Most people outside Australia only think that the country is composed of one big island. But actually, there are 8,000 tiny islands that are dotted around the country’s coastline. Although small in size, you’ll be surprised by what these islands have to offer.
Why Vacation on These Islands?
As for Aussies, going on cheap Asian holidays has been common for years. However, if you opt to visit these islands instead, you’ll no longer have to worry about a lot of things such as your passport, language differences, currency exchange rates, food poisoning, long airplane travels, and a lot more.
Foreigners, on the other hand, can get the chance to explore more of the country’s hidden gems that are not found in Sydney, Melbourne, and other main cities that vacationers typically visit.
If you go on an Australian island holiday, then you’re also contributing to the country’s tourism industry since these islands highly depend on what they earn from tourists.
A huge contributing factor in every vacation is the accommodation. You can visit a nice island with picturesque views but have to suffer sleeping in a poorly-maintained hotel or bed space. The good news is that these islands are home to some of the country’s top-rated accommodations that have world-class services and amenities for families and couples.
Australia’s Top 7 Island Destinations
Each island has tons of activities for you to enjoy. There’s also a good mix of budget and luxury accommodations that will suit your budget. From 8,000 islands, here are the top 7 places that you need to visit soon.
1. Bruny Island, Tas
Looking for an easy and hassle-free vacation? From Hobart, take a 35-minute drive to reach the ferry. From there, you only have to spend 15-minutes to reach Bruny Island. Looking for accommodation near Hobart? Find nearby options by viewing our Hobart Serviced Apartments
This lovely place is divided into two, the north and south island. Both of which are connected by The Neck, which is a thin strip of land. If you’re into farms and sandy beaches, then visit the north. If you’re interested in seeing a wild coastline and tall forests, then visit the south.
Most tourists only opt for a day trip at Bruny Island, but there are also a few accommodation options for those who want to stay longer such as villas, cottages, houses, retreat homes, and camps at Caravan Park.
Heritage and history tours and wildlife tours are great for families and couples. Check out the Bruny Island lighthouse, fly over the island, stroll in some of their many walk trails, or enjoy the local produce such as fresh oysters, cheeses, berries, whiskeys, and wines.
Spend the afternoon fishing and boating at the shelter channel side of Bruny Island. If you’re curious about Tasmania’s endangered birds, then you certainly have to go birdwatching as well.
2. Kangaroo Island, SA
To visit the 55 kilometers wide and 155 kilometers long Kangaroo Island, you can take a 30-minute plane ride or 45-minute boat ride from Adelaide airport. Looking for accommodation near Adelaide? Find nearby options bu viewing our Adelaide Serviced Apartments.
There are 4,600 residents on this island and the majority of them are farmers and fishermen. Thanks to these people, tourists can experience the best and the freshest marron, King George whiting, wines, and cheese.
Contrary to its name, it’s not just home to kangaroos. Here, you can find echidnas, koalas, sea lions, geese, penguins, goannas, and 40 different types of birds. Five wilderness protection areas, and 19 conservation and national parks are responsible for preserving the wildlife on this island. To see these animals, you have the option to take nocturnal or daytime guided or self-guided tours.
Visitors can enjoy a variety of accommodation options to choose from such as farm stays, backpackers, motels, holiday houses, resorts, lighthouse keeper’s cottages, and camping sites.
Walking and hiking enthusiasts will surely enjoy the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail which can be completed for approximately 8 hours. If you’re a beginner, then don’t get intimidated because they also have 30-minute trails that are great for strolling leisurely.
Adrenaline junkies can enjoy tobogganing, sandboarding, fat bike tours, and kayaking tours. Visitors interested in history need to check out the museums that explain maritime, settlement, and folk history. You can also read and learn about the seven shipwrecks by following the Shipwreck Trail.
3. Lord Howe Island, NSW
From Brisbane or Sydney, you can hop on a plane and travel for 2 hours to reach this breathtaking paradise. Looking for accommodation near Sydney? Find nearby options by viewing our Sydney Serviced Apartments.
When you arrive, you’ll be greeted with the extinct volcano, pristine waters, and scenic beaches. Lord Howe Island is listed by UNESCO as one of its World Heritage Sites.
If you’re into snorkeling, then you’re in for a treat. Lord Howe is home to turtles, stingrays, 500 different fish species, and 90 kinds of corals. If you visit the north-east side of the island, then you’ll be able to enjoy fish feeding and shallow swimming as well. Some of the fishes that you’ll be able to feed are the kingfish, spangled emperor, and mullet. Snorkelers can also check out the shipwreck of a boat called “Favorite”, which has been there since 1965. But if dipping in the water is not your thing, then you can also take a boat tour with a glass-bottom instead.
Mt. Gower is among the best-rated places for hiking and walking in Australia. For those who are planning to cover the entire 8-hour trek, then be prepared for a breathtaking 360-degree view of the mountain, a rugged terrain which is 14 kilometers long, and rope-assisted climbs.
If surfing or bodyboarding is your thing, then you can go to Blinky Beach located on the eastern side of the island to enjoy the excellent waves.
Got kids or are into birds? The island is the abode of 207 recorded bird species. Travelers that can visit between September to May can have the chance to witness the mid-air courting of Red-tailed Tropicbirds.
Lord Howe is a very popular tourist destination. The rental apartments, lodges, and guest-houses on the island can only accommodate a total of 400 best. That’s why it’s best to book your accommodation and flights at the same time. Another option is to buy an accommodation and flight package instead.
