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| BNE January/February 2017


One of the best reef encounters is on

the southern end of the Great Barrier

Reef and the experience could change

your life, as

Shelley Thomas



ho can remember exactly where they’ve welcomed in

the New Year, every year, for the past three decades?

For Jim Buck and family the answer is simple. Over

the past 30 years, without fail, the public servant and one-time road

designer has set up camp on Lady Musgrave Island, a destination that’s as

blissfully ‘back to nature’ as you can get (save being shipwrecked).

For Jim, it’s Paradise with a capital P. The best address on earth, where

‘simple luxuries’ extend to composting toilets. That said, not even a Lotto

win would halt his annual pilgrimage to this coral cay in the southern end

of Queensland’s World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef.

Postcard perfect in every way, the island is easily circumnavigated by

foot in around 30 minutes (if you’re blinkered, that is, or immune to

endless wildlife encounters from marine turtles to spotted rays), close to

20 hectares levitating in its own wrap-around reef.

Lady Musgrave Reef is 150 times the size of the island, at 2930

hectares, and famous as the Great Barrier Reef’s only navigable, protected

lagoon, akin to the world’s largest swimming pool. Ideal for snorkelling