We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – Australia truly does have it all. From arid outback landscapes to tropical rainforests, world-famous beaches to serene mountain peaks, there’s something for everyone on our remote shores.
With winter well and truly here, parts of Australia are experiencing the first cold snap of the year. But if the icy weather isn’t your thing, you’re in luck. Just as our sunburnt country offers a plethora of options for snow bunnies to enjoy the chill, other parts stay warm and sunny.
This month we are diving deep into just a few of the stunning islands that lie off our coastline – sun-drenched havens where you can experience an endless summer. The only question is, which island hotspot will you be visiting to escape the winter freeze?
Let’s face it. When you think of Aussie islands, the ones that spring to mind probably lie off the extensive Queensland coastline. With tourism in the tropical state booming year-round, islands are now easily accessible via ferry or air, with the major ones just a hop, skip and jump from mainland cities.
The Whitsundays are arguably the most well-known of Australia’s island chains, and for good reason. The 74 islands lie off the northeast coast of Queensland, near Cairns, and they’re incredibly varied in their beauty. Plus they lie within the largest living organism in the world, the Great Barrier Reef – so they’re the perfect spot for a snorkelling holiday.
Airlie Beach is an exceptional starting spot to explore the inhabited islands. The chain includes the hub of Hamilton Island, the crystal-clear waters of Hayman Island, action-packed Daydream Island, and the largest island in the chain – Whitsunday Island. This island is home to the immense beauty, white sands and astoundingly clear waters of Whitehaven Beach.
Additionally, if you’re in the vicinity of the regional city of Townsville in North Queensland, you can also visit Magnetic Island. Highly mountainous, it’s ideal for adventure lovers.
Whether it’s scuba diving, snorkelling, leisurely walks or island cocktails you are after – Queensland is the place to be.
Northern Territory retreats
Largely known for its outback geography, the Northern Territory is a wonderfully unique destination for sun-chasers. The weather is almost always warm, with winter temperatures usually in the mid-twenties to early-thirties.
There are also gorgeous islands that lie in the tropical north region of the state. The Tiwi Islands, 80km north of Darwin, are a virtually untouched chain, with the inhabited ones being Melville and Bathurst Islands. Ideal for a slower-paced break from the winter chill, these remote islands in the Timor Sea are a palm-tree peppered paradise.
Western Australian havens
Our largest state, with a massive coastline looking out to the Indian Ocean, Western Australia is a fantastic family-friendly option for a well-earned winter break.
If you’re in the capital city of Perth, take the 18km ferry trip across to Rottnest Island. The island the locals fondly refer to as “Rotto” is home to colonies of Australian sea lions, fur seals and quokkas that live amongst the spectacular, dazzling turquoise waters.
Found yourself in the northern region of WA? The aptly-named Wilderness Island, near Exmouth, is vast and unharnessed in its beauty. There’s ultra-quiet bush landscapes and potential for fishing off the one-of-a-kind shoreline. Plus, it stays warm year-round, so there’s plenty of opportunity to relax in the sun.
Whether you are drawn to our islands in the Pacific or Indian Oceans or smack-bang in the Timor Sea, you’ll find the warming winter experience you are looking for without even leaving Aussie shores.