Aussie ABC – I is for Islands!

Last Updated on April 16, 2019 by Red Nomad OZ

Mounts Gower and Lidgbird, Lord Howe Island, New South Wales
Mounts Gower and Lidgbird, Lord Howe Island, New South Wales


I’ve spent my entire life on Islands large and small. But only if you count Australia! Some say it’s the world’s biggest island, some the smallest continent, others don’t actually care …

Historic Supply Landing, Kangaroo Island
Historic Supply Landing, Kangaroo Island

But me? Of COURSE it’s an island! Anything to add more bragging rights another world class experience to my loud, proud Aussie portfolio!

But while my devotion to the BIG island is well documented, Australia’s 8222 other islands often lure us away from the mainland, and into a different world. Island magic weaves its spell from the moment that sea crossing – an actual rite of passage – physically separates the traveller from her/his troubles, and lands her/him in what is more often than not a wondrous amalgam of staggering scenery, wonderful wildlife and relentless relaxation.

That’s been our collective experience of 20+ Aussie islands in 25+ years, anyway!!
But even after eliminating islands that can’t be reached the discerning traveller is left with several thousand from which to choose – each with its own history, natural attractions, activities, wildlife and character.

So narrow the field even further and follow me around OZ for my Idiosyncratic Individualised 5-Island Introduction!

Horseshoe Bay, Magnetic Island, Far North Queensland
Horseshoe Bay, Magnetic Island, Far North Queensland

1.  For … ‘Idyllic‘, try Magnetic Island, Far North Queensland!

Magnetic Island walking track Nelly Bay to Arcadia
Magnetic Island walking track Nelly Bay to Arcadia

So much more than the twanging tourists and wandering wildlife I’ve previously described (see below), Magnetic Island perfectly combines natural attractions with niceties; charm with convenience; and laid back lifestyle with luxury.

Only 8 km offshore from Townsville, it’s easy to get to Magnetic Island by ferry, and even easier to stay … National parks, beaches and bays, a variety of accommodation and dining options (yes! a bakery!) and its own public transport system make this island an archetypal idyllic tropical paradise!

2.  For ‘Incomparable‘, try Lord Howe Island, New South Wales!

The high incidence of world class attractions ensures this small island 600 km off the New South Wales coast a steady stream of visitors and makes it one of my all time favourite Australian travel destinations. It’s also the scene of my one and only triathlon attempt … but that’s another story (see link below)!

Looking South from Kims Lookout, Lord Howe Island
Looking South from Kims Lookout, Lord Howe Island

Lord Howe Island’s well deserved world heritage status manifested in staggering scenery, numerous endemics and fascinating history is best experienced over as lengthy a period of time as you can afford. Add to that (arguably) the most scenic public toilet in Australia AND a bakery, and you’d be ill-advised to ignore this incomparable island!

3.  For ‘Incredible‘, try Griffiths Island, Victoria!

Lighthouse, Griffiths Island, via Port Fairy, Victoria
Lighthouse, Griffiths Island, via Port Fairy, Victoria
Muttonbird Burrow, Griffiths Island
Muttonbird Burrow, Griffiths Island

Migrating muttonbirds (Short-tailed Shearwater) manage the 15,000 km flight from their home in the Aleutian Islands and Kamchatka Peninsula so as to arrive at their nesting grounds on Griffiths Island within 3 days of 22nd September every year!! Incredible!

As is the engineering feat that combined two islands into one at the mouth of Port Fairy’s Moyne River, and the island’s interesting history and glorious scenery. Every day at sundown, the muttonbirds return from the sea to roost and feed their chicks in their nesting burrows – an incredible sight which one day we’ll get to see!

4.  For ‘Intriguing‘, try Kangaroo Island, South Australia!

Kangaroo Island, South Australia
Kangaroo Island, South Australia
Remarkable Rocks, Kangaroo Island
Remarkable Rocks, Kangaroo Island

Australia’s 3rd largest island, this eclectic mixture of unspoiled beaches, Remarkable Rocks (their actual name!), seal colonies, lighthouses, sand dunes, national parks and the purest strain of Ligurian bees in the world is one of South Australia’s premier attractions.

With a number of settlements, a strong eco-tourism presence and a plethora of natural attractions (a study once named Vivonne Bay the top beach in Australia) ‘KI’, as it is known downunder, is South Australia’s answer to the northern tropics!

