Incredible island getaways that don't require a passport

Kristine Tarbert
Senior Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer

With European summer holidays and exotic trips across borders still on pause you might think an island getaway is off the cards.

But with intrastate travel opening up shortly there are some incredible Aussie islands you can escape to and leave your passport behind to enjoy the bliss of sandy beaches, just a few hours from home.

Australia is home to 8,222 islands with some of the most diverse landscapes and so as some states and territories start to ease travel restrictions in the coming weeks, there's no better time to start dreaming about that much needed first trip away.

Dreaming of an Island escape? Photo: Getty

Kangaroo Island, SA

The western side of Kangaroo Island was heavily impacted by the January bushfires and had just started to welcome visitors before travel restrictions were put in place. Once restrictions lift, this island haven will need Australia’s support more than ever.

Surrounded by shimmering oceans, white sands and untamed bushland, Kangaroo Island is regarded as one of Australia’s most beautiful places to visit.

More than a third of the island's landmass is reserved for wildlife conservation areas and national parks, meaning its home to over 1,500 different animals and you’re bound to see a Kangaroo bouncing in the lush wilderness. 

Kangaroo Island, South Australia. Photo: Getty

Phillip Island, VIC

Phillip Island is one of Victoria’s most popular islands, and for good reason, with endless family fun. Famous for its fairy penguins and motorcycle Grand Prix racing, the island attracts a diverse mix of travellers.

You’ll discover the sleepy coastal towns of Cowes and San Remo and for the brave, enjoy Phillip Island’s renowned surf.

Sunset at the base of the Pinnacles at Cape Woolami. Photo: Getty
Ventnor beach, Phillip Island. Photo: Getty

Lord Howe Island, NSW

An idyllic paradise in the Tasman Sea east of Port Macquarie, