Unveiling the 20 Best Island Getaways in Australia 🇦🇺 🏝️
Australia has 8,222 islands, so when it comes to dreamy island getaways, there’s a treasure trove of natural wonders just waiting to be explored!
From the iconic Kangaroo Island to the secluded bays of Lord Howe Island, each of the Australian islands offer a unique slice of paradise, with breathtaking landscapes and abundant wildlife.
In this article, I’ll uncover some of the best island destinations in Australia, where to stay, and the perfect time of year to plan your unforgettable adventure!
So here it is, my Top 20 Islands in Australia that will seriously blow your mind!
#1 Kangaroo Island, South Australia
Kangaroo Island is an enchanting gem nestled off the southern coast of Australia. This gorgeous island is a haven for wildlife lovers, where you can get up close and personal with adorable kangaroos, cuddly koalas, and lots of other fascinating creatures.
But the adventure doesn’t stop there! With its breathtaking coastal cliffs, pristine beaches, and stunning rock formations, Kangaroo Island is a playground for nature enthusiasts and photographers.
Here you can explore hidden caves, hike through untouched wilderness, or witness the mesmerising sight of sea lions lazing on the sand.
As the sun sets over the horizon, you’ll find yourself utterly captivated by the island’s untouched beauty, which will steal your heart and leave you in awe at every turn!
Where to Stay: Embrace luxury at Southern Ocean Lodge, a world-renowned eco-retreat offering breathtaking ocean views and access to pristine beaches. For a more budget-friendly option, consider Kangaroo Island Seafront Hotel, conveniently located in Penneshaw and close to the ferry terminal.
Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit Kangaroo Island is during the shoulder seasons of spring (September to November) and autumn (March to May). These months offer pleasant weather, fewer crowds, and ample opportunities to witness the island’s diverse wildlife.
#2 Hamilton Island, Queensland
Hamilton Island is known as the ‘jewel’ of the Whitsunday Islands group in Queensland. It’s the largest inhabited island in the Whitsundays and is situated in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, making it a dream come true for those seeking natural beauty combined with a touch of luxury.
This island has breathtaking views of lush greenery and pristine beaches, with powdery sand and turquoise waters. There’s also an abundance of water-sports and outdoor activities you can do, from snorkelling among vibrant coral reefs to sailing into the sunset, so you’ll never have a dull moment here.
Hamilton Island seriously has it all – from world-class dining experiences and luxurious accommodations to awesome encounters with local wildlife.
Whether you’re an adventure seeker, a beach lover, or a romantic at heart, this incredible island will leave you longing to come back for more.
Where to Stay: Experience unparalleled luxury at Qualia, an exclusive resort tucked away in lush tropical gardens, offering stunning views of the Great Barrier Reef. Or, Reef View Hotel provides comfortable accommodation with easy access to Catseye Beach and various island activities for families or those seeking a vibrant atmosphere.
Best Time to Visit: Hamilton Island is a year-round destination, but the ideal time to visit is during the Australian winter months (June to August). The weather is mild, and you can avoid the humidity of the summer months. Additionally, this is the perfect time for whale watching as humpback whales migrate along the coast.
#3 Lord Howe Island, New South Wales
Lord Howe Island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site situated in the Tasman Sea between Australia and New Zealand. It’s a place that’s brimming with unparalleled beauty and a wealth of outdoor activities.
Kayaking and paddle-boarding on its lagoon offer a peaceful experience, while fishing and bird watching give a closer encounter with the island’s diverse fauna.
Other amazing outdoor activities include hiking the island trails through lush forests to reach panoramic viewpoints and guided tours to admire endemic plant species and the world’s rarest insect, the Lord Howe Island stick insect!
For anyone just wanting to relax, this untouched oasis provides an incredible escape with its pristine sandy beaches and vibrant coral reefs.
Where to Stay: Capella Lodge is the epitome of luxury on Lord Howe Island, nestled at the foot of Mount Gower. The lodge offers breathtaking views of the lagoon and provides a serene retreat amid nature.
Best Time to Visit: Lord Howe Island is a year-round destination, but the best time to visit is from September to May. During these months, the weather is mild and perfect for outdoor activities such as snorkelling, hiking, and bird-watching. It’s also outside the peak tourist season, ensuring a more peaceful and intimate experience.
#4 Rottnest Island, Western Australia
Located off the coast of Western Australia, Rottnest Island is a stunning haven offering a perfect blend of natural beauty, fascinating history, and abundant wildlife.
The island is perhaps best known for its friendly Quokkas, which are small marsupials that have become a sensation for their photogenic smiles!
Rottnest Island actually has 63 pristine beaches and 20 bays, which make it a water-sports paradise. Some of the most popular things to do here are wildlife tours, snorkelling, and scuba diving, to witness one of the most unique ecosystems in the world.
If you’re more of a land lover, you can hire bikes to explore the island’s extensive network of cycling trails, which offer stunning ocean views and access to secluded beaches and picturesque picnic spots.
While history buffs can enjoy visiting the island’s well-preserved historical sites, including the Wadjemup Lighthouse and the remnants of World War II defences.
Where to Stay: The island offers wonderful accommodations, including holiday houses, glamping tents, and beachside cabins. Discovery Rottnest Island provides comfortable eco-tents and cabins with easy access to Pinky Beach and stunning ocean views.
Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit Rottnest Island is during the Australian spring (September to November) and autumn (March to May) when the weather is mild and the island is less crowded. It’s also a great time for snorkelling and spotting the famous quokkas without the summer heat.
#5 Fraser Island, Queensland
World Heritage-listed Fraser Island is situated off Australia’s eastern Queensland coast and presents an incredible fusion of extraordinary landscapes and diverse wildlife.
The Island stretches over 123 kilometres in length and 22 kilometres at its widest point. With an area of 184 000 hectares it’s the largest sand island in the world.
On Fraser Island, the primary swimming spots are its stunning freshwater lakes, most notably Lake McKenzie with its crystal-clear waters and white sands, and Lake Wabby that’s nestled against a towering sand dune. You can also swim at the sparkling Champagne Pools, which are natural rock formations filled with ocean water during high tide.
Fraser island is the only place in the world where tall rainforests grow on sand dunes. This presents unique and picturesque hiking opportunities, with trails meandering among towering trees, unique ferns, and other flora. Wildlife encounters are also plentiful, with the island being home to dingoes, birds, reptiles, and a variety of marine creatures.
Where to Stay: Fraser Island offers various camping grounds and cabin accommodations. For a unique and eco-friendly escape, consider staying at the Kingfisher Bay Resort, which is nestled within the Great Sandy National Park.
Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit Fraser Island is from April to October, when the weather is cooler, and there is minimal rainfall. During these months, you can comfortably explore the island’s vast sand dunes, freshwater lakes, and pristine beaches.
#6 Norfolk Island, New South Wales
Norfolk Island, a small and remote slice of paradise located in the Pacific Ocean between Australia, New Zealand, and New Caledonia, offers a captivating blend of rugged terrain, rich history, and a tranquil lifestyle.
Visitors are drawn to the island’s impressive landscape, featuring towering Norfolk Pines, jagged cliffs, and serene sandy beaches, making it an idyllic setting for nature lovers.
This subtropical island is home to unique flora and fauna, which can be explored on guided tours. Activities such as bushwalking, birdwatching, fishing, and snorkelling in the crystal-clear waters surrounding the island also allow you to fully engage with this natural wonderland.
The island’s history is equally compelling, with historical sites including the haunting ruins of the former penal colony at Kingston, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the Norfolk Island Museum providing fascinating insights into the island’s past.
Throw in a laid-back atmosphere, friendly locals, and delightful local cuisine, and you have a seriously unique and unforgettable travel experience!
Where to Stay: For a truly immersive stay, consider booking the Governor’s Lodge Resort Hotel, which is nestled amidst beautifully landscaped gardens. This charming accommodation provides easy access to Emily Bay, a picturesque beach with crystal-clear waters. If you prefer self-contained options, consider the modern and spacious apartments at Broad Leaf Villas, offering a peaceful setting just a short drive from the main town.
Best Time to Visit: The best time of year to visit Norfolk Island is during the Australian autumn (March to May) and spring (September to November). The weather during these seasons is mild and pleasant, making it perfect for exploring the island’s historic sites and scenic coastal trails. In November, you can also enjoy the annual Norfolk Island Food Festival.
#7 Magnetic Island, Queensland
Just off the coast of Townsville in tropical North Queensland, Australia, Magnetic Island beckons visitors with its unique combination of stunning natural beauty, abundant wildlife, and relaxed beach lifestyle.
Did you know that Magnetic Island is famous for its flourishing population of wild koalas? It is actually one of the best places in Australia for spotting these creatures in their natural habitat!
With over half the island covered by national park, Magnetic Island offers ample opportunities for hiking, with trails through dense forests that lead to amazing viewpoints over secluded bays. Other popular activities include horse riding, fishing, and sea kayaking.
The island’s 23 pristine beaches are a paradise for sunbathers, swimmers, and water sports enthusiasts, with excellent conditions for snorkelling and scuba diving among the nearby coral reefs.
Magnetic Island’s relaxed atmosphere and friendly locals also add to the charm of this tropical paradise, helping to ensure an unforgettable stay.
Where to Stay: Enjoy beachfront accommodation at Peppers Blue on Blue Resort, surrounded by the sparkling waters of the Coral Sea. Relax on your private balcony or explore the island’s walking trails and marine life at the nearby Nelly Bay.
Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit Magnetic Island is during the Australian winter months (June to August), when the weather is cooler and humidity is lower. This time of year is perfect for outdoor activities, without the intense summer heat.
#8 Bruny Island, Tasmania
Located off the southeastern coast of Tasmania, Bruny Island is a place of stunning natural beauty and culinary delights.
The island is bisected by a narrow isthmus called The Neck, which offers sweeping views of the pristine coastline and is a crucial habitat for local wildlife like little penguins and short-tailed shearwaters. Adventure seekers can enjoy surfing, swimming, diving, and fishing here.
Outdoor enthusiasts will love exploring the South Bruny National Park, which features lush rainforests, towering cliffs, and secluded beaches. The park’s walking trails lead to impressive sights like the Cape Bruny Lighthouse, which is the second oldest in Australia.
However, it’s not just the natural splendour that attracts visitors to Bruny Island. The region is renowned for its gourmet food and drink scene, with local specialties including fresh oysters, artisan cheese, honey, and locally brewed cider, beer, and whisky.
With its stunning landscapes, rich wildlife, and mouth-watering local produce, Bruny Island promises a unique and diverse travel experience.
Where to Stay: Experience the serenity of Bruny Island by staying at the Adventure Bay Retreat, offering private cottages amidst a natural setting. Enjoy stunning ocean and forest views, and take a short walk to the beautiful Adventure Bay Beach.
Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit Bruny Island is during the Australian summer months (December to February), when the weather is pleasantly warm and the days are longer, allowing you to explore more of the island’s natural wonders. However, if you prefer fewer crowds, consider visiting in the shoulder seasons of spring (September to November) and autumn (March to May).
#9 Whitsunday Island, Queensland
Situated in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, off the coast of Queensland, Whitsunday Island is a tropical paradise that offers an unforgettable holiday experience.
This island is home to the world-renowned Whitehaven Beach, globally admired for its stunning beauty, radiant silica sands, and swirling turquoise, blue, and green waters, which create mesmerising patterns and seriously Instagram worthy moments!
