Australia is fringed by more than 8,000 islands, each of them unique and filled with unbelievable wildlife! That’s a whole lot of beautiful islands to choose from, so our Australia specialists have curated this list of the best ones to explore on your next trip.
Whether you’re looking to explore or completely relax, we are sure that one of these great islands will fit your fancy. Here are our 7 favorite islands of Australia:
Surround yourself with the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef on Hamilton Island. This tropical paradise features sandy white beaches and stunning ocean views around every turn. There are many great hotels to choose from on Hamilton Island, from family-friendly hotels to luxurious adults-only resorts like qualia. In addition to exploring the Great Barrier Reef, you can drive around the island on a golf buggy (there are no cars), relax on the beach, or take a quick hike up to One Tree Hill.
Aerial view of Hamilton Island. Image: Tourism Whitsundays
Fraser Island is perfect for explorers who want to get off the grid. Flying in from the Queensland capital of Brisbane, your small plane lands right on the beach and your adventure begins! Fraser Island offers a plethora of activities to choose from, like hiking the dunes, exploring the shipwreck of Maheno, watching the migration of humpback whales, or exploring the rainforest filled with unique wildlife. You can visit Fraser Island on a day trip or stay a little longer at the Kingfisher Bay Resort.
The world renowned sandy beaches of Fraser Island. Image: Tourism Queensland
The Great Barrier Reef has hundreds of gorgeous islands and coral atolls, some of which are home to luxury resorts. Lizard Island is well known for its clear waters and luscious greenery adorning the sandy beaches. The resort offers an exceptional “barefoot luxury” experience amidst some of the most stunning scenery in Australia. Lounge on private beaches, take a helicopter excursion over the Great Barrier Reef, spend a day island hopping, or simply soak up the views from a private plunge pool on your outdoor terrace.
The spectacular setting of Lizard Island. Image: Lizard Island Resort
Kangaroo Island is an ecological haven for native Australian wildlife. Kangaroos, koalas, penguins, echidnas, and bird life all call this island home. Here, you can walk among a colony of endangered sea lions or spot a sleepy koala in the trees. Don’t forget to take in the breathtaking scenery of the island with its rugged cliffs, sheltered bays, native bush lands, and rolling farmland. From wildlife adventures and coastal activities, to food and wine and historical guided walks, Kangaroo Island has something for everyone!
Native Kangaroos hopping around on Kangaroo Island. Image: Tourism South Australia
Located in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, Hayman Island is the most northerly of the Whitsunday Islands. The Whitsundays have long been internationally recognized for some of the world’s most beautiful stretches of tropical coastline. Hayman Island is a private island resort that’s perfect for family travel, with luxurious and elegant of accommodations including expansive pools, lush gardens, and pristine white sand beaches. If you are wanting a more adventure-packed vacation, Hayman also offers activities like snorkeling, diving, excursions by seaplane, nature hikes, and bush walks.
The beautiful Hayman Island by InterContinental resort
Visiting Tasmania is a one-of-a-kind experience full of history, natural beauty, and delicious wine. Tasmania is still a wild place; more than a fifth of the island is wilderness and is designated as a World Heritage site, so it’s the perfect place for a wildlife tour!
Tasmania was settled by a rough assortment of convicts, miners, and whalers who’ve left traces of their history at scenic sites around the island. While visiting Tassie, you can explore the forests, cliffs, mountains, and white sand bays. If you head east, you’ll find Freycinet National Park and Wineglass Bay, where you can kayak, swim, or scuba dive right off the sandy shores. You’ll also find a plethora of hiking and nature cruises.
A relaxing cruise on Wineglass Bay. Image: Tourism Tasmania
Located off the western coast near Perth, Rottnest Island makes a great day trip off the beaten tourist track! Enjoy bicycling around the quaint towns or snorkeling in the beautiful coral gardens just offshore. And of course, you can’t leave Rottnest Island without getting a quokka selfie!
An adorable quokka on Rottnest Island. Image: Tourism Western Australia