The Queensland Islands are one of the most popular tourist destination areas in Australia, home to over 2,000 islands that are known for their gorgeous natural landscapes and white sand beaches. The islands stretch along Australia's northeastern coastline between the Sunshine Coast and Cape York, bordered by portions of the nation's famed Great Barrier Reef. Visitors can enjoy chances for ecotourism at several lovely national and local parks, which protect rainforest habitats and populations of native animal life. Luxury resorts on several islands have been named among the best in the world, noted for their sustainability and five-star amenities.
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Fitzroy Island is a lovely continental island just off the coast of Djujbirri, located just 15 miles southeast of the city of Cairns, Queensland. The island, which is accessible via a 45-minute ferry route from Cairns, is surrounded by a barrier reef system that forms portions of gorgeous Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Most of the island's lands are protected within beautiful Fitzroy Island National Park, which is populated by lush rainforest habitats. Preserved historic lighthouses can be toured throughout the year along Lighthouse Road. Stunning Nudey Beach has been named as Australia's top beach by Tourism Australia writer Brad Farmer, offering excellent conditions for stand-up paddleboarding and glass-bottom sea kayaking.
Magnetic Island is a lovely five-mile island located just offshore of the city of Townsville, located within beautiful Cleveland Bay. The island, which serves as a suburban area for Townsville, is accessible from the mainland via the Townsville Breaker to Nelly Bay Harbour ferry route. A gorgeous 10-square-mile National Park is located on the island, home to beautiful walking trails and preserved World War II-era fort structures. It earns its name from the supposed "magnetic" effect it has had on ships traveling throughout the region, which has led to shipwrecks such as the wreck of the SS City of Adelaide, which can be seen off the island's shores at Cockle Bay. Angling opportunities abound, including chances to catch blue and black marlin, sailfish, mackerel, and coral trout.
Moreton Island is a protected sand island located just off the shoreline of southeastern Queensland, known for its gorgeous beachfront structures and unique natural wonders like Mount Tempest. The island, which is located within the boundaries of the City of Brisbane, is home to the communities of Bulwer, Cowan Cowan, Kooringal, and Moreton Island. Most of the island is contained within beautiful Moreton Island National Park, which is designated as a World Conservation Union Category II park. Recreational opportunities abound, including chances for sand tobogganing, snorkeling, diving, and wildlife watching. Along the island's west coast, the Tangalooma Wrecks site preserves a group of sunken shipwrecks.
Lizard Island is a lovely island on Queensland's Great Barrier Reef, located within gorgeous Lizard Island National Park within the town of Lizard in Cook Shire. The island, which is located within the Lizard Island Group near Palfrey Island, is home to the famed Lizard Island Research Station, which is operated by the Australian Museum and provides educational support for coral reef research. Luxury resort Lizard Island Resort, overseen by Delaware North, is home to 40 villas and a plethora of private watersports opportunities on the Great Barrier Reef waterfront. 24 powder-white beaches are open to the public, along with famed water areas like beautiful Blue Lagoon and popular dive site Cod Hole.
© InterContinental Hayman Island Resort (Whitsundays)
Hayman Island is the northernmost island within the gorgeous Whitsunday Islands, located just off the coast of Central Queensland. The private island is open to the public throughout the year, best known as the home of the luxury Royal Hayman Hotel resort of aviation pioneer Reg Ansett, which was opened in 1950. Today, it is a popular tourist destination within the Queensland region, attracting guests via private luxury motor yacht or charter helicopter. Five-star amenities are offered throughout the gorgeous resort, which showcases 244 guest rooms and suites, including penthouse and villa accommodations. The hotel's grounds have been transformed into a gorgeous botanical garden, which showcases over 327 native and exotic plant species.
Fraser Island is the world's largest sand island, stretching 74.5 miles off Australia's Eastern Queensland coastline. The island is a popular destination for camping and ecotourism throughout the year, located on sands that have been accumulating atop volcanic bedrock for three-quarters of a million years. Since 1992, the island has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can enjoy excellent opportunities for swimming and watersports at sites like Lake McKenzie and Lake Wabby or explore gorgeous natural wonders, including the Indian Head panoramic viewpoint rock outcropping and the colored-sand-ribbon cliffs of the Cathedrals. Native rainforests line the island's interior, home to saltwater crocodiles and a variety of native mammal species.
7.North Stradbroke Island
North Stradbroke Island, colloquially known as North Straddie, is a picturesque island that sits within Moreton Bay, located just 19 miles southeast of Brisbane's gorgeous city center. The island was connected to nearby Stradbroke Island until 1896, when a major storm separated its land mass and formed the Jumpinpin Channel. It is the second-largest sand island in the world today, measuring over 106 square miles in size. Visitors can enjoy excellent opportunities for swimming, surfing, bodyboarding, and paddling at Cylinder Beach, known for its photogenic white sands. Brown and Blue Lakes are home to cultural sites connected to the region's indigenous Quandamooka people, while the North Gorge showcases stunning coastal views and chances to see migrating humpback whales on the ocean shoreline.
Hamilton Island is a beautiful island within the Whitsunday Islands chain, located just off the shore of Queensland near the Great Barrier Reef. The car-free island is a popular year-round tourist destination, best known as the home of the annual Hamilton Island Race Week yachting festival, which attracts more than 250 yachters each year for a week of high-profile races. In 2015, the island received Australian Traveller's "Most Desirable Island Escape" Award. Several excursion companies offer excursions to nearby Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and chances to see migrating humpback whales along the island's shores each summer. The island is a popular destination location for weddings, hosting the second-most weddings of any site within the country each year.
Pumpkin Island is a privately-owned island within Keppel Bay, located 8.5 miles off the coastline of Yeppoon within the southern portion of the Great Barrier Reef. The island, which has been named as the world's sixth most-expensive island, is owned and operated as a tourist destination by Sojourn Properties. It is home to a gorgeous hotel that has been named as Australia's most sustainable hotel by the World Boutique Hotel Awards, offering amazing opportunities for ecotourism throughout the year. Visitors can stay in self-catering cottages and bungalows and enjoy chances for snorkeling, kayaking, oyster harvesting, and swimming throughout the year.
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9 Best Queensland Islands, Australia