Five great islands of Australia

Dreaming of an island holiday in Australia? There are amazing islands surrounding Australia, but here are 5 great islands off Australia’s shores, perfect for holidays or day trips from the mainland.

Cockatoo Island, New South Wales

The largest island in Sydney Harbour, this heritage listed place is just a short ferry ride from Circular Quay, Cockatoo Island has become a cultural hub in Sydney Harbour featuring events and festivals held in its grounds.

Historically significant, Cockatoo Island played a key role in developing Sydney. Selected in the 1800s by the Governor at the time, the island was developed into a new penal colony, and convicts worked to build residences, wharfs and a workshop. Australia’s first steel warship was built on Cockatoo Island.

Fraser Island, Queensland

A World Heritage listed island, this long stretch of sand in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Queensland, is the world’s largest sand island. Called ‘K’Gari’ by the local Aboriginal people, meaning paradise, the island has a diverse local ecology.

Featuring rainforest, freshwater lakes, and sand dunes as well as surrounding waters being home to whales, dolphins, sharks and turtles. A 4WD heaven as all tracks are sand, access to the island is via a ferry from Hervey Bay or Rainbow Beach. Fraser Island during autumn or spring has temperatures that are best for swimming.

Phillip Island, Victoria

This island of Victoria is famous for car racing and other motor sports, but is also popular for its resident penguins. These cute inhabitants come ashore each night in a ‘parade’ after a hard day’s fishing out at sea. The best time to catch the penguins is at sunset, head down an hour before hand to get a good vantage point for viewing.

Surfers come to Phillip Island for its consistently good sized swell all year long. The island is also home to many wineries including Bass Valley Wines and Phillip Island Vineyard & Winery. To catch a motor race, check out the event calendar of the Phillip Island Circuit.

Rottnest Island, Western Australia

The Rottnest Island or ‘Rotto’ as it is known locally is a short ferry ride from Perth. This place features amazing beaches and unique fauna and flora such as the quokka, a macropod resembling a small kangaroo.

With a moderate climate all year long, it is a popular destination with both Australians and international holiday makers. In February each year, the Island is host to the Rottnest Channel Swim, involving a 19.7km swim from Cottesloe Beach and finishes up at Thomson Bay on Rottnest.

King Island, Tasmania

In between Tasmania and Victoria accessible only by flight is King Island. This spot produces some of the finest brie and soft cheese in the country.

With a wild coastline, the island has 70 shipwrecks off its shores in the Bass Straight, including the Neva which sank in 1835 and claimed 200 lives. Take a guided tour that will teach you about the tragic maritime past of King Island. Featuring the fresh air of Tasmania, this island has much wilderness and many lighthouses to explore.

Before leaving for your island holiday, it is important to ensure that you’re prepared so that you have peace of mind while travelling. There is a lot to consider and organise when planning a trip, even if you’re staying in Australia. Check out our Domestic Travel Insurance to cover you while on holiday.

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