Whitsunday Island also provides a gateway for snorkelling and diving excursions in the surrounding reefs that are teeming with a diverse array of vibrant corals and marine life.
Hiking the diverse terrains of the island reveal incredibly scenic views, particularly the trail to Hill Inlet, where you can witness the awe-inspiring panorama of shifting tides over the sand and water.
With its breathtaking natural beauty, diverse wildlife, and range of outdoor activities, Whitsunday Island tops the list of Australian island holiday destinations.
Where to Stay: For an exclusive and luxurious stay, book a private villa at the InterContinental Hayman Island Resort. Surrounded by the iconic Whitsunday Islands, this resort offers a paradise-like escape with access to the famous Whitehaven Beach. While camping under the starlit sky offers a unique experience for adventure seekers.
Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit Whitsunday Island is during the Australian winter months (June to August) when the weather is dry and mild. You can enjoy clear skies and less chance of rainfall, making it ideal for snorkelling, sailing, and exploring the spectacular marine life of the Great Barrier Reef.
#10 Phillip Island, Victoria
Phillip Island is located just off the southern coast of Victoria and offers a delightful mix of natural beauty, wildlife encounters, and engaging attractions.
The island is perhaps most famous for the Phillip Island Penguin Parade, which is an awesome event where adorable little penguins return to their nests at sunset. Phillip island is a true haven for wildlife lovers, as you can also spot koalas in their natural habitat at the Koala Conservation Reserve and watch seals play at the Nobbies’ Seal Rocks.
Other popular things to do on Phillip Island include checking out the island’s motor racing history at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, exploring its charming coastal villages, and hiking its scenic walking trails.
Where to Stay: Phillip Island offers a variety of accommodation options to suit different tastes and budgets, ranging from luxury resorts and boutique bed & breakfasts to family-friendly holiday parks and self-contained cottages. The island’s main town, Cowes, is a popular place to stay, offering a wide range of accommodation and dining options, plus easy access to the island’s main attractions. In Cowes, Ramada Resort by Wyndham Phillip Island provides a comfortable and convenient base for exploring all the island has to offer.
Best Time to Visit: For warmer weather and beach activities, summer (December to February) is ideal. However, the Penguin Parade is a year-round event, with the penguins coming ashore every evening. It’s worth noting that during winter (June to August), the island can be less crowded, and you can often see larger groups of penguins coming ashore.
#11 Tiwi Islands, Northern Territory
Tiwi Islands, comprised of Bathurst and Melville islands, are located off the coast of Northern Territory, and offer a unique experience steeped in Indigenous culture.
The islands are recognised for their vibrant Aboriginal art scene, including world-famous fabric prints, pottery, and wooden sculptures.
While the Aboriginal communities are renowned for their warm welcome, offering visitors the chance to experience traditional ceremonies, hunting and fishing practices, and even a unique brand of Aussie rules football.
The lush landscapes, untouched beaches, and abundant birdlife found on the Tiwi Islands, offer an extraordinary chance to immerse oneself in rich Aboriginal culture within a beautiful natural setting.
Where to Stay: There are a handful of accommodations on the Tiwi Islands. Munupi Wilderness Lodge on Melville Island, for instance, offers comfortable rooms with breathtaking sea views. There’s also the option of staying in Darwin and taking a day trip to the islands, as commercial accommodation is somewhat limited.
Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit the Tiwi Islands is during the dry season, from May to October, when the weather is cooler and less humid. This period also coincides with the Tiwi Islands Football Grand Final and Art Sale, which is a significant cultural event attracting visitors from around the world. Do note that all visitors to the Tiwi Islands need a permit from the Tiwi Land Council, and many choose to visit as part of an organised tour.
#12 Moreton Island, Queensland
The Australian island of Moreton offers a diverse range of natural attractions and activities. Located off the coast of southeastern Queensland, it is the third-largest sand island in the world.
