Queensland islands

Islands are dotted along Queensland’s 7,000km coastline and are scattered up to and along the Great Barrier Reef. From the world’s largest sand islands in the south east to the unspoiled paradise of the Torres Strait, you’ll find an island to fit your next family escape, couple retreat or solo adventure.

Whether you’re after soft silica sand or isolated coral cays with easy access to the reef, our islands have footprint-ready beaches that’ll entice you to throw down a towel, prep your beach umbrella or set up camp and relax.

Venture beyond the beach on most islands and you’ll find freshwater creeks, hiking trails and lush rainforests to explore. Intrepid travellers or budding photographers hungry for their next shoot location will find look outs and peaks to capture sunrises, sunsets and ocean views any time in between. 

And when you’re exhausted, retreat to your luxury resort or budget accommodation. Either way, you’ll make island memories that’ll last a lifetime.

Islands off Queensland

Take your pick of the 900 islands off Queensland’s coast, starting in the Whitsundays. Visit one of its 74 tropical islands, and be sure to stick your feet in the sand of the famous Whitehaven Beach. From Townsville, you’ll be within reach of koalas along historical hikes on Magnetic Island, pick your own private beach on Orpheus Island (after you arrive by helicopter) and make your way around the Thorsborne Trail on Jurassic-esque Hinchinbrook Island

Tropical North Queensland is where you’ll find Fitzroy Island, a balmy paradise with its own fringe coral reef system and the best beach in Australia, Nudey Beach. From Cairns you’ll also be able to heli, fly or ferry into family-friendly Green Island, and luxe couple hot spots Lizard Island and Bedarra Island.

Towards the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef, you’ll find the snorkel and dive trifecta, aka Lady Elliot, Heron and Lady Musgrave Islands. Walk off the beach at these eco-islands and be surrounded by gentle manta rays, friendly turtles and the rest of the Great Eight. So, grab your fins and mask, and snorkel straight into lagoons and bays teeming with new underwater friends.

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Island experiences and adventures

Sailing

The Whitsundays is Queensland’s ultimate home of sailing. Captain your own private bareboat and charter your course around the 74 islands to explore hidden cays, hike through Whitsunday Island and then watch the sun set from your deck. If you’d prefer to sit back and let someone else do the hard work, hire a skipper (and even a chef!) for your own private sailing adventure.

Diving and snorkelling

Kitted-out with your fins and mask, snorkel next to Nemo and the whole cast within metres of the beach on Heron Island, Lady Elliot and Green Island. Lady Musgrave’s 1,200-hectare lagoon is also teeming with turtles, manta rays, white and black-tipped sharks to grab a snorkelling selfie with as well. Follow the snorkel trails around Nelly Bay on Magnetic Island or snorkel the Tangalooma wrecks surrounded by turquoise waters and wildlife of the underwater kind.

Add in a day of scuba diving into your island itinerary or theme your whole holiday around meeting your scuba goals on Heron Island (one of Jacques Cousteau’s top ten dive sites in the world), Lady Elliot Island, Hamilton Island, Magnetic Island or Lizard Island.

Scenic flights

Flying over the Great Barrier Reef is an unforgettable experience; the blue and green hues will be etched in your memory forever. The best time for scenic flights is at low tide, so you’ll see more of the reef. Charter a heli-flight from Cairns to Green Island to see the reef from above or book a seaplane in the Whitsundays to fly over the iconic heart reef.

4WD tours

Lower your tyre pressure and get your 4WD sandy on one of the largest sand islands in the world. While Fraser Island is the ultimate beach driving island in Queensland, North Stradbroke IslandMoreton Island and Bribie Island are also popular spots to test your 4WD skills. If you’d rather play passenger, you can book tours with experienced guides that will do all the hard work for you.

Cruises

Take a leisure or adventure cruise along the Great Barrier Reef and admire our islands from a distance, or get up close and personal with a day tour. Cruise past the tip of Cape York and into the Torres Strait, a cluster of over 133 islands where summer lasts 9 months of the year. While you’re there, learn about the Torres Strait culture, visit art galleries and museums or reel in a trophy-worthy fish.

Queensland island accommodation

Turn your island day trip into an overnight escape (or stay even longer to get the full island treatment).  Take in an island sunset or a sunrise from your swaying hammock on the beach… Ahhh.

Whitsundays accommodation

There’s a variety of accommodation options in the Whitsundays. Choose from budget stays, family-friendly and self-catered apartments, bungalows and villas on Hamilton Island. Adventurers will love camping on Whitsunday Island or Hook Island, and couples will love the luxury resort on Hamilton.

Luxury accommodation

If five-star resorts, secluded beaches, private beach picnics and full body massages are what you’re after, there’s a Queensland island waiting with pillow menus, robes and slippers. Luxury island resorts are aplenty in the Great Barrier Reef from Bedarra, and Lizard Islands in the tropical north to Hamilton, Hayman and Daydream Islands in the Whitsundays.

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Best Queensland islands for couples

Romantic getaways, honeymoons and extravagant Valentine’s Day escapes are simple on a Queensland island.

Newly-weds and love birds will appreciate the romantic packages at Queensland luxury islands like Orpheus Island, Bedarra Island and Hamilton Island.

Adventurous couples may opt for hiking, camping and kayaking on Hinchinbrook Island, driving around in a topless car on Magnetic Island or 4WDing on Fraser Island, North Stradbroke Island and Moreton Island.

Culture vulture couples will enjoy a round trip to the Torres Strait, where they can engulf themselves in the Indigenous Torres Strait culture and history.

And, for couples wanting complete seclusion, rent your own private island in Southern Great Barrier Reef (including a private chef). This is how you can do it.