5.  For ‘Infamous‘, try the Abrolhos Islands, Western Australia!

Albrohos Islands, Western Australia (photo courtesy Bill's Diving Blog )
Albrohos Islands, Western Australia (photo courtesy Bill’s Diving Blog )
Batavia's Anchor, Albrohos Islands WA  (photo courtesy Bill's Diving Blog )
Batavia’s Anchor, Albrohos Islands WA  (photo courtesy Bill’s Diving Blog )

If mutiny and shipwreck, with theft, murder, rape, a psychopathic anti-hero and the general breakdown of civilisation in the 106 days before rescue sounds a little too much like ‘Extreme Survivor’, then you probably don’t want to read the sensational true story of the Batavia, wrecked off the Western Australian coast on the Albrohos islands in 1629!

This compelling tale of degeneration, dastardly deeds and despair on the islands has been the subject of many studies, novels, films and TV series, but it’s probably too melodramatic to say I’m dying to visit one day!!

Happily, Perth Daily Photo supplied these pictures from her friend and mentor Bill, whose excellent Bill’s Diving Blog has even more photos of these infamous islands, now home to much less sensational ecotourism pursuits!

Albrohos Islands, Western Australia (photo courtesy of Bill's Diving Blog )
Albrohos Islands, Western Australia (photo courtesy of Bill’s Diving Blog )

Yes, I know.

It’s all too beautiful, isn’t it?

And you want to see it for yourself, right??

So what are you waiting for?


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  1. @Alf – I’m SOOOO jealous!!! A boat tour of the harbour in 1998 was my introduction to both the Whitsundays, and boom-netting!! But I don’t envy you the tropical cyclones …
    @FruitCake – Well … I lived in Adelaide for MANY years and have only visited once – and then only because our neighbours invited us! We keep meaning to go back – but of course you’re right about the side roads … I’ve been to Tas for work, but never to Pt A. That’s another one on the wish list!!! I’m going to run out of time – and yet people still ask what we’re going to do when we’ve ‘finished’ Australia!

  2. Every time I see pictures of KI I wonder how I could have lived at Port Lincoln for more than two years and never visited. But I guess one of the great things about OZ is that we can run here and there like demented ants and still leave wondering what’s off the side of a side road…
    Port Arthur is not just a place but an experience not to be missed. [Unless you live nearby, of course.]

  3. Got you bookmarked mate.
    Some really nice photos here.
    I’ve got views over 13 Islands from my place in Shute Harbour. Cheers, Alf.

  4. @Mary – It’d take a hard heart to resist the OZ coastline! So why try??!!
    @Ken G – For someone who likes RED so much, I sure use a lot of blue, don’t I?
    @Courtney – Even I am surprised by the impact these photos have when put together!! If I’d loaded several hundred island shots on FB, it wouldn’t have been so dramatic!!

  5. Just when I think you can’t share anymore stunning photos than the last time, you do. WOW!!!!! These are INCREDIBLE images, Red!!!!!

  6. Fascinating and beautiful. It sounds like you have been on the go for most of the 20 years you speak of. You certainly have some wonderful photos of your adventures. Some of those coastlines are calling me. I’d love to visit. Have a wonderful day. Blessings…Mary

  7. @FrankandMary – Haha! I SO get that!! But you don’t have to be a surfie to want to live here!!!
    @NixBlog – Thanx! If you’ve got an Aussie island photo/post, then hook up!
    @Bush & Beach – Thank you for joining in! I hope this island list will atract readers for a long time to come …
    @PDP – And there’s a little surf beach down in Victoria that they keep coming to – Bells Beach!! But to be fair, the pix I chose are all of lagoons/bays/safe water. Maybe I need to mix it up a bit!! So glad Bill is so glad. Just LOVE his photos – hope the link brings him many new visitors!!

  8. OMG Red, did ‘Cathy at wives with knives’ really think we don’t have surfing spots here..Margaret River down to the South of Perth has some of the best surfing in the WORLD. Only a few weeks ago they had huge competitions there, and believe me Kelly Slater doesn’t come where the waves aren’t tops.. I just automatically think that the rest of the world knows that Australia has a strong surfing culture. Love the post Red and Bill is thrilled that you used his photo’s.

  9. Aren’t we lucky to have soooo many beautiful islands and I love the look of Lord Howe Island. I have added my Norfolk Is and North Stradbroke Is posts to your collection and have included a link back to your fantastic island blog. Well done!!

