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10 Most Beautiful Islands Around Australia to Visit in 2021

Alma Bay, Magnetic Island. Supplied by Tourism and Events Queensland. Photographed by Jesse and Belinda Lindemann.

Pack your swimmers and sunscreen because this summer is the perfect time to check out 10 of the most beautiful islands around Australia.

Australia is home to arguably some of the most beautiful islands in the world, with wonderful swimming, snorkelling, diving, sailing and sunning opportunities. And, with summer gearing up to be one of the hottest on record, it’s time to start planning your ultimate summer vacation with 10 of Australia’s most beautiful islands. We all deserve a getaway paradise after this year, so what better way to wind down than by visiting some of these stunning islands.

Check some items off your bucket list this summer by visiting the Great Barrier Reef from the Whitsundays or Magnetic Island. Visit the adorable quokkas on Rottnest Island or see the tiny penguins of Phillip Island or Bruny Island. Whether you’re looking for a glamorous island escape or to get in touch with nature, there are plenty of options for everyone.

Lord Howe Island, New South Wales

This World Heritage-listed island is under a two-hour flight from Sydney or Brisbane, making it the perfect escape from the east coast. You can get away from the fast-paced city life and relax on the scenic beaches, soaking up the sun while surrounded by singing birds and mountainous terrain. Lorde Howe is also well-known for its diverse coral reef where you can paddle around and spot a massive variety of reef fish and picturesque coral. This is also the perfect place to go hiking and check out the ancient rainforest on the island or hire bikes for another relaxing way to explore. While everyone wants to get away to Lord Howe Island, only 400 visitors are allowed at any one time. This adds to the air of exclusivity and ensures the serene beauty and diverse natural environment are protected.


Bruny Island, Tasmania

Bruny Island is just a 20-minute ferry ride from mainland Tasmania but feels like a remote getaway with its eucalyptus forest and long stretches of rocky coastline and beaches. There is plenty to see and do here and visitors can easily spend a few days exploring. One scenic point not to miss is The Neck, the thin isthmus of land which connects the southern and northern parts of Bruny. For panoramic views of the island check out the walking trail at The Neck, and you might be treated to views of some of the tiny penguins who call the island home. Explorers and breathtaking view-chases alike should also check out the Cape Bruny Lighthouse located at the southernmost point of the island. The Bruny Island Food Trail is also iconic, including delectable seafood, mouth-watering berries and freshly made cheeses.


Phillip Island, Victoria

Located just off Australia’s southern coast about a two-hour drive from Melbourne is the natural paradise of Phillip Island. The island is well known for its outstanding coastal scenery and thick bushland but the main draw for tourists is the adorable little penguins. The fairy penguins are the smallest penguins in the world and visitors waddle to Phillip Island to see groups of the little penguins swimming from the ocean and waddling across the beach back to their nesting boxes. Phillips Island is also home to some great hikes, such as the walk from Pyramid Rock to Berrys Beach. This is a gently undulating clifftop path with spectacular coastal views of Phillip Island’s southern coastline. Visitors can also check out Australia’s largest fur seal colony on the Seal Watching Cruise.


Kangaroo Island, South Australia

The official slogan for Kangaroo Island is ‘just over the water, but a world away’ and we think it fits perfectly. At 155-kilometres long, this is Australia’s third-largest island and definitely needs more than a day to explore properly. Visitors can access this natural paradise via the Sealink Ferry or through a quick flight. There are some lush accommodation options on the island so you can choose the perfect base to explore from. Here there are also handfuls of breathtaking beaches to splash around at such as Stokes Bay, along with natural rock formations named Remarkable Rocks in the Flinders Chase National Park. On the east coast you can take a boat tour to see wild dolphins swimming alongside, or visit the Seal Bay Conservation Park to meet a colony of endangered sea lions. Otherwise, to appease your tastebuds, Kangaroo Island is a foodie’s paradise too, with fresh seafood and even their own distillery, Kangaroo Island Spirits.


