If you think there’s not enough time this long weekend to escape to an island, think again! Australia is surrounded by some of the most dazzling islands in the world, and these are all reachable in four hours or less (depending on where you live!).
Whether you want to surf, dive, discover wildlife or explore, the Solomon Islands are a dream. Must-sees include the Marovo and Langa Langa Lagoons, the Central Market in Honiara, Skull Island, the war museums and Mataniko Falls. Definitely the place for explorers, history buffs and beach and diving lovers.
Fun fact: The Solomons comprise of six major islands and over 900 smaller ones!
If you’re on the west coast and keen to escape somewhere truly magical for the long weekend, set your sights on Christmas Island. You’ll get to dive or snorkel in beautifully blue waters (just remember your reef shoes), hike through rainforests to reach spectacular waterfalls, watch the annual red crab migration or swim in The Grotto cave pool. How luxurious!
Fun fact: Christmas Island was named after the day it was discovered: December 25th, 1643.
Remote and rugged but perfectly visitable all year round, Flinders Island offers the opportunity to bushwalk, beach walk, hike, golf, fish, spot native wildlife, dive to shipwrecks or simply take in the striking breadth of the Bass Strait. Sampling the local produce is a must for tourists, as is stopping at Settlement Point (if there from November to April) to see huge flocks of mutton birds.
Fun fact: Thousands of years ago, Flinders Island acted as a land-bridge between Tasmania and the Australian mainland.
Just off the coast of the Northern Territory, the Tiwi Islands consist of Melville Island and Bathurst Island, as well as nine smaller islands. To visit, you’ll need to book a tour with an Aboriginal guide and staying overnight is only permitted in the local fishing lodges (great if you’re into fishing!). Other than getting to know the people and culture, exploring the colourful Tiwi arts and crafts available is recommended.
Fun fact: The Tiwis are also known as the ‘Islands of Smiles.’
The glorious Kangaroo Island is a combination of gorgeous national parks, unforgettable coastal journeys and iconic Aussie wildlife (tip: check out Seal Bay Conservation Park), as well as local attractions like food experiences and cellar doors, markets, festivals and art galleries. Self-driving (via ferry) is a great way to explore and there are plenty of camping and caravan park sites as well.
Fun fact: If you think Kangaroo Island is small, you’d be wrong. It’s about 7 times the size of Singapore!
Looking for an island paradise just a short jump from Sydney? Lord Howe brings you crystal clear and warm waters, the chance to dive and snorkel in standout coral reefs, and endless opportunities for outdoor activities, from handfeeding fish and birdwatching to kiteboarding and lawn bowling. Ensure you hike up to Mount Gower and/or Malabar Hill for some superb island views!
Fun fact: You won’t encounter crowds of tourists here. Only 400 visitors are allowed at any one time.