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A Day Trip to Dunk Island -- If you're a beachcomber at heart, Dunk will fulfill your dreams. Just 5km (3 miles) offshore from Mission Beach, Dunk was the inspiration for writer E. J. Banfield's book Confessions of a Beachcomber. The nervous Banfield moved to Dunk at the turn of the 20th century to live out what he thought would be a short life. He lived another 23 years, which must say something about the restorative powers of a piece of paradise. Ed and Bertha Banfield's graves are alongside the track to Mount Kootaloo.

Thick bushland and rainforest cover much of the island's 12 sq. km (4 3/4 sq. miles), most of which is a national park. The island is renowned for its myriad birds and electric-blue Ulysses butterflies.

Day trips to Dunk Island may have resumed operations by the time you read this. At press time, these trips were not operating, awaiting the re-opening of Dunk Island resort. Check with the Visitor Information Centre at Mission Beach, or the resort, for details.

Coral Sea Kayaking (tel. 07/4068 9154, or 0419/782 453 mobile; www.coralseakayaking.com) runs full-day guided paddles to Dunk Island. It takes about 90 minutes to reach the small islands near Dunk and you may see dolphins and turtles. There's a stop at a nearby island for a midmorning snack; and while on Dunk Island, you can walk in the rainforest and swim or snorkel in a secluded bay. The trip costs A$136 per person, including park fees, lunch, and snacks. You must be over 13.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.