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“What a great day!”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of St. Helena Island

St. Helena Island
Ranked #24 of 339 things to do in Brisbane
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Considered Queensland's first historic national park, this island features the ruins of a colonial prison, once known as the "hell hole of the South Pacific."
Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
131 reviews
28 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
“What a great day!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 3, 2014

This was simply a great tour! My wife and I, along with her sister did this tour on August 3rd and we had an amazing experience. The knowledge that was passed along to us was historical and amusing at the same time. Our tour guides did a great job of keeping the crowd informed and entertained (great for all age groups too as the guides made an effort to engage children along with make them laugh) The lunch that we got was very good...and filling too! We are Canadians living in Brisbane and recommend this tour to travelers and locals as well!

Visited August 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank Samuel B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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279 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
15 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Perfect half day trip”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 31, 2014

Recommended for locals and visitors alike, this mini cruise on the "Cat O Nine Tails" to historical St Helena Island on Morton Bay was both entertaining and informative. The fascinating history of this island as a penal colony was brought to life by our three jovial hosts aptly dressed in warder and prisoner garb as they acted out typical scenarios of prison life on the island. The walking tour was topped off by a salad basket lunch under shady trees before we made our way back to the waiting Catamaran. Suitable for both adults and families, this trip takes around five hours and is a great way to spend a sunny Queensland afternoon at a very affordable price.
Note; There is a reasonable amount of track and grass walking required on this particular trip so it would not be recommended for the very elderly or immobile.

Visited July 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank Phil C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toowoomba
Level Contributor
28 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Overwhelming history at the doorstep”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 30, 2014

Took the "Cat o' Nine Tails" day tour of the Island.

Smooth and clear weather helped to make this a wonderful experience. Arrived 20 mins early at the wharf (info pack asks you to arrive at least 15 mins prior to departure), but a little confused as to where to meet the boat ... no signage at all, and others there also confused. One had already phoned the tour guides who were apparently a little "short" with him and just told him to wait ... the boat would be there soon (which wasn't the question he had asked!!).

Boat finally arrived 5 minutes AFTER due departure time .... just as a massive entourage from a local bus tour group arrived at the "right" place to wait (obviously had better intel than we all did!!) ... who then proceeded to rush onto the boat ahead all of those who had been there waiting 15 mins prior to departure as requested ..... I hate it when this happens!!!! So much for doing as politely requested by the organisers hay!!!

The trip over was terrific though, staff were very relaxed (probably why the issues above!!!) and went out of their way to ensure an easy time was had by all. Offered for folks to sit up on the bow of the boat and enjoy themselves. A good contrast against some other mobs you're touring with that start the briefing off with all the things you CAN'T do!!

Long-ish walk about the island (easy grade), which the info clearly sets out, and despite it also clearly spelling out the need for good hats, few if any of the bus group lot -or any of the passengers at all in fact, had a hat of any description, and one women flaked out it in the winter "heat" during the tour.

Very impressive tour, with knowledgeable, articulate, and sincerely interested guides. What we really loved is that they didn't mind whatsoever if you wanted to walk off a little way and have a closer look at things that may have caught your interest. There was a little fun and games from a dramatic perspective, however there was no obligation at all for folks to have to sit through this if it wasn't their "cup of tea". I wandered around the remarkable ruins instead, losing myself in the dripping history of the place, and feeling totally overwhelmed at the privilege of being able to become immersed in it.

Pricing was a little on what I would consider to be the "exxy" side - not much change from $240 for a family with 3 youngsters for a 5 hour trip ... but difficult to imagine how we could have experienced such a day any other way. Would have been similar at a "theme park", with nothing like the experience we had.

A shame that National Parks insist that exploration of the majority of the island had to be in company of a guide only .... but sadly a reflection upon how humans have become generally. Realistically I guess there is no other way. There is information outlining the vandalising of the place in earlier years.

All in all, an excellent day out, the learning experience could be just as intense or relaxed as you wanted; obliging and relaxed guides, and remarkable history at our doorstep with which there should be no excuse for us to be unfamiliar with.

Visited July 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank Meawls
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
210 reviews
82 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
“St. Helena Island”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 23, 2014

I would recommend a day cruise to St. Helena Island to everyone. It is steeped in history, the story being told by a 'warden' and a 'convict'! The cruise across the bay from Manly Harbour is most pleasant, and a very tasty lunch is served on the island.

Visited July 2014
Helpful?
Thank ShirleydK39
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Old Koreelah
Level Contributor
31 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“School trip”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 23, 2014

Brilliant way to learn our history. The boat trip over is fun on its own. Need to be fit and take a camera the view is stunning.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
Thank anson1966
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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