Australia has long been known as every adventurous traveler’s haven, but if you go here without reading up on the prime spots, the list of places to visit can be pretty overwhelming. Below is a list of the best islands in Australia if the trip you’re looking for is all about ecotourism and nature tripping.

Lord Howe Island

If you’re sick of concrete and the plasticity of coffee shops in the city, the first Australian island you should escape to is Lord Howe. This is 435 miles from Sidney, and retains almost the same landscape it once hand when the New Zealanders and Maoris first landed in it in 1833. The place is the epitome of serenity, and will give you your much-needed space provided that you’re prepared to rough it out.

Located at the New South Wales, it still has that quaint charm of the South Seas. Here, you’ll find no internet cafes, no noisy night clubs, and very few vehicles. There are officially only 300 residents in this island, which is a small population even for an office building. Don’t worry about falling into a tourist trap, either because the authorities strictly monitor the influx of visitors to the island.

If you’re visiting for the first time, you can be sure that you won’t be annoyed by a touristy crowd begging for sand space in the island’s surrounding beaches. This is probably why the beaches here have remained pristine as well. This is also a prime spot for coral reef diving. There are only four islands in the UNESCO Heritage list, and Lord Howe is one of them.

Kangaroo Island

One of the “Wonders of Oz”, Kangaroo Island surprises the visitors with roads that aren’t clogged with traffic and a crime rate that’s close to zero. It’s the perfect treatment for you if you’ve been feeling a little sick of the city, lately. If you’re not quite ready for its prime dive spot, which is the Ball’s Pyramid, there are other inland activities for you to be involved in.

One of the most popular choices here is hiking. You can explore three volcanic outcrops and take photos to wow your friends with when you get home. Swimming, feeding the fish, and snorkeling also make it to the top of our to-do list. Make sure you visit Ned’s Beach if you want the most out of these activities.

Those who are into golf will also surely enjoy a challenging course (nine-hole) that’s located at the bottom of Mount Lidgbird. The island is pretty isolated, though, so you can only access it by ship or through a flying boat. The most popular lodging is the Pinetrees, which is an establishment which boasts of Edwardian architecture. Most of its guests are families who chose to stay in the island for the holidays.

For more upscale resorts, you can also look into Capella Lodge and Arajilla Retreat. While their arrival has made the city more urban that it was before, these establishments nevertheless offer their guests tasteful décor, excellent cuisine, and impressive spas where they can stretch and indulge the whole day.

Despite the new additions to the island, Lord Howe remains tranquil, and is still one of the best places to go to if you’re trying to dodge hordes of tourists during the summer.

To get there, you should contact Qantaslink airline. They connect passengers from Sydney to Brisbane although they only operate this route over the weekend. A one way trip will cost you A$ 690 or A$404 if you buy it earlier.

Maria Island

Tasmania has a total of 334 islands, and if you explore each and every one of them, you’ll run out of funds in no time. To save more money on your trip, cut to the chase and visit the Maria Island. This is by far the most impressive and mysterious among the lot, and will surely satisfy you if you’re looking for a place that hasn’t been invaded by other tourists.

The waters are chilly in these parts so bring your wetsuit. The Maria Island began as a convict settlement, and remained as one before the National Parks and Wildlife took over in 1972. Today, it is a Spartan beauty, with a unique display of convict architecture and its fair share of pristine shorelines and eucalyptus forests. Because of the conservation programme, the island is also filled with wildlife, from sea eagles to possums and wombats to wallabees.

If you’re going there during a school holiday, it’s best if you book for your lodgings first. You can either pitch a tent and choose from its three campsites, or if you’re a little more adventurous, sleep in one of the island’s former prison cells.

To get the most out of the island, you should join the Maria Island Walk. The guided tour lasts for four days, and it will take you through the span of the coast. The package also has guests staying in eco-camps, and served with local wine and impressive meals.

If you have no walking targets, you should also be able to do some birdwatching, swimming, or opt for some side trips. Among the ones you shouldn’t miss out on is a trip to Mt. Maria for the best views of the island.

