Lady Musgrave: How much would you pay for a slice of paradise?

Australia is a significant destination for backpackers seeking a unique experience to remote untouched part, but at what price?

Next on our presumed itinerary was the tropical island of Lady Musgrave, part of the southern Great Barrier Reef and about 100km from Bundaberg’s coast. We were excited to see it listed among the QPWS camping’s spots so we thought about taking the plunge to this pristine tropical paradise for some unforgettable nights under the stars.

We reached The Town of 1770, the launching pad to this coral cay, which is nothing more than a marine and a camping ground, so laidback and apparently so off the beaten track. However we soon realized, to our disappointment, this village knows very well how to deal with tourists and how to assert their natural treasures. In fact the only way to access Lady Musgrave is by taking part of a snorkeling day tour, which it would be ok, except if you are planning to camp on the island in which case you will have to take it twice, yep! How much would it be the damage? $160 each per way = $640 for the two of us, ouch.

For the first time along our RTW trip I found myself not able to shop around or bargain the cost of the transfer as, I was afraid, this service is run by only one boat’s operator, MV Spirit of 1770, which hold the monopoly. I tried to understand why it was so high-priced to convince Chris, but first myself, if worth it. I figured it out that it might not be the closet point to go deep into the Great Barrier Reef, therefore probably it might also be such an intact landscape with stunning underwater reef and, in order to keep it that way, they have to give the place some exclusivity (if it would be cheaper it would be likely hit by the heaps of tourists). But what really irritated me was the fact there is no such a thing as an island camping transfer available at a better deal. It’s just a matter of principle, why should I want to take the same tour twice? I also brought the subject to the boat company as I explained we were not interested at all in taking part of the tour but simple on the transfer itself, to be dropped on the island, but they clearly made their point and preferred to lose two clients. I found ironical the situation. Is it camping not supposed to be a way to get closer to Mother Earth and, at the same time, be a more economical holiday away from the comforts? On the other side the camping permit itself is indeed cheap (at $4.75 per night available from Queensland Parks & Wildlife Service and remember you must be totally self efficient) but it’s the transfer that really make the difference. Yet a visit to Lady Musgrave seemed to me just a lot of cash to blow all in once considering also we will have more opportunities to see the Great Barrier Reef in more accessible places such as the Whitsundays and Cairns.

What’s your say? How much would you willing to stump up to play castaway on an uninhabited tiny coral atoll fringed by white sand and crystalline water with untouched coral reefs?

One thought on “Lady Musgrave: How much would you pay for a slice of paradise?

  1. Ciao Marta! My name is Ines, I am with my boyfriend right now doing a RTW and would like to visit the Lady Musgrave island.
    Did you finally go in the end ? Was it good ?

    We are unsure where to visit the great barrier reef, it is so expensive everywhere! Gracie mille!

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