  10. Now I am officially on BLUE OVERLOAD, but I am really not complaining. So very breathtaking.

    Friends of mine moved to Australia & could not stay employed(actually, well employed)there, but still, they did NOT want to come home(surfer dudes ;o). ~Mary

  11. @SFlaGuy – I’ve loaded some Lord Howe Is pix onto Flickr, and the rest are on their way!! As for your mermaid – LOVED your siren experience and the photos are AMAZING!!! And this little OZ amateur photographer is STOKED that you’re impressed!!
    @Sallie – Come back anytime!! I guess that’s why I don’t post every day … I had no idea there were THAT many islands either ’til I started researching!! But remember – we only have Wiki’s word for it!!!

  12. @Saucy Kod – Aha! Just look below the post for the Lord Howe Triathlon link!!! KI definitely deserves another visit – but then, so do they all!!
    @Cathy – The calm is deceptive!! OZ is actually known for its surf beaches – they’re just not shown in these photos!!!
    @Beach Bum – Yep, islands are the perfect mid-life crisis antidote! And I don’t think DW will be too upset if you took her somewhere like this to celebrate your MLC!
    @Kath – And I’m yet to visit the Albrohos AND the other 8000 odd … maybe we should get a joint ticket??!!

  13. @Andrew – Hey, thanx for (dare I say) hooking up! Now you’ll need another drink to look at all the links!!
    @Mrs Tuna – Jealousy will get you everywhere!!!
    @TriGirl – I was actually quite impressed myself when I put all the pix together!
    @Johanna – Welcome! If you have a post about Rottnest, please link it up!! I’ve been to more as well – but tragically haven’t got photos from the early days!!
    @Mark – I’m honoured!! But isn’t it weird how everyone associates me with bakeries and public toilets?!?! Don’t understand it at all!!!

  14. What a fantastic post. Love the pics and the headings as well. I went to Magnetic Island back in 1983, and also to Hamilton Island, and would love to revisit. Now you’ve got me a-wishing to visit all the others too 🙂 Of course Rottnest Island over this side is indeed a pleasure – especially for spotting Quokkas.

  15. STUNNING PHOTOS – please pardon the yelling but wow!!!! Are these loaded to Flickr yet?? And hey – did you see my little mermaid? When she sees this beach she will be there in a tail flip.

  16. I’ve only visited two out of the five you recommend but …. one day ….. when I remember to buy that lotto ticket ….

  17. Wow!

    This was just awesome. I love the very concept of being surrounded by water and cut off from the craziness of modern life. This tour was incredible and I just wish I could see some of those places with my own eyes.

  18. Wow, love your photos, OZ. We have such a big, powerful surf on our beaches and it’s interesting to see how calm yours are. No surfing in Australia, I guess. Beautiful nonetheless.

  19. Really fantastic post Red. I was especially drawn to Kangaroo Island, with the remarkable rocks – love to see more photos there. Beautiful scenery on all the islands and of course you know I am drawn to “Lighthouses” – Wow, the Mounts Gower and Lidgbird on Lord Howe Island are quite beautiful and I am amazed at the stone walls of the supply landing on Kangaroo Island.
    OK, I’m sure you have sparked the interest of your followers and we all vote to hear of the “Triathlon Attempt”………..have a great day 🙂

  20. Hey Red, I have a post especially for you on Clarence Valley Today. Welcome to Uralla Monday 2nd april.
    Hope you like!

  21. All I can say is ‘Wow!’ to all of these islands, and I’m sure the other 8217 islands off Australia offer even more incredible adventures. While I would definitely like to see the Remarkable Rocks in person, I think Lord Howe Island is the one I would choose if I could only visit one island.

  22. @Rae – There’s so many aren’t there?! WA is a largely unexplored area for us – you’ve prompted me to look for more! If you have an OZ island post, feel free to link it up!
    @Manzanita – They do draw the eye, don’t they?! Great to see you back – look forward to catching up more often!!
    @TMWH – Just take the link … Hope you enjoyed the other posts!!
    @Betty – This way you can see OZ without actually going to the mainland!!!
    @George – You’ve picked the best! Lord Howe Island is my favourite too – it really is amazing!!

  23. @Andrew – How many drinks did you end up having then?!?! I hope it was worth it … why not link up your Phillip Island posts?
    @Yvette – the islands ARE stunning!! But there are still so many more to see …
    @Tash – Thanx so much for linking up! I’ve never been to Cockatoo Island – it looks like a great little spot!!
    @Linda – Thank you too – it’s wonderful to see some islands I haven’t visited on the linky. I could have chosen ‘Industrial’ (!!) but MUCH prefer your ‘Imaginative’ – love the mangroves, and less development/people is ALWAYS a bonus!!