4. Hamilton Island, Qld
Hamilton, which is situated on the Great Barrier Reef, has got to be one of the most-loved islands in the country, famous for its unbelievable turquoise waters and world-class white beaches. To arrive at this paradise, you can fly from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane or Cairns to the Whitsundays commercial airport. You can also take a 1-hour ferry from Airlie Beach, which is 12 hours away from Brisbane. Looking for accommodation near Brisbane? Find nearby options by viewing our Brisbane Serviced Apartments.
Hamilton Island has plenty of accommodation choices for every budget. There are hotels, holiday homes, bungalows, and even world-class resorts. It’s a popular choice for a lot of couples going on a honeymoon. If you’re traveling with several family members or friends, then Hamilton is the perfect destination because of its many land and water activities.
Want to enjoy their pristine waters? You can go parasailing, swimming, diving, jet-skiing, wakeboarding, paddling, catamaraning, and even fishing. Interested in experiencing exclusive beaches on this island? Ride a seaplane or helicopter to get to these areas. While flying, make sure to check out the spectacular marine life and coral reef from above. You can also sail or cruise to the reefs as well for a better view.
Do you prefer land activities? At Hamilton Island, you can play tennis, bowling, golf, and mini-golf. If you’re up to more adventures, then you can also go go-kart racing, bushwalking, and off-road bike riding.
Hamilton Island also has plenty of fun and interesting things to do for kids. Take them to the wildlife park to see tons of animals such as kangaroos, koalas, crocodiles, among others. You can even sign them up for school holiday activities and kids’ clubs.
5. Cocos-Keeling Islands, WA
This Cocos Keeling is considered to be one of the most remote groups of islands in the country, being closer to Indonesia than Western Australia. From Perth, there are flights available twice a week. Looking for accommodation near Perth? Find nearby options by viewing our Perth Serviced Apartments.
Upon arriving at Cocos Island, you can take a ferry to reach the other islands. There’s a good range of accommodation on this island. You can stay in a villa, cottage, bungalow, unit, or even at a heritage-listed house where you can enjoy the stunning views of the lagoon.
This tropical paradise is home to beautiful beaches with shallow waters that are perfect for leisure swimming and snorkeling. With its crystal clear waters, you can easily spot sea urchins, basslets, rock cods, sea stars, butterflyfishes, parrotfishes, and angelfishes.
If you visit between October to February then you must try bonefish fly-fishing. Since the area is so remote and the fishes are so abundant, the island rewards everyone who is fishing from the beach or jetty with a fresh catch.
Looking for some more thrill? Cocos is also a famous diving spot for individuals who want to explore the breathtakingly vast marine life that not many people can see.
You can also take a motorized canoe tour to see and even swim with turtles. Golfing, kitesurfing, and surfing are other activities both locals and vacationers enjoy doing in Cocos Keeling.
6. Woody Island, WA
Near Esperance is every nature lover’s dream destination, the Woody Island. You only have to take a 40-minute ferry to arrive at this place from Esperance. Looking for accommodation near Esperance? Find nearby options by viewing our Esperance Serviced Apartments.
While traveling, make sure to keep an eye out for seals, dolphins, sea lions, and sea eagles. When you arrive, you may be greeted by a number of sunbathing skink and gecko species on granite outcrops, and even on mammals.
Planning to visit in spring? Feast your eyes at the breathtaking show of wildflowers.
At the main jetty, spend a lovely afternoon birdwatching and fishing for squid or herring. Have a nice swim off the platform or follow the snorkel trail at Shearwater Bay.
Accomodation here includes safari huts and prepared camps. These also have fully equipped kitchens so you can buy local produce and prepare them yourselves. You can bring your own tents as well if you want to save a bit of cash.
7. Tiwi Islands, NT
Tiwi Island is known as the “island of smiles” for a good reason. This heaven-on-earth destination is made up of 11 islands, wherein 2 are only inhabited. Getting here is easy. From Darwin, you can take a 30-minute plane ride or a 2 ferry ride to Bathurst Island. Since it’s only 80 km north of Darwin, it’s a great place if you want a quick day tour getaway but it’s perfect for overnight stays and week-long trips as well. Looking for accommodation near Darwin? Find nearby options by viewing our Darwin Serviced Apartments.
If you’re into fishing or eager to try it, then you’re definitely in for a treat. Due to the populous and rich marine life in Tiwi Islands, they’re popularly known for their outstanding fishing opportunities. Don’t forget to fish for fresh barramundi when you can. You can also go bird watching, crabbing, or crocodile spotting.
90% of the population in the Tiwi Islands are from Aboriginal descent which is why there are several culturally-rich spots that you have to visit such as the Cultural Museum and Arts Centre. You can visit the Mission Precinct to see their unique catholic church. Want to bring home souvenirs from your epic trip? The local artists produce glass sculptures, ceramics, iron-wood carvings, ochre paintings, and screen printings. All of which you can purchase as a reminder of your wonderful vacation at Tiwi Islands. But if you want to meet and mingle with locals to have a deeper understanding of their culture, then you need to seek a permit to leave the main township and visit Bathurst and Melville Islands.
The accommodations at Tiwi Islands are quite limited. Vacationers typically go for either outback style camps or fishing lodges. Another option is to book a catamaran tour for several nights to merge your sightseeing and accommodation. Avoid going to March since the place is typically congested because of the big AFL grand final.