Rottnest Island, Western Australia

With 63 stunning beaches on the island and plenty of adorable quokkas scuttling about, Rottnest Island is one you can’t miss. Quokkas are definitely one of the cutest native Australian animals, and you can only see them in the wild at a select few islands off Western Australia. Affectionately known as ‘Rotto’ by the locals, this island getaway is the ideal place to escape the rush of the city and swim in the crystal clear waters this summer. The island is a car-free zone, so the best way to get around is by hiring a bicycle. You can go snorkelling or swimming, cycling, take a selfie with a quokka, and, for the thrill-seekers, you can even go sky-diving over the turquoise waters for an incredible bucket-list experience. This is an easy day-trip destination at just a 25-minute ferry ride from Fremantle or 95-minutes from Perth.


Abrolhos Islands, Western Australia

Accessed by flight or charter boat, the Abrolhos Islands are actually an archipelago of 122 islands snug off the coast of Western Australia, just 60-kilometres from Geraldton. The islands are pristine natural gems perfect for diving, fishing or snorkelling. Remote and rugged, the Abrolhos are composed of three main island groups: Easter, Pelsart and Wallabi. The islands are also known as a ship’s graveyard, because of the infamous wreck of the Dutch ship The Batavia in 1629. Keen divers can still check out The Batavia shipwreck, which lies in four- to six-metres of clear Indian Ocean and is ranked as one of the top diving spots in Western Australia.


Fraser Island, Queensland

Fraser Island is the world’s largest sand island and one of the best weekend getaways for fishing, swimming and four-wheel-driving. Fraser Island, also known as K’gari, is renowned for its ancient rainforests, breathtaking sand formations and jaw-dropping swimming spots. One of the most-visited lakes on the island is Lake McKenzie, a crystal-clear perched lake filled with rainwater and surrounded by pure white sand. Another swimming spot not to be missed is Eli Creek, where you can walk along the boardwalk hundreds of metres and then float back down under a canopy of trees.


Moreton Island, Queensland

Another must-visit sand island is waiting off the coast of Queensland, right in Brisbane’s backyard. Moreton Island is an ideal spot for coastal camping, snorkelling or kicking back at the renowned Tangalooma Island Resort where you can hand-feed wild bottlenose dolphins that visit the beach. This is also one of the most gorgeous spots to go snorkelling because of the Tangalooma Wrecks. The ships were actually sunk on purpose in the 1960s and have created an amazing dive and snorkel site. Moreton Island is just a 90-minute ferry ride from Brisbane, perfect for those wanting to escape from the city life for a scenic beach getaway.


Whitsunday Islands, Queensland

The Whitsunday Islands are an archipelago just off northern Queensland which is home to some of the best diving and most breathtaking beaches in the world. People travel here from all over to visit the Great Barrier Reef. The reef also forms a natural barrier to protect the islands from large swells, which is just one of the reasons this is the perfect spot for sailing, snorkelling and relaxing on secluded beaches. One of the best-known beaches around the Whitsundays is Whitehaven Beach, which is formed from incredibly fine, pure white sand and makes for a stunning swimming and photo opportunity. Check out some of the luxury accommodation available around the Whitsunday Islands for a sun-and-sea holiday you won’t forget.


Magnetic Island, Queensland

Affectionately known as Maggie, Magnetic Island is a well-kept secret. This is a paradise for swimming, snorkelling and hiking at one of Australia’s most scenic islands and, it’s conveniently found just a 20-minute ferry ride from Townsville! Picture palm-fringed beaches with gentle waters which are perfect for snorkelling to see colourful coral and cheeky fish. This is an easy gateway for trips out to the Great Barrier Reef. The island has some excellent dive sites, including the wreck of the SS Yongala. If you want to keep your feet on solid land, Magnetic Island also offers 24-kilometres of rugged walking trails along the scenic coastline, where you can spot koalas in their natural habitat.


We acknowledge the traditional owners of country throughout Australia and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. We pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging.

Want to explore more of what Australia has to offer? Start by ticking off these 7 unique travel experiences you can only have in Australia. Or if you’re looking for an out-of-this-world experience, grab your binoculars and prepare to be amazed by these 24 magical places to stargaze in Australia.

Feature image: Alma Bay, Magnetic Island. Photographed by Jesse and Belinda Lindemann. Supplied by Tourism and Events Queensland.
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