Fitzroy Island, Queensland

Fitzroy Island is a continental island located within the UNESCO Great Barrier Reef World Heritage site. The island is a protected area – the Fitzroy Island National Park.

Fitzroy is known for its adventure activities and nightlife, offering an opportunity for budget travelers to experience all that the Great Barrier Reef has to offer.

History

The Gunghandji have gathered food, hunted, and held special ceremonies on the island for thousands of years.

Whitsunday Island, Whitsundays, Queensland

Uninhabited Whitsunday Island is well-known for the Whitsundays’ world-famous beach – Whitehaven beach.  Comprising fine powdery white sand with 98% pure silica content, and surrounded by warm clear turquoise water, the seven-kilometer beach is picturesque. Whitehaven beach is considered to be Australia’s “most beautiful beach” according to Keep Australia Beautiful (and Australia’s most photographed beach), and one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Because of this, many folks consider Whitehaven beach to be a must-see attraction, and a large number of people visit the island – the largest of the Whitsunday grouping.

Tiwi Islands – Melville and Bathurst Islands

The Tiwi Islands are part of the “Top End” (the top part of the Northern Territory), located as they are 80km north of Darwin.

They comprise Melville and Bathurst Islands, and together cover 8,320 square kilometers. Melville is Australia’s largest island (except for the state of Tasmania), and Bathurst is Australia’s five-largest island.

The islands are known as the “islands of smiles,” due to the happy attitude of the approximately 2,500 residents who call the Tiwi Islands home. Over 90% are of the residents are indigenous, most of whom speak Tiwi as their first language.

Thursday Island, Torres Strait

Thursday Island is the administrative and commercial capital of the Torres Strait Islands, which total 23 islands.  The Thursday Island township is Australia’s most northern town.

Measuring just 3.5 square kilometers, the archipelago’s most developed island, endearingly called “TI”, is home to approximately 3,500 residents. Thursday Island’s residents are very diverse, including Malays, Chinese, Polynesian, and Japanese – who together outnumber European settlers.

History

Thursday Island has been inhabited for thousands of years by the Melanesian Torres Straight Islanders.  Their name for the island was Waiben, which is thought to translate to “place of no water,” due to the island’s lack of supply of fresh water.

the Mackerel Islands, Western Australia

The Mackerel Islands are famous destinations in Australia – for both diving and fishing. The islands, which receive over 300 days of sunshine a year, are very laid-back, casual, and quiet. The island environments are beautiful, with clean turquoise waters and pristine coral reefs.

The Mackerel Islands are located in Western Australia, in the Pilbara Coastal region. 10 islands make up the group, of which two have accommodation (Direction Island and Thevenard Island).

The bulk of tourists visit either Thevenard Island (which is a nature reserve) or Direction Island.

St. Helena Island, Queensland’s most historical island

St. Helena Island is Queensland’s most historical island. Less than one square kilometer, it was the site of a prison between the 1860s and the early 1930s.  in the 1890s it was Queensland’s main maximum security prison. At its peak, the penal settlement housed 300 inmates.

The island became a National Park in 1980, but it was not until 1988 that sufficient funds were raised to restore the prison ruins.

Prison ruins remain, attracting visitors who embark on day trips to the island from Brisbane to learn about its turbulent past. Themed day and evening tours, as well as tours featuring professional actors, appeal to many school groups.

South Stradbroke Island, 27km of white sandy beaches

South Stradbroke Island – affectionately known as “South Straddie” – is a beautifully remote island. Visitors come here to get away, to enjoy nature and wildlife, and to take advantage of the 27km of white sandy beaches.

South Stradbroke Island is similar to its northern counterpart geographically (indeed, they were one island until a storm separated them at the turn of the 20th century), but the island is much less developed than North Stradbroke Island.

Natural environment

The island is 21km by 2.5km and is made up of sand dunes, rainforest, and wetlands. The island is known for its hundreds of wild wallabies, including the endemic Golden Wallaby as well as the regional Agile Wallaby.

South Molle Island, Whitsundays, Queensland

South Molle island is continental island in the Whitsundays, within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The island is the largest of the Molle islands – North, Mid, and South Molle islands.

The island is relatively undeveloped, with no buildings taller than the island’s palm trees. There is over 400 hectares of protected national parkland on the island.

History

The island has been privately owned by the Bauer family since the 1920s, who used the land primarily for animal grazing until the resort was constructed in the 1950s.

Goldsmith Island, Smith Islands National Park

Smith Islands National Park is located within Queensland. The largest island in the National Park is Goldsmith Island. Smith Island, for which the National Park is named, is one of the smaller “triplet” islands in the Family Group of islands. The islands in the national park are the Family Island grouping, which are continental islands.

The National Park covers an area of 18.7 square kilometers. The aboriginal name for Smith Island is Kurrambah.

Natural environment

Goldsmith Island’s coastline is rocky, its land is covered by low forest and bushland (with brush box trees, as well as grasstree and wattle making up the understorey), and the northern and western coasts are ringed with long, sandy beaches.

Penguin Island, Perth – largest Little Penguin colony in WA

Penguin Island is located just off of Perth, in Western Australia.

The island is small, just 12.5 hectares, and is inhabited by the largest population of wild Little Penguins in Western Australia.

Natural environment

The limestone island has sea caves, cliffs, headlands, coves, beaches, and natural bridges. The island is surrounded by the Shoalwater Islands Marine Park.

The island is known for its population of wild little penguins (also known as fairy penguins).  The penguins spend most of the year at sea, coming to the island for a short period to nest and malt.