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Queensland's 5 Best Islands

Home > Brisbane > Beaches | Escape the City | Island Hopping | Lists | Outdoor
by Tim Falk (subscribe)
A freelance writer with an interest in just about everything.
Published October 16th 2017
Beautiful island getaways to suit all types of travellers
Looking for an island getaway? Queensland has got you covered. From budget, family-friendly holidays through to luxurious and opulent escapes, the Sunshine State has an island to suit every traveller. Here are five of the best.

If you want adventure: Fraser Island
The largest sand island in the world, Fraser Island sits off Queensland's southern coast and is more than 120km long. Home to complex dune systems and a number of other truly unique environmental features, this popular Queensland holiday spot was inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List in 1992.

fraser island, qld's best islands, best islands in qld
Image courtesy of Tourism and Events Queensland

And if you're keen for an adrenalin-packed adventure holiday, this is the island for you. The rugged sandy terrain is perfect 4WD country, especially Seventy Five Mile Beach, while there are plenty of other must-see 4WD spots dotted around the island. Throw in a spot of fishing, bushwalking and whale watching, not to mention a dip in the pristine waters of Lake McKenzie, and you've got the makings of an impressive itinerary.

To kickstart your Fraser Island adventure, make your way to Hervey Bay or Rainbow Beach and then head out to the island by vehicle ferry, fastcat or aircraft.

If you want to relax in luxury: Hamilton Island
Of all the spectacular islands that make up the Whitsundays, Hamilton Island is the most famous - and one of the most spectacular. With pristine white beaches, a plethora of marine life and easy access to the world-famous Whitehaven Beach, Hamilton Island has all the essential ingredients for a tropical island getaway.

hamilton island, qld's best islands, best islands in qld
Image courtesy of Tourism and Events Queensland

Throw in an 18-hole golf course, marina, swanky yacht club and a long list of bars and restaurants, and it quickly becomes clear that this is much more than your ordinary island. There are plenty of accommodation options to choose from with Qualia Bob Oatley's uber-luxurious resort, the pick of the bunch.

Best of all, it's accessible by direct commercial flight from Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.

If you want romance and privacy (at a price): Bedarra Island
When Hollywood A-listers visit the Whitsundays, they stay at Bedarra Island. Why? There are plenty of reasons, all of them compelling: it's stunningly beautiful, it's wonderfully luxurious and it's completely secluded.

bedarra island, qld's best islands, best islands in qld
Image courtesy of Tourism and Events Queensland

Bedarra Island is an all-inclusive, private tropical retreat, home to only 10 villas hidden amongst tropical rainforest. If you're looking for romance and seclusion, you'll find both here.

But a luxury getaway on Bedarra Island comes at a price, with the cheapest of the villas starting from $1,075 a night - ouch!

You can get there by boat from Mission Beach, or by helicopter from Mission Beach or Cairns.

If you want underwater fun: Heron Island

No list of Queensland's best islands would be complete without the inclusion of a destination that allows you to explore the absolute best the Great Barrier Reef has to offer. Heron Island is found 90km (a two-hour ferry ride) from Gladstone and is the perfect spot for anyone looking to explore the ocean depths.

heron island, qld's best islands, best islands in qld
Image courtesy of Tourism and Events Queensland

The island is a natural coral cay and there are more than 20 spectacular dive sites within 15 minutes of the shore. Visitors can also catch a glimpse of migrating humpbacks, see nesting and hatching Green and Loggerhead Turtles, and get up close and personal with a huge variety of birdlife.

Best of all, Heron Island is a guests-only island, so you don't have to worry about crowds of pesky day-trippers ruining your relaxation.

If you want family-friendly fun: North Stradbroke Island
Taking the whole family for a few nights or more on some of Queensland's best island escapes can be an expensive exercise, but there are still plenty of great holiday spots designed with families in mind. North Stradbroke Island is one of the best.

north stradbroke island, straddie, qld's best islands, best islands in qld
Image courtesy of Tourism and Events Queensland

Straddie is just 10km off the coast from Brisbane's bayside but it feels a whole lot further. It boasts long, sandy beaches and a laid-back island vibe, but with plenty of opportunities to pack in some swimming, surfing, fishing and 4WDing during your stay.

There are accommodation options to suit every budget, from unpowered campsites through to resorts and hotels, while it's easily accessible by water taxi or ferry from Cleveland. Straddie may not be the most glamorous of Queensland's remarkable collection of islands, but it's still well worth a visit.
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Why? Treat yourself to an island getaway.
When: All year round, but make sure to avoid cyclone season in some locations
Where: Off the coast of Queensland
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