Our Five Aussie Favourites

As the days get longer and the breezes warmer, it’s the perfect time to explore the idyllic islands located off our incredible coastline. As a country surrounded by sea there are so many islands you could choose to explore this summer, (8,222 to be exact) where do you start? Here are our five Aussie favourites that everyone has to visit at least once!

Heron Island, Gladstone

Located off the coast of Gladstone in central Queensland, Heron Island is one of the most breath-taking islands on the Great Barrier Reef. The bone white sand and clear turquoise waters barely look real and with around 200 turtles permanent residents of the island you need not worry about turtle season to guarantee a sighting. Known as one of the best dive sites in Australia, the surrounding wrecks make for incredible snorkelling if you’ve yet to get your dive ticket. You can catch a ferry from the Gladstone Marina, and we recommend you stay a couple days on the island to explore all it has to offer, and our friendly receptionists at Oaks Grand Gladstone can arrange it all for you at a special discounted price.

 Philip Island, Melbourne

Off the coast of Melbourne, Philip Island is home to the Penguin Parade, a magical sunset march of these adorable creatures from the ocean to their homes, that every child large and small will enjoy, (just make sure you’re rugged up). You can also get up close and personal with the entertaining colony of fur seals (one of the largest in Australia) as they frolic around on the island’s famous Seal Rock. As an island accessible by bridge it is an easy 2 hour drive from Melbourne or have one of our lovely staff arrange for a tour, with pick-up and drop-off at your Oaks hotel.

 Kangaroo Island, Adelaide

No trip to South Australia is complete without a hop, skip and jump (excuse the pun) over to Kangaroo Island, but despite the name it isn’t all about kangaroos. You will also be treated to close encounters with the huge sea lions in Seal Bay and koala’s in Hanson Bay. As the third largest island off mainland Australia, there’s kilometres of beaches to choose from but we recommend a stop at Vivonne Bay, once voted Australia’s Best Beach. Kangaroo Island is just a 2 hour drive from Adelaide with a comfortable 45 minute barge or connections are available to/from Adelaide itself and can be arranged for you through reception at Oaks Embassy, Adelaide.

 Stradbroke Island, Brisbane

Just off the coast of Queensland’s capital city of Brisbane is this rarely frequented island gem. Known for its incredible surf breaks and perfect viewing spots for the migrating whales each season North Stradbroke is an easy day trip only a 40 minute ride from Cleveland, just south of the city. You can opt to take your car on the barge, which is the better option for families to avoid carrying all your belongings, or simply jump on a water taxi. Whether you opt to view the myriad of turtles, manta ray, dolphins and whales from the viewing platforms positioned around the headland, or swim with them in one of the many beaches, you will feel a million miles away from the city. Oaks can cater to all your needs with 11 different hotels in Brisbane.

 Magnetic Island, Townsville

Fondly referred to as Maggie by the locals, this small island is only a 20 minute ferry ride from Townsville, ideal for day-trips and is teeming with local wildlife. You can hire a topless car or classic moke and zoom around the island, or hike one of its lush tropical trails. Entertain the rock wallabies or do the Forts Walk to spot a koala taking a nap in the trees. For those searching for that perfect panoramic, we recommend climbing the remaining structures from WWII to overlook the whole island. Or if you’re after a more relaxing itinerary, sunbake on the beach at Horseshoe Bay and watch the sun set over the ocean from the jetty at Picnic Bay. It’s ideal for those who love the great outdoors with plenty of wildlife encounters.

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