The top 10 island destinations in Australia

Lady Elliot Island. Photo: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

When it comes to booking a tropical holiday, little comes close to an island getaway.

Luckily, Australians don’t need to travel far to find such an experience.

Travel website Experience Oz has named the top 10 island destinations in Australia, and Lady Elliot Island has taken out the top spot in a poll of more than 7,000 respondents.

When voting, poll participants were asked to consider criteria such as the uniqueness of experiences, natural highlights such as the flora and fauna, man-made highlights, history, food and wine and desirability.

Here are the rankings of Australia’s top island destinations.

1. Lady Elliot Island, Queensland

Photo: iStock

Lady Elliot Island is one of the best snorkelling and diving locations in the world, and the perfect location to check out the stunning Great Barrier Reef.

Regional airlines fly to Lady Elliot Island from Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast, the Gold Coast, Hervey Bay and Bundaberg.

2. Rottnest Island, Western Australia

Photo: iStock

Rottnest Island is famous for the quokkas which inhabitant the region. The small marsupials have gone viral in recent years because their friendly disposition means that you can take selfies with them.

Just me and my little buddy ???? #quokka #perth #rottnestisland #holiday

A post shared by D a n i e l l a (@daniellabrandy) on

The island also has a number of secluded beaches, as well as great trail walks around the island.

To get there, you take a half-hour ferry trip from the port of Fremantle.

3. Lord Howe Island, New South Wales

Photo: iStock

Lord Howe Island is characterised by sandy beaches, subtropical forests and clear waters. Visitors can enjoy many activities on the island including fishing, snorkeling, diving, bird watching and stand-up paddleboarding.

Ned’s Beach in particular is for great swimming and surfing.

Sydney and Brisbane have flights that will take you to Lord Howe Island in about two hours.

4. Whitsunday Islands, Queensland

Photo: iStock

The Whitsundays is made up of seventy-four smaller islands. Most of these are uninhabited and are great for hiking or simply enjoying the white sand beaches.

The Whitsunday Coast airport in Proserpine is the best place to fly into, then you can jump on a ferry to the island of your choosing. You can get to Proserpine on a flight out of Brisbane, Sydney or Cairns.

5. Hamilton Island, Queensland

Photo: iStock

Hamilton Island is the most popular holiday destination on the Great Barrier Reef, known for its sailing, diving and luxury resorts.

There’s also no cars allowed on the island which means people get around on golf buggies.

You can catch a flight directly to Hamilton island from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Cairns.

6. Great Keppel Island, Queensland

Photo: iStock

With seventeen white-sand beaches on Great Keppel, water activities are plentiful. You can kayak, jetski, canoe, stand-up paddleboard, fish, snorkel, dive and even swim with dolphins.

To get there you will need to fly to Rockhampton and then get a transfer to Rosslyn Bay Harbour where a half an hour ferry ride can get you to the island.

7. Fraser Island, Queensland

Photo: iStock

World Heritage-listed Fraser Island is covered with dense rainforest, great walking and exploring. It is speckled with over 100 freshwater lakes and has an amazing 120km beach highway.

If you’re a history buff, there are a number of shipwrecks you can visit. Maheno is probably the most well-known on the island and has been there since the ship, bound for Japan, was driven ashore during a cyclone in 1935.

To get there, you’ll need to fly from Sydney or Brisbane to Hervey Bay airport. From there, a 50-minute ferry will get you to the island.

8. Lady Musgrave Island, Queensland

Photo: iStock

If you want to stay on Lady Musgrave Island, you’ll have to camp as there is no permanent accommodation.

The Lady Musgrave lagoon offers an abundance of coral and marine life, perfect for swimming, snorkeling and diving.

To get there, you’ll need to get to the Town of 1770, which is a two and a half hour drive from Rockhampton, or a four hour drive from Brisbane. The ferry from the Town of 1770 to the island will take about half an hour.

9. Kangaroo Island, South Australia

Photo: iStock

Over a third of Kangaroo Island is protected by nature reserves, and home to a number of native species including sea lions, koalas and diverse bird species.

It’s also known for its striking coastal rock formations, and social events throughout the year, including farmers markets and other festivals.

To get to Kangaroo Island, you’ll need to take a regional flight from Melbourne or Adelaide.

10. Bruny Island, Tasmania

Photo: iStock

Bruny Island has some of Tasmania’s most beautiful wildlife and natural environments, which includes stunning cliff top views.

The island can appear as two joined by a narrow strip of land called The Neck. Here, an elevated boardwalk offer stunning 360 degree views of the island.

To get here you’ll need to fly to Hobart, then drive an hour south to Kettering and hop on a 40-minute ferry.

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