Words by Carlie Tucker
Are you longing for the soft white sands and crystalline waters of an island holiday? If you've been dreaming of gentle sea breezes and shading yourself beneath towering palms, you may be looking to the Maldives or even Fiji. But, the serenity of a secluded getaway is closer than you think.
The Queensland coast is peppered with tropical islands, many of which boast premium resorts ready to treat guests to all the trappings expected of a memorable island getaway. It doesn't matter if you're seeking family-friendly fun or a simple day trip, these Queensland islands have what you need.
Image courtesy of lizardisland.com.au
Luxury Lovers: Lizard Island
Reachable only by private carter from Cairns Airport, this exclusive island is all about unsurpassed luxury on the Great Barrier Reef. There are just 40 suites available, each one dripping in exquisite beauty designed to coexist with its natural surrounds, with private plunge pools offering incredible ocean panoramas. Though, the rooms are just the beginning.
A host of unique experiences will enhance your island stay. Imagine sunset degustations on private beaches and indulgent spa treatments at the Essentia Day Spa. When you're not lavishing in the resort amenities and facilities, explore the natural offerings at your doorstep. Guided walks and nature trails highlight the terrestrial beauty while snorkelling and diving tours showcase the incredible marine life of the reef.
Family Fun: Daydream Island
When it comes to family fun, Daydream Island in the Whitsundays offers it in spades without skimping on style. The 4.5-star resort features 269 rooms and suites with eight different configurations to ensure a room that caters to guests both young and old. This includes the Family Rooms, featuring two interconnecting rooms that allow ample space for everyone to spread out and enjoy their island getaway in comfort.
Family-friendly considerations go beyond the spacious rooms, though, with multiple dining options to suit all tastebuds and a roster of activities to engage and entertain all ages. The little ones can play at the supervised Skippers Club (programs are available for ages 0-12), while mum and dad get into holiday mode with a treatment or two at the Rejuvenation Spa. There's a Living Reef with guided fish feeding, ranger programs, night tours and the Stingray Splash, or set out together to discover the island with jet ski hires, banana boat rides, paddle board tours, golfing or snorkelling lessons!
Looking for more luxury island experiences? A Luxury Guide To The Cook Islands
How about island hopping from Auckland? Escape The City: 5 Island Day Trips From Auckland
Image courtesy of Getty
Outdoor Enthusiasts: Fraser Island
As the largest sand island in the world, Fraser Island's outdoor fun seems limitless. Stretching more than 123 kilometres with beautiful beaches, striking sand cliffs, more than 100 fresh water lakes and ancient rainforests, there is an adventure around every corner. Set off on a 4WD adventure, or slow things down with a fishing stint on 75-Mile Beach. Considered to be one of the best fishing beaches in the world, both beginners and seasoned anglers will delight in casting a line. Rainforest walks offer incredible views of the unique vegetation that thrives in sand, but don't forget to dabble in the abundant water activities available. Whether it's snorkelling the surrounding coastline or swimming in the crystal waters of beautiful Lake McKenzie.
When it comes time to wind things down, the accommodation options are as varied as the outdoor fun. Campgrounds are available for those that want to truly be at one with nature, but if you'd rather something a little more luxurious, the Kingfisher Bay Resort is a nice choice. Offering a selection of rooms, villas and lodges, plush comfort with all the extras is assured.
Adults Only: Hamilton Island
Another top island retreat in the Whitsundays, Hamilton Island is an ideal choice for those that want to escape without the kids. Not only is it the perfect base from which to explore the Great Barrier Reef and world-famous Whitehaven Beach, Hamilton Island hosts a handful of adults-only resorts that swathe guests in a cocoon of luxury. This includes the award-winning qualia. Every expectation is surpassed with just 60 pavilions to choose from, all of which feature the luxury of spacious layouts framed by picture-perfect views of the Whitsundays.
Guests are also treated to a number of experiences, including a signature series exclusive to the resort. Culinary classes and tastings, private beach excursions complete with a picnic lunch, a day of pampering at Spa qualia and sunset cruises are just the tip of the iceberg.
Image courtesy of Getty
Day Trippers: Green Island
If you only have time to experience Queensland's island hopping lifestyle for a single day, Green Island has you covered. While it's certainly well worth an extended visit, it also offers day-trippers a perfect spot to pack a mini escape into a small amount of time. Full day and half day tours are available that will whisk you from Cairns to the sandy shores of Green Island where you will have access to many of the resorts facilities.
The day is yours to explore be it on a rainforest walk or simply relaxing on the white sandy beaches. Just make sure you venture into the water to explore the incredible corals and marine life surrounding the island. Snorkelling, glass bottom boat rides, reef tours, scenic flights and even parasailing are just some of the ways you can enjoy your time, limited as it may be, at Green Island.