Combine months of being trapped at home with a rainy winter, and you’re guaranteed of one thing – most of us are seriously vitamin SEA deficient right now, and we all need an island escape, yesterday.
Luckily, Australia is famous for its stunning island paradises, and is actually home to a whopping 8,222 islands – 1,955 of which are off the coast of Queensland!
Whether you’re in the dreaming-and-planning stages of your castaway fantasy, or are ready to slip, slop slap, and surrender to the siren song of the shoreline, our guide to the Top 7 Queensland Island Holidays will inspire you to spend the summer swimming, snorkelling and sunbathing in paradise.
Tropical Playground – Daydream Island
The name says it all, really! One of seven in the Molle Group of Islands within the Whitsundays chain, Daydream Island is a true bucket-list destination.
At Daydream’s heart is The Living Reef, an exceptional free-form coral lagoon that more than 100 species of marine fish, an array of crabs, starfish, and other unique invertebrates, call home.
Providing the perfect fusion of ‘family-friendly’ and ‘limitless luxury’, Daydream Island has something for everyone.
Enjoy a smorgasbord of water activities, from sailing to jet-skiing, indulge in fine dining or a spa day, or treat the kids to popcorn in paradise at the outdoor cinema.
History Meets Happiness – Magnetic Island
Once Townsville’s best-kept secret, the lure of Magnetic Island is now world-famous.
Spend your days hiking through national parks, snorkelling on the reef, making friends with koalas and 6 of the world’s 7 turtle species, or jet-skiing around the bays, then unwind with a cocktail at one of the many laid-back beach bars.
Take the trek from Radical Bay up along The Forts walk to enjoy a 360-degree view, surrounded by fascinating WWII infrastructure used by The Australian Coast Artillery during the Pacific War.
In the evening, go off the beaten track (you’ll need a 4-wheel drive) and head to West Point, where you can sit on soft sand and watch a spectacular sunset over the ocean – a rare treat on the East Coast!
World-Class Luxury – Fraser Island
If long stretches of soft white sand are a non-negotiable for your island escape, you need to plot a course for the world’s largest sand island, Fraser.
Boasting 123 kilometres of World Heritage-listed grandeur, Fraser Island is famous for whale watching when, between June and September, humpback whales frolic in the waves, often bringing their adorable calves to play.
Although it is possible to enjoy an exciting day trip to Fraser, which sits just 3 hours north of Brisbane, you really should stay longer to enjoy all it offers. Take a dip in the fabulously fizzy Champagne Pools or scale Indian Head to enjoy panoramic views like nowhere else on Earth.
Rainforest to Reef – Fitzroy Island
Just 45 minutes from tropical Cairns, Fitzroy Island is reached by ferry or dedicated plane, The Fitzroy Flyer.
Lush, green and peppered with calm ocean inlets that are a gateway to the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef, Fitzroy Island offers safe and sheltered swimming and snorkelling opportunities.
An incredible 97% of the island is National Park, making this the perfect place to get back to nature, so bring your walking shoes and camera to snap some breathtaking views.
Fitzroy Island is also home to the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre, where volunteers work tirelessly so sick and injured turtles can return safely to the wild. The centre provides a fascinating insight into these magnificent creatures.
Barefoot Bliss – Great Keppel Island
Kissed by clear blue waters and protective coral, Great Keppel Island—the largest in a chain of 14 islands—is a sub-tropical paradise, boasting some of the best beaches in the Great Barrier Reef.
A mere 30 minutes by ferry from Yeppoon, you’ll feel a million miles away as you unwind while exploring this beautiful, 1500-hectare haven. This is one of the most popular Queensland islands to visit.
Boasting 17 glistening white beaches and tranquil waters, Great Keppel offers stress-free swimming, snorkelling and diving with iridescent fish, turtles, giant clams, and other sea life who call the colourful reefs home. Or, hike the many nature trails, enjoying forest views as you ascend to the lighthouse.
With more than 100 bird species to see, blue-tongue lizards and possums to spot, colourful native butterflies, playful dolphins near the main beaches, and even Humpback whales passing by on their annual migration, Great Keppel Island is a nature-lovers playground, where you’re guaranteed a new sight around every turn.
Heavenly Hideaway – Bedarra Island
If some much-needed reconnection with nature in slow-paced solitude is your goal, Bedarra Island is a dream destination.
View more incredible Bedarra Island photos from James Vodicka on his Instagram and website.
Nestled off the Cassowary Coast, Bedarra Island offers celeb-level privacy, accommodating a small number of guests in decadent villas to create a secluded escape open to adults only.
Amble through lush rainforest to spot native birds and butterflies, plunge into aquamarine waters, or just spend the day dozing in a hammock, waking only to enjoy a chef-prepared picnic or candlelit meal.
Whatever you do, leave your watch at home – Bedarra is the perfect place to truly surrender to ‘island time’.
Unspoilt Paradise – Hamilton Island
Another Whitsundays wonderland, Hamilton Island is 5 square kilometres of largely unspoilt beauty.
Its famous white beaches make it one of the most popular island holidays in Queensland.
Despite boasting multiple options for accommodation, wining and dining, two-thirds of the island remains undeveloped, giving visitors a chance to cruise around the pristine Great Barrier Reef, snorkel and SCUBA, sea kayak at sunset, or catamaran with marine life.
Whether you’re honeymooners seeking seclusion, or a family planning to play, Hamilton offers everything from indulgent spa days to a bowling alley, and many high-adrenaline watersports.
And, if you like to tee off on your time off, you’re in luck! Hamilton Island is home to the only Australian 18-hole championship course on its own island.
Hamilton Island boasts a year-round warm climate with an average temperature of 27.4 degrees.
If you’re still reading – and not yet heading to the airport in your swimmers – we hope you’ve enjoyed indulging in some island dreaming.
There’s no more beautiful island in the world than Australia itself, and with so many idyllic Queensland islands to explore, now’s the time to plan an escape to the sunshine state!
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