To get there, you’ll have to book with Maria Island Ferry & Eco cruises which connect passengers from Triabunna to the Maria Island and back. The water transfer is a short 30 minutes, and you’ll spend about A$50 for adults and A$37 for children up to 15 years old for a one-way trip.

Dunk Island

This is probably one of the most accessible island resorts you’ll find in the Great Barrier Reef, and if you take it at face value, it seems like a place most tourists would go to. Despite its accessibility, though, Dunk Island remains peaceful and pretty isolated. It’s hospitable but probably not what the chic traveler would love. The place is rustic, dotted with spacious beachfront suites and staff that are only too happy to please.

While some travelers may be a little weary about the location, especially those who are looking for some solitude, if you’re an adventurous person, you wouldn’t find a better place to spend your summer in. The resort offers a wide variety of activities, among them, kayaking, sailing, sports fishing, swimming, squash and hiking.

If you’re not that much of a sporty person, you might want to enjoy nature in a more sheltered way. There are glass-bottomed boats you can rent here as well as mild, snorkeling tours.

You probably won’t have to go so far if you want an encounter with Australia’s wild life. In the resort itself, you’ll witness tree snakes losing their way to the resort and brush turkeys and echidnas in the vicinity as well. To get here, contact the Hinterland Aviation. One-way fares begin at A$230 for adults and A$115 for children.

Phillip Island

For international travelers, the Phillip Island is synonymous to the penguin parade. This is the perfect place for travelers who want to go to a single destination for a wide variety of activities, from motorcycle racing to surfing. Those who want to experience a bit of the wildlife will also enjoy the island feeding pelicans, watching koala communities, kangaroos, and mutton birds.

A total of 6,800 acres of this island is considered a national park, so there’s never a lack of Australian fauna. Those who love to ride mountain bikes also find the terrain of this island ideal for the sport. If you want the best views around the island, you should rent a sailboat and enjoy the land- and seascape.

Foodies won’t be disappointed in this island, either. The gourmet revolution which happened to Melbourne has spread to the far corners of Phillip Island as well. If you’re not into rough bed and breakfast lodges, you can check into one of their newer luxury boutique hotels. The best place to check in, though, is the Silverwater Resort. This is a laidback, modern resort in San Remo. The in-house restaurant serves country breakfast and lunch.

If you want the best of seafood, though, you would want to go to Infused. The restaurant’s menu is eclectic, and you’ll also get to enjoy over 70 vintage wines and a ridiculously wide variety of 16 kinds of beers from the bar.

From Melbourne, you can reach Cowes by bus through V/Line. One way fares cost A$18. From Cowes, all you have to do is ride an island ferry. One way water transfers cost A$21 for adults and A$10 for children.

Fraser Island

This island is probably lost in the common categories of Queensland Islands. Neither is it a volcanic remnant nor a coral cay. In fact, it has actually gained the negative reputation because of its dingo attacks. More recently, though, the dingo population has been controlled. Fines have also been implemented for hand-feeding these wild dogs—believed to be the main reason behind the unexpected attacks.

Today, while tourists should still be cautious about dingoes, the 408,404-acre national park is considerably made safer again for tourists who wish to explore Australia’s wildlife. A total of 75 miles of its beaches can also be enjoyed by beachcombers simply because the whole stretch is nothing short of pristine.

It is globally celebrated as the world’s biggest sand-island, and the dingo-attack-scare probably did it some good, too. Away from the hands of environmentally careless tourists, Fraser Island made it to the World Heritage list as well, simply because of its biodiversity. Here, you’ll find an ancient rainforest, cliffs of colored sandstone, gigantic sand dunes, and forty clear freshwater lakes.

The best place to check into is the Kingfisher Bay Resort. This North White Cliffs lodgings has a bistro and two impressive restaurants. During the peak season, a three-night stay at a hotel-spa room would cost you A$339. The resort’s Seabelle restaurant also serves the best cuisines of the season in the entire island.

To get to Fraser’s Island, you can book a ride with vehicle ferries. This costs A$22 for passengers on foot and an extra A$130 per vehicle. You can also choose to get her through the Air Fraser Island aircraft. This destination is best for nature walks, swimming and whale watching.

Standby for updates, I’m preparing a post about the best New Zealand cruise you can take!

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