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Posted on Friday 10 August 2012 in Canada
Right on the Canadian-United States border is Pelee Island, The Great White North's most southerly point and seemingly forgotten spot of land. With only 150 residents, Pelee is a secluded and private oasis in the middle of Lake Erie, and Aussies will feel welcome the moment they step onto the sandy shores for the first time. Holidays on this island are suited for short breaks, particularly for travellers who want to stay away from the busy streets of nearby Toronto.
The best way to get to Pelee Island is to take flights to Toronto and either drive or take a scenic train ride down to Leamington or Kingsville in Ontario, where they can take a ferry or plane to the 10,000-acre islet. Ferry rides take only about an hour and a half each way, and because they are so infrequent, travellers should make reservations well in advance. The high season is from April to December, when the weather is ideal and winter hasn't yet descended upon the small island.
Once on Pelee, visitors will find themselves completely off the grid, and while there are some paved roads, the island is best explored by bicycle or on foot.
Seasoned travellers might not expect to find a winery on such a small island, but Pelee makes an exception. The Pelee Island Winery is in fact the oldest and largest estate vineyard in Canada, taking up 600 acres of precious real estate on the islet. There are tours every day, and Aussies treating themselves to wine holidays need only pay $5 to walk through rows of grapes and absorb all there is to know about Pelee's fruitful soil. Connoisseurs can also reserve a private picnic prepared specially by the chefs at the winery.
After buying a few bottles of the sweet libation, Aussies should head to Conorlee's Bakery and Delicatessen, where they can pick up some fine cheeses and freshly baked bread to go along with their recent purchase.
While guests can satisfy their hunger with food provided by bed and breakfasts, the half-dozen eateries on the island might entice them to dine out during their holiday. At Scudder Beach Bar and Grill, visitors can treat themselves to Canadian comfort foods like poutine as they mingle with the handful of locals who call Pelee home throughout the year.
Exploring the island
A number of touring companies take visitors on leisurely bike rides around the island, and Aussies who want to know more about Pelee's wildlife may want to book an entire afternoon to really get a feel for what the island has to offer. During a bike tour with Explore Pelee, riders will pedal their way to historic ruins, nature reserves and idyllic lighthouses. The Lighthouse Point Provincial Preserve features rare creatures like turtles and salamanders, and while holidaymakers are here, they'll have the chance to take postcard-like photographs to send to all their loved ones back home.
Pelee Island is also a bird watcher's dream, as many seafaring species lay their eggs along the shores. Some tours are specifically geared toward catching a glimpse of these graceful creatures.
Beach it up
Once everyone's belly is full, holidaymakers can walk or bike off their meal and head to one of the many beaches on the island. During the summer, the water is as warm as the tropical beaches of Hawaii, and Aussies may feel like they've just been transported to an island paradise - only better.
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