This gorgeous island is renowned for its natural beauty, boasting pristine beaches with crystal-clear waters, impressive sand dunes, freshwater lakes, and lush forests that provide the perfect setting for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.
One of the island’s most famous attractions is the Tangalooma Wrecks, a collection of sunken ships close to the shore. It’s a popular spot for snorkelling and diving, as the wrecks have become a haven for marine life, including colourful corals, wild dolphins, turtles and whales.
Where to Stay: Accommodation options on Moreton Island are relatively limited due to its protected status as a national park and conservation area. The most popular place to stay is Tangalooma Island Resort, which offers a range of accommodation styles, including beachfront villas, hotel rooms, and glamping tents.
Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit Moreton Island is during the Australian summer, which falls between December and February. During this time, you can enjoy warm weather, perfect for beach activities and snorkelling. However, keep in mind that this period is also the peak tourist season, so it’s advisable to book your accommodation well in advance. Alternatively, visiting during the shoulder seasons of spring (September to November) or autumn (March to May) can also be a great option. The weather is still pleasant, and there are fewer crowds compared to the summer months.
#13 Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef
Lizard Island is one of the most exclusive and luxurious Australian islands, sitting right on the doorstep of the Great Barrier Reef, with unparalleled access to one of the world’s most magnificent underwater wonders.
Snorkelling and diving enthusiasts will love the vibrant coral reefs, colourful marine life, and the opportunity to encounter a diverse range of sea creatures here, including tropical fish, turtles, rays, and even reef sharks.
Or for those that prefer to relax on their holidays, the island boasts an impressive 24 white-sand beaches, each offering its own unique charm and seclusion. Visitors can explore these stunning beaches, swim in the clear turquoise waters, and relax under the warm tropical sun.
The island is also home to the Lizard Island Research Station, a world-renowned facility for marine and ecological research. Visitors can learn about the ongoing scientific work and all of the discoveries taking place on this extraordinary island.
Where to Stay: The only accommodation on Lizard Island is the Lizard Island Resort, which offers a range of luxurious accommodations, including suites and villas, each with stunning views of the ocean. The resort provides all-inclusive packages that cover meals, beverages, and various activities, making it a convenient and exclusive getaway.
Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit Lizard Island is during the dry season, which runs from April to November. The weather is generally mild and pleasant, with lower chances of rain. During this period, visibility for snorkelling and diving is at its best, allowing you to fully appreciate the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef. Keep in mind that Lizard Island is a popular destination, and availability at the resort can be limited, especially during peak seasons. It is advisable to plan and book your trip well in advance to secure your preferred travel dates.
#14 Pumpkin Island, Great Barrier Reef
Pumpkin Island is a stunning and environmentally conscious island nestled in the Southern Great Barrier Reef’s Keppel Group of islands. This tiny, virtually unheard-of island is one of Australia’s best-kept secrets, offering a unique and memorable experience for nature lovers.
If being a castaway on a deserted tropical island is your dream, Pumpkin Island is for you! There are no restaurants or shops here just pristine natural surroundings that offer privacy and seclusion.
Pumpkin Island has clear turquoise waters and boasts beautiful sandy beaches, making it an ideal spot for swimming, snorkelling, and simply relaxing by the sea. Given the location of the island, there are plenty of opportunities for out-of-this-world reef exploration and marine encounters.
The island’s natural setting supports a rich diversity of wildlife and you are very likely to encounter various bird species, sea turtles, and other native animals here.
Where to Stay: Pumpkin Island Eco Retreat offers accommodation options that blend harmoniously with the island’s natural surroundings. Guests can choose from beachfront bungalows, safari tents, and even a luxurious three-bedroom house, all designed to provide comfort while minimising the environmental impact. The island is entirely off-grid, relying on solar power and rainwater collection systems, giving visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves in a pristine and eco-conscious environment.
Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit Pumpkin Island is during the Australian summer, which typically falls between December and February. During this time, you can expect warm temperatures and plenty of sunshine, ideal for enjoying the beach and water-based activities.
#15 Cocos Keeling Islands, Australian territory
The Cocos Islands are a group of 27 coral islands located in the Indian Ocean midway between Australia and Sri Lanka. While geographically closer to Asia, the islands are politically and administratively part of Australia.
These islands are famous for their breathtakingly beautiful beaches, crystal-clear lagoons, and vibrant coral reefs teeming with marine life. Snorkelers and divers can explore the colourful underwater world, encountering tropical fish, turtles, rays, and even the occasional reef shark. The diverse marine ecosystem here is truly a highlight of any visit.
With only two inhabited islands and a small population, this is an ideal place to unwind, escape the crowds, and immerse yourself in the beauty of nature. Undoubtedly, the Cocos Islands offer a sense of peace and seclusion that is rare to find in most tourist destinations.
Apart from beachcombing and water activities, the islands offer opportunities for fishing, birdwatching, exploring coconut plantations, and discovering the local culture and history.
Where to Stay: There are a few accommodation options on the Cocos Keeling Islands, ranging from guesthouses and self-contained apartments to holiday homes and resorts. One of the best places to stay is The Breakers Cocos, which provides fully self-contained units on the West Island, surrounded by beautiful lush greenery and right across from the beach.
Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit the Cocos Keeling Islands is during the dry season, which runs from April to October. During this period, the weather is generally pleasant, with milder temperatures and lower humidity. The calm waters and clear visibility make it ideal for snorkelling and diving. While the wet season from November to March brings warmer temperatures and occasional tropical showers, it also offers the advantage of lush vegetation and less crowded beaches. Keep in mind that some water activities may be limited during the wet season due to rougher seas.
#16 Christmas Island, Australian territory
Christmas Island is a truly remarkable destination in the Indian Ocean, approximately 2,600 kilometers northwest of Perth. This Australian territory is renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty, rich biodiversity, and unique wildlife phenomena.
The Island is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts, with one of the most extraordinary wildlife events in the world being the annual red crab migration on Christmas Island. During the wet season, usually around October or November, millions of red crabs make their way from the tropical rainforest to the sea to breed, covering the island in a vibrant blanket of red!
In addition to the red crabs, the island is home to various endemic species, including the Christmas Island frigatebird, the Christmas Island goshawk, and the Christmas Island flying fox.
Beyond wildlife experiences, Christmas Island offers opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking and cave exploration. The Dales area is particularly famous for its stunning limestone caves and emerald-coloured freshwater pools.
As Christmas Island remains relatively untouched by mass tourism, it’s an ideal destination for those seeking tranquility and a peaceful getaway. The island’s remote location provides a sense of isolation and escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Where to Stay: Christmas Island offers a range of wonderful accommodation options to suit different preferences and budgets. The Sunset Villas is known for its stunning views of the ocean and is close to everything you need, including the shops and local cafes.
Best Time to Visit: If you want to witness the iconic red crab migration, plan your visit during the wet season, which typically starts in October or November. For milder weather and more comfortable conditions for outdoor activities, consider visiting Christmas Island during the dry season, which occurs between April and October. During this time, the weather is generally drier, with less rainfall and lower humidity. It’s essential to note that some attractions and activities, such as snorkelling and diving, are more accessible during the dry season when the seas are calmer.
#17 Bremer island, Northern Territory
Bremer Island, also known as Dhambaliya in the local Yolŋu language, is a hidden gem located off the northeastern coast of Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory, Australia.
This remote and culturally rich island offers a truly unique and unforgettable experience for travellers seeking an authentic Aboriginal cultural immersion and an opportunity to connect with nature.
Bremer Island is actually owned and managed by the Yolŋu people, who have lived on the island for thousands of years. Visitors have the opportunity to engage in authentic cultural experiences, learn about traditional customs, and witness the artistry of local artisans.
