Australia has over 8,000 islands full of diverse ecosystems, natural beauty and wildlife you will hardly see anywhere else. You can go on a day trip to any of these islands from one of the big cities and take a break in gorgeous nature. If you want to experience these wonders, we’ve narrowed down the best and most scenic islands in Australia you have to see.
Hang out with quokkas on Rottnest Island
Not so far from Perth, Rottnest Island is one of the most popular destinations in Australia thanks to charming little marsupials — the quokkas. This island is a perfect getaway to be active since cars are not allowed and you can only move around on foot or by bicycle.
You will find 63 beaches on the Rottnest, with great spots for scuba diving and discovering marine life. Island Explorer bus is available for those who are not too keen on exploring the island by themselves. Also, if you come here with your kids, Just 4 Fun Aqua Park is a great family-friendly spot that will make sure everyone is having a good time.
Meet the cultural heritage of the Tiwi Islands
Some 62 miles away from Darwin, the Tiwi Islands greet the visitors with their cultural heritage. The Aboriginal people call this island home and you can learn more about their way of life on available guided tours. After the smoking ceremony to welcome you to their territory, you can observe Tiwi women weaving baskets and burial ceremony called the Pukumani.
Since fishing is the main activity here, you can join in and try your hand at catching some of the 40 fish species living here. If you are here from October to March, you will be here during the big festivities dedicated to Australian football. Tiwi Islands has some of the most devoted fans to this sport and everyone gathers in coffee shops and restaurants to watch a match.
Say ‘Hi’ to penguins on the Phillip Island
Phillip Island is the legendary wildlife reserve, some hour and a half away from Melbourne. Koala Conservation Centre is a great place to start meeting the animal life of this island. Just go on a walk through the bushland and keep your eyes open for koalas that live here. Another place to stop by the Seal Rock, where the largest population of Australian fur seals spends their days.
Also, when on Phillip Island, don’t miss its main attraction — the penguins. Everyone gathers around to see the Phillip Island Penguin Parade when these little penguins come out of the sea and waddle to their habitats in the dunes.
Dive by the volcano of Lord Howe Island
Lord Howe Island is not far from Sydney, but you can’t go there as you please. Since 300 people live here, the island allows only 400 visitors at the same time. This is a wonderful place to hike and explore biodiverse Australian nature full of mountainous terrain.
Endemic marine species live near the Ball’s Pyramid — a giant remnant of an old volcano rising from the Pacific Ocean. If you are more into hiking, join a tour to climb Mount Gower and have a breathtaking look of the whole area. Those who don’t want to hike or dive can go on a cruise on one of the glass-floored boats and discover Lord Howe Island that way.
Walk with a platypus on Kangaroo Island
Kangaroo Island is just an aircraft charter flight away from Adelaide in South Australia. The main point to explore is the Flinders Chase National Park where you will find the Remarkable Rocks. These large rocks stand out against the surroundings because of the lively orange color coming from lichen covering their surface.
If you want to meet Australia’s platypus population, you can do that on your Platypus Waterholes Walk, which will take you around two hours to finish. Another popular sighting here is the sea lion colony, living in the Seal Bay Conservation Park. Kangaroo Island also has great restaurants, like Dudley Wines and Penny’s Restaurant, where you can take a break from your explorations and enjoy delicious cuisine.
Go glamping on North Stradbroke Island
North Stradbroke Island or Straddie, how the locals call it, is home to wild kangaroos and pearly beaches near Brisbane. This is also a popular spot to watch humpback whales from the Point Lookout from May to October. The island has two lakes you can hike to — Brown Lake and Blue Lake, with special significance to indigenous Quandamooka people.
This is truly a place to come and relax from the everyday city rush. Flinders Beach and Cylinder Beach are perfect for sunbathing and some water sports. If you want to stay on the North Stradbroke Island and enjoy its serene nature longer than a day, you can stay at one of the glamping sites.
Discover the beautiful nature of the Whitsundays Islands
Whitsundays Islands is a popular destination considering it’s located in the Great Barrier Reef Area near Cairns. It consists of 74 smaller islands, like Hamilton Island — a luxurious resort, and Daydream Island with its educational Living Reef to meet over 100 marine species.
The largest island here is Whitsundays Island with the famous Whitehaven Beach with sand so pure people say you can use it to brush your teeth. Another landmark of these islands is the Heart Reef, you can see on a helicopter ride over the Great Barrier Reef. This is also one of the favorite sites for proposals and many couples got engaged flying over the heart-shaped island.
All in all
Regardless of which of these scenic islands in Australia you choose to visit, you will be in for a treat. The continent has stunning flora and fauna that are especially present in remote reaches like its islands. For those looking to de-stress, these may be just the right destinations to relax and recharge the batteries.