Top things for couples to do

  • Snorkel fringing reef right off the beach
  • Take your dive buddy and learn to scuba dive
  • Stay dry and see the reef from a glass-bottom boat 
  • Laze by the resort pool
  • Book into the island day spa or arrange a couple’s massage in your room
  • Arrange a private jet ski tour 
  • Spend the day under palm trees at your own private beach 
  • Pre-arrange a sunset dinner on the beach

Best Queensland islands for families

Island escapes offer the perfect family break from your hectic life. They’re a chance for your family to reconnect, have fun and make memories together.

Families with babies, toddlers and tots should head for Hamilton Island in the Whitsundays. When you’re on the island, Guest Services can take care of all your needs from organising spots at the day care centre, to providing prams and baby seats for your mini golf cart (available for hire on the island).

Adventurous families will love Green Island, 35 minutes by ferry from Cairns. The resort is family-friendly and there’s a lot for kids to learn and do on the island. From snorkelling to glass-bottom boat tours, your kids will be entertained, and you will be relaxed. 

Outdoorsy families, pack the 4WD and head straight for Fraser Island on the Fraser Coast. With freshwater creeks, abundant wildlife and a whopping 45 national park camping grounds to choose from, your family will be setting up camp and roasting marshmallows in no time.

Best family resorts

Treat the kids (and yourselves) to either Heron Island or Lady Elliot Island, the ultimate family-friendly resorts. Both are natural playgrounds with over 1,200 species of marine life and have a Junior Reef Rangers program where kids from five to 12 can learn about the reef and conservation. Kingfisher Bay Resort on Fraser Island also offers a wildlife warriors program. Here your kids will learn all about mangroves, tidal zones and even go stargazing.

If your kids want to hand feed wild dolphins or slide down huge sand dunes, Tangalooma Island Resort on Moreton Island is your next family holiday destination. Your kids will love swimming, kayaking and snorkelling around the Tangalooma wrecks, too.

Top things to do for families

  • Meet marine life and see the Great Barrier Reef first-hand with education and conservation classes
  • Hand feed dolphins at Tangalooma Island Resort
  • Snorkel straight off the island or on a day tour
  • Stay dry and see the reef from a glass-bottom boat 
  • Sand toboggan down mega sand dunes on Moreton Island
  • Kayak, swim and have fun with the water sports on offer

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Moreton Bay Escapes

Multiple Locations
Jump on board a Moreton Bay Escape and enjoy small group tours to the beautiful Moreton Island. Departing regularly from Brisbane , Moreton Bay Escapes offers exciting guided tours including day tours and overnight programs, to the pristine beaches of Moreton Island National Park.

Fraser Dingo Four Wheel Drive Hire

Hervey Bay, Fraser Coast Area
From AU$525.00 - 1060.00
Fraser Dingo Four Wheel Drive Adventures cater for groups and families of up to five people with their Group Getaway for one, two, three or more days four wheel drive hire to Fraser Island (K'gari) with the option to hire camp equipment or book accommodated packages.

Ocean Rafting

Multiple Locations
Multi award winning Ocean Rafting visits the “Wild Side” of the Whitsunday Islands, the uninhabited islands with beautiful natural scenery brimming with marine, bird and animal life. There are two exciting tour options, the Northern Exposure and Southern Lights.

1770reef Great Barrier Reef Eco Tours

Multiple Locations
Day tour to Lady Musgrave Island. 1770reef provide tours to Lady Musgrave Island, with the adventures of experiencing the Great Eight only found in the Southern Great Barrier Reef. Among the adventures of Snorkelling, Guided Glass Bottom Boat Tour and Guided Island walks, Lady Musgrave Island Lagoon has stunning turtles, manta rays and fish to swim with in the Coral Lagoon.

Fraser Island Day Tours with Kingfisher Bay Resort

Multiple Locations
Experience Fraser Island's best-selling tour, on a one or two day four wheel drive adventure! Swim in the crystal-clear waters of Lake McKenzie, wander through ancient sub-tropical rainforests, marvel at the rustic ruins of the Maheno Shipwreck, and cruise along the 75 Mile Beach highway, as you explore the world's largest sand island.

Remote Fraser Island Tour - Tasman Venture

Multiple Locations
Be one of the few to see the untouched and unique side of this stunning island. This is no ordinary Fraser Island holiday tour; get away from the crowds and chaos, forget the rigid time tables or rushing from place to place.

Ocean Freedom to the Outer Edge Upolu Reef and Upolu Cay Reef- Cairns Premier Reef and Island Tours

Multiple Locations
Ocean Freedom is one of 2 most personal Great Barrier Reef Tours operated by the passionate Cairns Premier Reef and Island Tours' team. Experience 6 hrs of un-rushed activities at two very unique and different Great Barrier Reef sites.

4WD G'day Adventure Tours

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Experience the beautiful beaches of Bribie Island, and lap up the sunny Queensland weather with G'Day Adventure Tours! You’ll be amazed that you’re only an short drive from Brisbane city on this getaway island tour.

Great Barrier Reef Day Trip to Lady Elliot Island

Multiple Locations
Lady Elliot Island is a coral cay located at the southern tip of Australia's iconic Great Barrier Reef (north of Fraser Island). The island is regarded as one of the best snorkelling and diving destinations in Australia and is famous for its unspoilt coral reef and amazing array of spectacular marine life!

Tangatours - Moreton Island

Multiple Locations
Operating on the beachfront of Tangalooma Island Resort, Tangatours is an exciting adventure and tourism operator which provides both land and water based activities to the resort and day guests. What a perfect way to spend a day in paradise, sailing along the crystal clear waters of Moreton Bay in one of their easy to use Catamarans, getting up close and personal with the large array of sea life on their fish feeding, snorkelling or diving tours and much much more!
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