Magnetic Island: eight kilometres off the coast of Townsville but a million miles from care, blessed with fringing reefs, giant granite tors and boulder-strewn vistas.
My guide, a birdwatcher, couldn’t disguise his excitement at the return of life we were seeing all around us. The rainforest at Russett Park in Kuranda was once eerily quiet, but now, in a place where birds and insects had been stripped away, there is new life.
Land once slated for the world’s first commercially-operated international spaceport has this year been given back to Traditional Owners. Two months after the handback ceremony in Cairns in May, Andrew Picone from the Australian Conservation Foundation looks at the importance of the landmark decision and the benefits of Aboriginal ownership and joint management of national parks.