As a remote destination, Bremer Island offers a tranquil and secluded atmosphere, allowing visitors to disconnect from the outside world and immerse themselves in the island’s natural beauty.
The island’s beaches are particularly stunning, with soft white sand and clear turquoise waters. Nature lovers will appreciate the abundant wildlife, including sea turtles, dolphins, and various bird species that inhabit the island and its surrounding waters. Bremer Island is also an excellent destination for fishing enthusiasts. Visitors can enjoy fishing trips in the surrounding waters and participate in water activities such as snorkelling and kayaking.
Where to Stay: Bremer Island is primarily reserved for Indigenous cultural immersion and eco-tourism, as such, luxury hotels or large-scale resorts are not found on the island. The primary accommodation option on Bremer Island is the eco-friendly Banubanu Beach Retreat, which offers comfortable safari-style cabin. Keep in mind that availability may be limited, so it’s advisable to book in advance and check with the Banubanu Beach Retreat for specific details and availability.
Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit Bremer Island is during the dry season, which typically runs from May to October. During this period, the weather is milder, with lower humidity and less rainfall, providing ideal conditions for exploring the island. The wet season, from November to April, can bring heavy rainfall and tropical storms, which may limit some activities and access to the island. It’s advisable to plan your visit during the dry season to ensure a more enjoyable and accessible experience.
It’s important to note that access to Bremer Island is typically by chartered flight or boat, and arrangements should be made in advance with the local tour operators or tour companies that offer guided cultural experiences on the island.
#18 Great Keppel Island, Queensland
Great Keppel Island is a spectacular and unspoiled island located off the coast of Queensland. Known for its beautiful beaches, crystal-clear waters, and diverse marine life, the island offers a tropical escape for travellers seeking a laid-back and nature-filled vacation.
The Island is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Australia, with soft white-sand and turquoise waters. Its stunning coral reefs offer excellent snorkelling opportunities, allowing visitors to explore the vibrant marine life and coral formations just off the shore. This is a totally unspoiled place where you’ll likely encounter turtles, rays, colourful fish, and, if you’re lucky, even dolphins and whales during their migration season (June to October).
Great Keppel Island is covered with natural bushland and hiking trails that lead to scenic lookouts, providing breathtaking views of the coastline and the surrounding ocean. Nature lovers will appreciate the island’s diverse flora and fauna.
As the Island is relatively untouched by major tourism, it offers a serene and tranquil environment, making it an excellent place to unwind, escape the crowds, and enjoy the simple pleasures of island life.
Where to Stay: There are several accommodation options on Great Keppel Island, ranging from budget-friendly camping sites to comfortable beachside cabins and eco-resorts. One of the best places to stay on Great Keppel Island is Great Keppel Island Hideaway, which offers beachfront cabins and glamping tents. It’s located right on the beach, providing you with easy access to the crystal-clear waters and stunning coastline.
Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit Great Keppel Island is during the Australian summer, which runs from December to February. During this time, the weather is warm and perfect for beach activities and water sports. The water visibility for snorkelling and diving is also at its best during the summer months. But, if you prefer milder temperatures and fewer crowds, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons of spring (September to November) or autumn (March to May). The weather is still pleasant, and you can enjoy the island’s beauty without the peak tourist influx.
#19 Lady Elliot Island, Great Barrier Reef
Lady Elliot Island is an enchanting and eco-friendly island located on the southern tip of Australia’s iconic Great Barrier Reef. It’s renowned for its pristine coral reefs, diverse marine life, and commitment to conservation efforts.
Visiting Lady Elliot Island offers a unique and unforgettable experience for travellers seeking a close encounter with the wonders of the reef. The island’s surrounding waters are teeming with vibrant coral formations and a rich array of marine life. Snorkelers can easily explore the reefs straight from the beach, while divers can embark on unforgettable underwater adventures to witness sea turtles, rays, sharks, and a myriad of tropical fish species.
