Thousands and thousands of tourists visit Australia every year for its beautiful beaches, buzzing cities, shopping, and wildlife. Yet many travelers focus on the mainland while missing out on some off-shore fun, and we’re not talking about boat cruises either. Rarely will you hear a snooty traveler casually scoffing “Oh, I’m just popping off to the Australian Islands, ” yet some of the best islands in Australia offer rich cultural experiences of both its Indigenous people, and its recent European history. If you want to take a holiday from crowds of tourists and little kids, here are some Islands of Australia you may not have ever considered visiting.
Bruny Island – If the history of European settlement in Australia is more your thing, Tasmania’s Bruny Island offers up great museums and history rooms, as well as rainforests, national parks, beaches, and enough scenic walking routes to occupy an entire few days. The island is just a short ferry ride off Tasmania’s North-East coast.
Lord Howe Island – If you want to experience one of the most beautiful and popular islands in the entire Pacific Ocean, yet avoid all the big hotel chains and tourists, Lord Howe Island is the place to be. Despite the fact that the island is less than a two-hour flight from Sydney, you’ll think you’ve landed in a different world. Just 400 people are allowed to stay on the island at any one time, leaving visitors free to enjoy the World Heritage listed island’s endless, untouched stretches of Park Preserve and ecosystems. For the adventurous, there are plenty of snorkeling, scuba diving and hiking trips. Don’t forget your camera either – your friends back home will be dying to see your snaps from the lost world. All major airlines offer daily flights to Sydney, where you can catch a flight straight to the island. Alternatively, there are plenty of flights to Brisbane, where you can also get a connecting flight to Lord Howe.
Bathurst Island – Home of the Tiwi Aborigine tribes, Bathurst Island has no hordes of tourists, and no accommodation. Camping is the only way to stay overnight, but this gives you the best chance to experience authentic Indigenous culture first hand. Visits to Tiwi communities, performances of traditional tribal dances, waterhole swimming and lessons about bush food and medicine are all part of the experience. Tours depart from Darwin airport and a tour package includes airfares to the island, transport around the island, permits to stay on the island, and all camping equipment and meals.
Australia has many more islands of course, both tourist-inhabited and more desolate. So, while the Hamilton Islands are great, take a chance to look at some of Australia’s more obscure destinations. We promise you won’t miss the palm trees or big crowded holiday resorts one single bit.
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