  24. Ohhhh, Green Island is my favourite Aussie Island (that I have been to!).
    This is a great post linky idea! Well done! Have added mine!

  25. wow! the islands are all so beautiful!

    i’ve always wanted to go to australia; now i want to go even more!

    terrific shots, great views!
    thanks o much for sharing:)

    big hugs!

  26. I want to hear about this triathalon…

    Beautiful photos, and now you’ve given me lots of blogs to read today. What a generous gift!

  27. I thought the same as Rubye…. I want to climb down those rock steps. Looks like the geography where I grew up. Beautiful blue skies again. I missed seeing your breath-taking photos.

  28. Wow ! Fabulous post . I was just reading a travellers guide to WA islands today and it got me thinking that I would like to go to quite a few islands in addition to those that are near to Perth. Like the Bay of Isles near Esperance, Abrolhos (a long held dream – love the pic), Dirk Hartog (interesting history), Ningaloo Reef and Archipelago to name a few. You have certainly got me dreaming again. Now will just need to get into a little action! Thanks for your prompting.

  29. Red your photos are stunning and the scenery is gorgeous! You’re almost convincing me to start making plans to move here, the thought is brewing but it’ll most likely remain a thought. Australia is absolutely beautiful, as are those who live in this amazing country! My heart’s in Canada though but who knows what tomorrow might bring. Cheers, thanks for the dreams!

  30. Gosh did you get down those stone steps to the historic Supply landing?! Hope you had a sweet travel across to K.I. and back, I’ve heard sometimes a little bumpy. Loving the big rock; indeed remarkable.

  31. ‘Imaginative’ is for the South Moreton Bay Islands where I live, which are in the Bay off Brisbane, Queensland –

    Unlike Stradbroke Island, which lies just to our east facing onto the Pacific Ocean and being the second largest sand island in the world after Fraser Island lives up to the classic Australian island image of being surrounded by golden sands…
    We’re surrounded by mangroves that require a little ‘imagination’ to see past their sulphurous sediment and to notice their true beauty –

    As a consequence they’re not so populated by the human species, leaving the wondrous array of wildlife – birds, reptiles and crustaceans to be enjoyed by the dedicated, or those who enjoy approaching from the silence of a kayak, from which the mangroves are truly magical 🙂

  32. The islands look stunning, I so wish I was back in Australia – on a more permanent basis – so I could explore them! Thanks for sharing them 🙂

  33. @Alessandra – it IS a little weird thinking about it like that!! But I love islands too – you’re as safe there as anywhere else, I say!
    @diane b – I was surprised too! Thanx for the link – and thanx for linking up below!!
    @Windsmoke – Thank you! Cool to see you back!! I’d have included Philip Island but I a) haven’t been there and b) haven’t got any pix! Soon, maybe!!
    @ladyfi – Well, that’s OZ for you!!
    @Joan E – Haha, I have only been there once for work … so my pix from the top of Mt W are all I have!! Hoping someone else links up their Tassie posts …

  34. @Rubye – Actually, not so cool! It’s WAAAAAY steeper than I would have the guts to try – it was made for a flying fox/pulley system!
    @MJWC – As your USA would be to me if I saw it through YOUR eyes! There is beauty everywhere – we just have to look for it wherever we are!
    @Magsx2 – And I’ll have to go again! We only spent 4 days there over Easter, so well overdue for a ‘proper’ visit!!
    @Carole M – Oh no! It’s not meant as access for people – there was a pulley system there to haul supplies up. And (I guess) down!
    @darlin – If you’re dreaming, then my work is done! Can’t you have the best of both worlds somehow?

  35. Bonza photos and information. How about including Phillip Island down here in Victoria next time round with its Penguin Parade and Seals :-).

  36. Now that I think about it I spent more than half my life on islands (UK, Japan and now NZ), and since I grew up in a peninsula (if anything like a massive tsunami happened I could escape into the continent), thinking about being on an island, with only water around, makes me sea sick!!!

    hahahaha. Don’t worry, I love islands!


  37. Hi,
    What a fantastic photo of the supply landing at Kangaroo Island, that is awesome, it certainly is a long way down, must of been hell to get supply’s to the top. I will definitely have to go to kangaroo Island one day, I think it would be fantastic to explore.

  38. I thought the United States was one of the most beautiful countries there was, but you are proving me wrong. Your Australia is just beautiful. Maybe it is because I see it through your eyes.

  39. It would be so very cool to climb down those wannabe stairs on Kangaroo Island to the ocean below. I can easily imagine it.

    The islands are all beautiful Red!

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