Sydney / Destinations / Paradise Calling: Australia’s Dreamiest Island Getaways

Paradise Calling: Australia’s Dreamiest Island Getaways

Australia is one big, beautiful island – but did you know there are a whopping 8,222 islands within its borders? While many are uninhabited, the rest are little slices of paradise, with turquoise waters, sandy shores and lush landscapes that were made for exploring. There’s an idyllic island for every traveller, from the kind who like to relax and rev up the romance to those who seek high-octane thrill and adventure – Australia is your passport to the ultimate island getaway….

Bruny Island, TAS

A gem off the coast of Hobart, Bruny Island is as far south as you can go before hitting Antarctica. It brings a little of the two countries together, and the result is stunning. One day, you’ll see arctic wildlife like penguins and seal colonies; on the next, you’ll explore the rainforest and tick off some of the island’s many walking trails, spotting unique animal and plant species along the way. Bruny Island is also a foodie’s dream, and no visit is complete with indulging in its best exports: cheese, raspberries, black cherries, oysters and wine. Discovered by Abel Tasman in 1642, it’s rich in British and Aboriginal history – if you can, it’s well worth lingering a little longer.

Eat:

Bruny Island Premium Wines  or Get Shucked

Stay:

Sanctuary Bruny Island

Play:

Pennicott Wilderness Journey

Kangaroo Island, SA

A ferry ride from Adelaide, Kangaroo Island is famous for its wildlife. On any given day, you’ll spot koalas, sea lions, birds, dolphins, echidnas and – of course – kangaroos roaming around the pristine island terrain. Its landscapes are equally beautiful: there are caves, rocky cliffs and sand dunes aplenty, as well as the lush wilderness of Flinders Chase National Park, which is begging to be explored. The food and wine scene is also thriving. There are 18 wineries to explore – The Islander Estate and Dudley Wines Cellar are standouts.

Eat:  

Sunset Food and Wine

Stay:

Southern Ocean Lodge

Play:

Seal Bay Conservation Park

Great Keppel Island, QLD

Sitting on the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef, this island is as chilled as it gets. Made up of 90% bushland, it’s beautifully rugged, and that wilderness is fringed by 17 beaches. All of them have the tropical tick of approval: white sand, azure waters, and pure peace and quiet. Dive beneath the surface, and you’ll see coral, brightly coloured fish and marine life. Like the best island getaways, Great Keppel Island is all about beach barefoot living – dig your toes in the sand, swing in a hammock, and relaaax.

Eat:

Hideaway Bar & Bistro

Stay:

Great Keppel Island Hideaway

Play:

Keppel Water Sports snorkelling and kayaking 


Lord Howe Island, NSW

Some places are so beautiful they make your jaw drop – this tropical island 600km off the NSW mainland is one of them. It was formed by volcanic activity a cool seven million years ago, and the result is a landscape that’s right out of a movie: think two lofty mountains overlooking a lagoon, coral pools, a string of beaches, and a lush rainforest with native plants you won’t see anywhere else. Pack your walking shoes and relish the tranquillity – Lord Howe Island has a limit of 400 visitors at a time, so there’ll be barely anyone around.

Eat: 

Arajilla Restaurant

Stay:

Cappella Lodge

Play: 

Mount Gower

King Island, TAS

Affectionately dubbed ‘KI’ by the locals, Kings Island is a sliver of an island off the northwest coast of Tassie. It’s the kind of place where everyone knows everyone; stay a few days, and you’ll be greeted by name. The island is a magnet for foodies – and it shines brightest during the annual Long Table Festival. Its green pastures produce good cheese and dairy products (a visit to King Island Dairy is a must), while its surrounding seas supply fresh seafood. Food aside, it’s famous for its nature walks and wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled for a platypus or the rare orange-bellied parrot.

Eat:

Wild Harvest

Stay: 

Porky Beach Retreat

Play:

Long Table Festival

Fraser Island, QLD

The indigenous people of Fraser Island call it K’Gari, which means paradise – and that’s pretty much on point. As the world’s largest sand island (123km long by 23km wide), it’s a mecca for 4WD enthusiasts who love putting their foot down over the rugged terrain. 75 Mile Beach is where most of the action happens. Driving aside, the island is flush with rainforests, birds and wildlife, and more than 100 brilliantly blue freshwater lakes, like Lake Mackenzie and Champagne Pools. Fun fact: it’s the only place where rainforest grows on sand. On your visit, check out the Maheno Shipwreck and Sandy Cape Lighthouse.

Eat:

Seabelle

Stay:

Kingfisher Bay Resort

Play: 

75 Mile Beach

Hamilton Island, QLD

Welcome to The Whitsundays: a group of 70+ islands surrounded by the Great Barrier Reef. At its heart is Hamilton Island, a cosmopolitan yet peaceful island that’s all about slow and steady living. You can spend your days travelling by golf buggy (yep, this is another car-free zone) to beautiful beaches, sipping bubbly on sailing boats, teeing off at the championship 18-hole golf course, and watching the sunset before tucking into a fresh seafood feast. Of all the islands in The Whitsundays, this one has the widest selection of bars and restaurants.

Eat:

Bommie Restaurant

Stay:

Qualia

Play: 

Hamilton Island Air scenic helicopter flight 

Top tip: While you’re there, take a day trip to Whitsunday Island (singular, not plural!), which is home to iconic Whitehaven Beach. It’s secluded and has some of the whitest sands in Australia. 

Phillip Island, VIC

It’s just a 90-minute drive from Melbourne, but Phillip Island feels like an entire world away. It also has something to please every holiday mood. Over summer, families and couples flock to the island to soak up the beautiful beaches (Cowes Beach and Smiths Beach are popular), visit the wineries, and watch the famous Penguin Parade, where penguins waddle from the sea to their burrows for the night. During winter, it’s a tranquil escape from the city, whilst in October racing enthusiasts take over for the famous Grand Prix.

Eat:

Pino’s Trattoria

Stay: 

Rhyll Haven Luxury B&B or Silverwater Resort

Play:

The Nobbies

Rottnest Island, WA

Floating 18km off the coast of Perth, ‘Rotto’ – as the locals call it – is nothing short of spectacular. It boasts around 60 beaches and beaches, all of which are private (there’s a good chance you’ll get a stretch of sand to yourself), postcard-worthy and perfect for kayaking, swimming, surfing and fishing. It’s a haven for snorkellers and divers: beneath the sparkling Indian Sea you’ll find coral reefs and shipwrecks that hint at the island’s fascinating history, dating right back to colonial times and WWII. Cars are banned, so the best way to explore is by bike – just be sure to stop and snap a photo with a ‘quokka,’ the cute marsupial that’s unique to Rottnest Island.

Eat: 

Frankie’s on Rotto

Stay: 

Karma Rottnest Resort

Play:

Parker Point

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