16 June 2012

Don't forget… Islands outside Whitsundays

King Island:

You could consider King Island as being the epitome of nature’s wonderland, with its long sandy beaches, rocky coastlines, magnificent offshore reef and its abundant native wildlife. Be sure to explore the island’s two nature reserves- Seal Rocks State Reserve, home to the amazing 7000 year old Calcified Forest, and Lavinia State Reserve, boasting fresh water lagoons and beautiful beaches.

There are plenty of things to see and do on the island, whether it’s going for a swim or surf at one of the islands many beaches, following the Shipwreck Trail, or heading north to spectacular Cape Wickham to see the Southern Hemisphere’s tallest lighthouse.

When some think of King Island, cheese comes to mind. King Island Dairy has made the island famous for its masterfully handcrafted and internationally renowned products like its dreamy double brie and tangy blue vein cheeses.

The island has ample fresh food that is highly prized throughout Australia. Don’t miss the fresh seafood – crayfish, abalone, oysters and King crabs are a specialty. 

Lord Howe Island:

If you want to escape to a world of its own, then Lord Howe Island is where you should be. This island is home to unique and rare flora and is a birdwatchers paradise, with more than a dozen species of sea birds coming here to breed.

You can cycle through the rugged volcanic peaks amongst lush forests and serene lagoons, or jump in a canoe and explore the islands calm ocean surfaces. At Ned’s Beach you can feed fish up to a metre long, or try catching one offshore from one of the local sports fishing boats. 

Aerial view- Lord Howe Island
Aerial view - Lord Howe Island

Only a two hour flight from Sydney or Brisbane, this island getaway will show you what it truly feels like to be in paradise. The locals go to great lengths to make sure Lord Howe stays flawless, with less than 300 people living there and a limit of 400 visitors you know you'll have plenty of room to enjoy yourself, with no crowded beaches. 

Phillip Island:

Phillip Island is an ideal getaway to take the family to experience some Australia’s cutest wildlife up close.

The island’s most famous attractions are the little penguins. Stand along the observation boardwalks at Phillip Island Nature Park at dusk to see them waddle up Summerland Beach from the sea to their burrows on shore. Or get up-close and personal with them on a secluded beach location among sand dunes on the Ultimate Penguin Tour.

One of Phillip Island’s other main attractions in the V8 Supercar Championships, which roars through the island in May. You can race around the Phillip Island Circuit on some hot laps with a professional, or drive the replica Grand Prix track in a go kart.

Be sure to explore the island on foot or bike along on of the trails, or take a swim or surf at one of the islands great beaches. Make friends with some cuddly natives at the Koala Conservation Centre, where you can cuddle a koala or head down to Seal Rocks, where you can check out some fur seals as they laze along the beach.

Phillip Island penguins
Phillip Island penguins

Rottnest Island:

Surrounded by the most vibrant aqua blue water, this beautiful island is home to some of the finest beaches and bays in the world. You will be spoilt for choice with a selection of 63 secluded beaches and 20 bays, perfect for boating, fishing, swimming, surfing, diving and snorkelling.

The best sheltered bays and beaches great for taking a swim include the Basin, Longreach bay, Little Parakeet Bay, and Geordie Bay.

As the island is a nature reserve, public vehicles are not aloud, so the best and most fun way to explore the island is by bike.

The variety of fish, coral species and shipwrecks in the waters surrounding Rottnest Island make it one of the most fascinating snorkelling destinations to be found in such close proximity to a capital city.

The island has the best of both worlds, because it is the perfect getaway for lovers wanting to take long strolls along a sunset lit beach, or a great place to take the kids to enjoy some fun in the sun. 

Norfolk Island:

Norfolk Island is a green paradise in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean that is the perfect island destination if you want to escape the rest of the world.

The island has a rich colonial history, and this can be seen in its beautiful architecture. You can spend your afternoon on a Convict Settlement Tour of the Kingston area, where you can walk through the cemetery, old gaol, boat shed and other ruins.

If getting active is more you thing, then head to Slaughter Bay for some windsurfing. The island also has great fishing, and locals say catching fish like Red Emperor’s and Kingfish is almost guaranteed. Emily Bay is said to be the safest swimming beach, but the best snorkelling is at Cemetery Bay, Slaughter Bay and off the Salt Mill.

As this island is not considered a territory of Australia, but simply a territory under its own control, a passport is required. 

Kangaroo Island:

This island is one of Australia’s great natural wonders, and is often known as the ‘zoo without fences’. Expect to meet local sea lions on the beach at Seal Bay, and encounter little penguins at Kingscote and Penneshaw as they head home at dusk.

On Kangaroo Island you can indulge yourself in some of South Australia’s renowned food and wine. The fresh local seafood is second to none, and the locally produced wines, pure Ligurian honey, hand made cheeses and fresh yoghurt are sure to treat the most discerning taste bud.

Seal Bay, Kangaroo Island
Seal Bay, Kangaroo Island

Not only is the wildlife and food great, but the scenery is really something that needs to be seen to be believed. Walk amongst the amazing rock formations, like the huge weather sculpted granite boulders, the Remarkable Rocks and the equally impressive Admirals Arch.

Want to go for a surf or swim? Well you better head down to Pennington or Stokes Bay. There is no need to fear over-crowded beaches on this island, as the sensational surf breaks are a well kept secret. The islands sandy beaches and wonderful turquoise waters are perfect for swimming, surfing and fishing.

You can access the island by ferry or plane to visit for a day or stay a while. There really is no other place quite like it.

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