!)

Our early evening arrival was perfectly timed to go and check out a turtle that was part-way through laying her eggs, before heading back - picture perfect - into the sunset.

If you're planning a trip to Darwin from May to September and are interested in taking a tour out to the island - the locally operated Sea Darwin tourism company runs a series of trips throughout the breeding season. It's worth a bit of forward planning however as tours regularly get booked out.

No comments