Australia

The Best Australian Islands to Visit this Summer

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No matter where you live in Australia, an island paradise is never far away. Explore one of these natural wonderlands on your next getaway for some close-to-home island fun.

Sometimes we need a little reminder that we live in a pretty incredible country, and that there are spectacular islands off every coastline well worth travelling to. These breathtaking islands are easy to get to, naturally beautiful, and offer plenty to see and do.

Hamilton Island, Queensland

Located in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef makes it a tropical haven for snorkelling and diving, and a dream for kayakers. Hike to Passage Peak at sunrise for panoramic views, go on a sunset cruise, or take a day tour to Whitehaven Beach to see what all the fuss is about – it’s consistently ranked among the world’s best beaches. Accommodation ranges from luxurious to budget-friendly, and families are welcome.

Rottnest Island, Western Australia

A 90-minute ferry ride will take you from Perth to laidback Rottnest Island, where camping, self-contained bungalows and beachside boutique hotels are all on offer. Cars aren’t allowed on the island, so not only is it mercifully quiet, it’s also super safe to get around by bike. The island is 11km long by 4.5km wide, so cycling around the whole island is easy. This is quokka country, and you’re most likely to see these adorable marsupials in the cool of the morning or evening. Keep in mind that they prefer to be admired from a distance and like to sleep undisturbed during the day.

Lord Howe Island, NSW

Visitor numbers are limited to 400 at a time on this World Heritage site, allowing it to remain peaceful and pristine. Just a two-hour flight from Sydney, visiting this stunning island is all about getting back to nature. Turquoise lagoons, lush forests and the iconic twin peaks of Mount Gower and Lidgbird await, and you can take it all in on bird-watching walks, on snorkelling and kayaking outings, or relaxing at North Bay Beach. Be sure to visit Ned’s Beach during your stay on Lord Howe to feed the fish – it becomes a feeding frenzy!

K’gari, Queensland

This amazing World Heritage-listed island was known as Fraser Island until 2022, when it was officially restored to its Indigenous name. K’gari is the world’s largest sand island and is popular with nature lovers and adventure seekers. Swim in a freshwater lake, four-wheel drive along 75-mile Beach, and explore the rusting Maheno Shipwreck that washed ashore during a cyclone – it’s a top spot for photos. K’gari has a reputation for its wild dingos getting up to mischief but follow the safety guidelines and avoid feeding them and there’s no cause for concern.

Bruny Island, Tasmania

Foodies are in for a treat when they land on Bruny Island after the 20-minute ferry ride from Hobart. If you love juicy oysters, artisanal cheeses and outstanding wine, this is the place to indulge. Then you can focus on the scenery! Hike to a lookout or the lighthouse for views over the rugged coastline (keep an eye out for whales) or hop on a half-day cruise to spot seals, dolphins and seabirds. When you’ve worked up an appetite again, sign up for a beer and cheese tasting at Bruny Island Cheese Co. before tracking down some local honey and chocolate.

Travel Insurance

We all know that the good times can take a slight detour when travelling. When the going gets tough, Travel Insurance Direct policies aim to do the heavy lifting and may assist with travel insurance cover such as domestic travel insurance to help keep your trip moving in the right direction, so you can refocus on the fun. 


Author

I grew up in the US, Germany and Australia, so it feels more foreign for me to stay in one place than to move around. Since then, I’ve called Boston, London, Seattle, Brisbane, Madison and Sydney home for study and work as a journalist, travel writer and photographer. I specialize in adventure travel, social issues and interiors/architecture. Home is now an 1890s cottage in the Blue Mountains near Sydney. I traveled to my seventh continent last year – an action-packed expedition to Antarctica – and have memories galore of my travels. Snowshoeing in the Canadian Rockies, galloping with gauchos in Chilean Patagonia, trekking through Japan, and camel riding in Jordan are among the most memorable. My least favourite travel hiccup was being stranded in Cameroon when I should have been winging my way to Paris for a little me-time. You win some, you lose some.

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