Lady Elliot Island is dedicated to preserving the natural environment and wildlife. It is a designated ‘Green Zone,’ which means fishing is prohibited to protect marine life and promote reef restoration. The island’s eco-friendly practices and educational initiatives make it a prime destination for responsible travellers.
Additionally, the island is a sanctuary for various bird species, including migratory and nesting seabirds such as the noddy terns and red-tailed tropicbirds. Guests can also witness the captivating sight of green and loggerhead turtles nesting and hatching during the nesting season (November to March).
For those who prefer to stay dry while exploring the reef, glass-bottom boat tours and seabed walking experiences allow visitors to marvel at the underwater world without getting wet!
Lady Elliot Island offers a totally serene and tranquil environment, as the number of daily visitors is limited. The absence of large resorts and hotels adds to the sense of seclusion, providing a genuine escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
Where to Stay: Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort offers a range of eco-friendly accommodations, including reef units, eco-cabins, and glamping tents. Guests can enjoy easy access to snorkelling, diving, and exploring the stunning coral reefs surrounding the island. Staying on the island is highly recommended as it allows visitors to fully immerse themselves in the reef experience and enjoy the stunning sunsets and sunrises in this pristine environment.
Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit Lady Elliot Island is during the Australian summer, which runs from November to April. This period offers warmer temperatures and clearer waters, providing excellent conditions for snorkelling, diving, and turtle nesting observations.
#20 Lady Musgrave Island, Great Barrier Reef
Lady Musgrave Island is an awe-inspiring and secluded destination located on the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef. As a part of the Capricorn and Bunker Group of islands, it offers a pristine and untouched marine environment, making it a paradise for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.
The waters surrounding Lady Musgrave Island are a diver’s dream. The island’s fringing reef is teeming with diverse marine life, including colourful corals, tropical fish, rays, turtles, and even the occasional reef shark. Snorkelers and divers can explore the vibrant underwater world and witness the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef up close.
For those who prefer not to get wet, glass-bottom boat tours are also available here, offering an excellent opportunity to view the underwater world without having to snorkel or dive.
Lady Musgrave Island is actually a national park, providing a protected habitat for a variety of seabirds, including terns, noddies, and bridled terns. Birdwatching enthusiasts will find plenty of opportunities to observe and photograph these fascinating species in their natural environment here.
Due to its remote location and the need to access the island by boat, Lady Musgrave Island is less crowded than some other popular reef destinations. This seclusion allows for a more intimate and exclusive experience with the natural surroundings.
Where to Stay: As Lady Musgrave Island is a protected national park, there are no hotels available on the island itself. However, visitors have the unique opportunity to camp on the Island and experience the tranquility of the reef at night. Camping permits are required, and facilities are basic, but this adds to the sense of adventure and immersion in nature! Alternatively, visitors can stay in nearby coastal towns or on other islands in the region such as Bundaberg, which offers hotels, motels, and holiday rentals. There are also tour operators in Bundaberg that organise trips to Lady Musgrave Island.
Best Time to Visit: A visit to Lady Musgrave Island can be enjoyed year round, with each season providing a totally difference experience. During summer time, the weather is warmer, and the sea conditions are typically calmer, providing the best conditions for snorkelling and diving. However, it’s essential to keep in mind that cyclone season also occurs during the Australian summer, particularly from December to April. Visitors should monitor weather forecasts and potential travel disruptions during this period.
Whether you seek adventure, relaxation, or wildlife encounters, Australia’s island getaways have something to offer everyone. From Fraser Island and the Whitsundays, to lesser known islands like Great Keppel and Pumpkin, each island paradise has its own unique beauty. Now that you know the perfect places to have an Australian island holiday, pack your bags and prepare for an enchanting island escape in the land down under!
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