Our Islands in Indian (and the Pacific)December 19, 2014

Great Britain transfered administration and control of Heard and McDonald Islands to Australia on December 26, 1947. Both islands are located 4,100 kilometers southwest of Perth. There have been no recorded landings on this remote isles until March 1855. Australian scientists Grahame Budd and Hugh Thelander made the first recorded landing on February 12, 1971.

The archipelago became a World Heritage Site in 1997. The habitat is not only endemic, but it also provide clues on the history of Antarctica. Turning the islands into a tourist destination is not feasible, but don't be disappointed. Australia has 8,222 isles within its borders.

The country is an archipelago, but one island is too big for the rest to be noticed. It will be nice to check some of the isles. What prompts tourists to travel there? The beach. It's pretty obvious, though. Try harder:

Bird Island. The absence of a seashore makes it hard to gain access. Geologists believe the island to be part of the mainland thousands of years ago. This unique formation makes it a perfect habitat for birds. In fact, twenty types have been recorded.

Fraser Island. Located along the southern coast of Queensland, this isle has rain forest, woodland, and swamps. But much of the landscape is made up of sand. In fact, this is the largest sand island in the world.

Hamilton Island. This is used exclusively for tourism, its location the main reason. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Kangaroo Island. The third largest isle off Tasmania is not a misnomer. (An open woodland is littered with kangaroos.) But there's more. Try Remarkable Rocks. (No one's pulling a leg.) Don't forget Admiral's Arch.

Lord Howe Island. This crescent-shaped volcanic isle is found between Australia and New Zealand, slowly gaining tourists during the last few years. The Ball's Pyramid, or what remained of a shield volcano, is one of the main attractions. Admiralty Group (of islets), a nesting ground for seabirds, is the other place of interest.

Macquarie Island. This is the home of royal penguins. (It shouldn't be confused with the emperor penguins, which George Miller turned into lovable birds in his Oscar-winning animated film "Happy Feet".)

Neptune Islands. If you are curious about a live shark, then go south of South Australia.

Phillip Island. If you're a fan of motorcross, then you come to the right place. But the isle has a natural charm you can't miss.

Rottnest Island. Once a site of an aboriginal prison and then a boys reformatory, this isle off the coast of Western Australia is a popular swimming destination. There are lots of dolphins to see.

Shark Island. This island is notable for its unique shape. (It won't take a few seconds to guess what animal it would resemble.) It's a recreational reserve, which is a part of the Sydney Harbour National Park. (But you won't find any sharks in a gigantic aquarium.)

You might have set foot in other islands. Don't keep it a secret.

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