Papua New Guinea
American author Mark Twain, who crossed the southern seas to Australia, said that “Man was more likely to be disappointed by things he didn’t do than by those he did”, which was exactly what Australian businessman Ian Gowie-Smith thought when he purchased the remote Conflict Islands, sight unseen, off the coast of Papua New Guinea.
It is not every day that you visit a picturesque island paradise – but if you are lucky enough to get to the remote Conflict Islands then you are in for a treat!
The Conflicts group is a little-known ring of 21 coral islands surrounding an astoundingly beautiful lagoon that's home to one of the world's most richly diverse reef systems. In the 15 years since island proprietor, Ian Gowrie-Smith bought the islands, “because he could” he has established the Conflict Island Conservation Initiative (CICI). Gowrie-Smith now operates various different “resort facilities” (think a custom built swimming platform, a few beachfront bars and a restaurant etc.) From an eco-point of view however things are much more important: Panasesa Island, for example, has a turtle nursery among other projects, and Gowrie-Smith himself oversees the development of organic vegetable, fruit and herb gardens that supply produce for the restaurant. Gowrie-Smith’s delicate ameliorations of the chain of islands are done with full respect for the indigenous community – providing employment to the locals as well as to the environment.