|Mounts Gower and Lidgbird, Lord Howe Island, New South Wales|
|Historic Supply Landing, Kangaroo Island|
But while my devotion to the BIG island is well documented, Australia's 8222 other islands often lure us away from the mainland, and into a different world. Island magic weaves its spell from the moment that sea crossing – an actual rite of passage – physically separates the traveller from her/his troubles, and lands her/him in what is more often than not a wondrous amalgam of staggering scenery, wonderful wildlife and relentless relaxation.
That's been our collective experience of 20+ Aussie islands in 20+ years, anyway!!
But even after eliminating islands that can't be reached the discerning traveller is left with several thousand from which to choose – each with its own history, natural attractions, activities, wildlife and character.
So narrow the field even further and follow me around OZ for my Idiosyncratic Individualised 5-Island Introduction!
|Horseshoe Bay, Magnetic Island, Far North Queensland|
|Magnetic Island walking track Nelly Bay to Arcadia|
Only 8 km offshore from Townsville, it's easy to get to Magnetic Island by ferry, and even easier to stay … National parks, beaches and bays, a variety of accommodation and dining options (yes! a bakery!) and its own public transport system make this island an archetypal idyllic tropical paradise!
The high incidence of world class attractions ensures this small island 600 km off the New South Wales coast a steady stream of visitors and makes it one of my all time favourite Australian travel destinations. It's also the scene of my one and only triathlon attempt … but that's another story (see link below)!
|Ned's Beach, Lord Howe Island, New South Wales|
Lord Howe Island's well deserved world heritage status manifested in staggering scenery, numerous endemics and fascinating history is best experienced over as lengthy a period of time as you can afford. Add to that (arguably) the most scenic public toilet in Australia AND a bakery, and you'd be ill-advised to ignore this incomparable island!
|Lighthouse, Griffiths Island, via Port Fairy, Victoria|
|Muttonbird Burrow, Griffiths Island|
As is the engineering feat that combined two islands into one at the mouth of Port Fairy's Moyne River, and the island's interesting history and glorious scenery. Every day at sundown, the muttonbirds return from the sea to roost and feed their chicks in their nesting burrows – an incredible sight which one day we'll get to see!
|Kangaroo Island, South Australia|
Australia's 3rd largest island, this eclectic mixture of unspoiled beaches, Remarkable Rocks (their actual name!), seal colonies, lighthouses, sand dunes, national parks and the purest strain of Ligurian bees in the world is one of South Australia's premier attractions.
|Remarkable Rocks, Kangaroo Island|
5. For 'Infamous', try the Abrolhos Islands, Western Australia!
|Albrohos Islands, Western Australia (photo courtesy Bill's Diving Blog )|
|Batavia's Anchor, Albrohos Islands WA (photo courtesy Bill's Diving Blog )|
This compelling tale of degeneration, dastardly deeds and despair on the islands has been the subject of many studies, novels, films and TV series, but it's probably too melodramatic to say I'm dying to visit one day!!
Happily, Perth Daily Photo supplied these pictures from her friend and mentor Bill, whose excellent Bill's Diving Blog has even more photos of these infamous islands, now home to much less sensational ecotourism pursuits!
|Albrohos Islands, Western Australia (photo courtesy of Bill's Diving Blog )|
Yes, I know.
It's all too beautiful, isn't it?
And you want to see it for yourself, right??
So what are you waiting for?
BUT ... if you still need convincing, or you haven't yet had enough of Australia's Islands, sit back, listen to Aussie singer Christine Anu's My Island Home, and lets go Island-hopping!!