When most people think about Australia, they picture a single huge landmass – but did you know that Australia also has more than 8,000 islands? Today, we’re not going to go through all 8,000 of them but we will see what Australia’s best five islands have to offer!
These amazing islands are great options regardless of whether you travel solo, with your friends or as a family. We’ll start with the most private island that is also the furthest away from the mainland.
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#1 – Lord Howe Island
This crescent-shaped island is so remote that it can only be reached by plane or yacht. And that is one of its appeals – exclusivity. With less than 400 guest beds available on the island, you’ll be able to appreciate the natural beauty without feeling like you’re part of a horde of tourists.
The Lord Howe Island Group, which consists of 28 islands, is a World Heritage Site and is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see many species of plants and animals that are endemic to these islands. The unique flora and fauna here have resulted in these islands being called the Galapagos of Australia.
The island is a popular honeymoon destination as it offers no mobile phone service and almost no wifi. It’s the perfect place to reconnect with nature and each other. The island offers many activities such as hiking, snorkeling, golf, sailing, bike riding, fishing, surfing, tennis, and some of the most spectacular scuba diving in the world with over 500 species of fish and 90 species of coral inhabiting the reef.
It is no wonder that National Geographic included Lord Howe Island on its Best of the World list as one of its top destinations for 2021.
#2 – Rottnest Island
Home of the happiest animal on the earth – the quokka, Rottnest Island, or Rotto, is a popular weekend destination for those living in Perth, the largest city on Australia’s western coast.
This car-free island is only a 25-minute ferry ride away from the mainland and it offers an incredible 63 beaches. Rotto is home to only 300 people but has a vibrant and diverse animal population and is an important bird sanctuary.
Apart from the chance to take a selfie with a quokka, Rotto offers many unique attractions like skydiving over turquoise waters, whale watching in April when an estimated 35,000 whales migrate past the island, or exploring shipwrecks and swimming through underwater canyons to see unique marine life.
Rottnest Island got its peculiar name when Dutch explorer Willem de Vlamingh confused the now world-famous quokka for a rat. Boy, was he wrong!
#3 – North Stradbroke Island
The second largest sand island in the world, North Stradbroke or Straddie is only 30 kilometres southeast of Queensland’s Brisbane, but it feels like it’s a million miles away. The island’s three small towns are encompassed by endless beaches, lakes, and even whales.
You can whale-watch without leaving the shore, thanks to the many vantage points on the island. The most famous of these is the stunning Point Lookout. Alternatively, you can dive underwater to see leopard sharks, manta rays, and many other species of fish and turtles. If you have the time, you can even get your scuba diving certification here.
There are many attractions that are unique to the island. Things like sandboarding on dunes, swimming in a lake that’s naturally infused with tea, or learning more about the land’s real owners with a local Aboriginal guide.
There’s a number of campsites on the island, all with a variety of accommodation options. Whether you like sleeping in a roof top tent, caravan or cabin, you’ll be able to find a spot that suits your needs.
Although a popular tourist attraction, Straddie will hopefully remain a pristine paradise thanks to it being declared a National Park in 2011.
#4 – Fraser Island
After the 2nd largest, we have the world’s largest sand island – Fraser Island. Located approximately 250 kilometres from Brisbane, the island has around 180 inhabitants.
What is unique about this sand island is that, unlike other sand dunes, plant and animal life is abundant here, and it is the only place in the world where rainforest naturally grows from sand. It’s all thanks to naturally occurring fungi that release nutrients for plants to absorb.
As with all of the paradises on our list, there’s no shortage of things to do here. The top attractions include visiting Lake McKenzie and its crystal clear waters. After that, you can float on a current through Eli Creek, a clear freshwater creek, all the way to the beach.
There’s also a 90 kilometre track passing by most of the island’s most important sites and through the rainforest. It takes about six days to complete and has a number of beautiful campsites that you can stop at along the way. Don’t forget to bring your hiking tent!
If you’re not into walking, there’s plenty of 4WD tracks where you can drive on the beach for an unforgettable experience. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a dingo!
#5 – Bruny Island
Bruny Island is named after the French explorer Bruni d’Entrecasteauxis and is in fact two landmasses, the North Bruny and the South Bruny that are linked by a long and narrow sandy isthmus called The Neck.
The island has a unique flora and fauna but is also famous for fabulous food, especially cheese and wine (their pinot noir is fantastic).
Other notable and unique attractions include island hopping around Tasmania and exploring the island on foot while sleeping in luxury tents. There’s even wilderness cruises that venture deep into sea caves on the quest to see Australian fur seals, whales, dolphins, sea birds, penguins, wallabies, wombats, and many other wild animals.
With only 150,000 tourists visiting Bruny annually, it really is Tasmania’s best kept secret.
Did you enjoy our list?
These five islands are some of the best places you can visit while down under and are famous for their wildlife, long sandy beaches, and friendly locals. With a mix of resorts, camping, and glamping, there’s something for everyone.
Tell us what you think about these amazing places in the comments and please share the article if you liked it.
Written by Louis from Outdoor Explorer
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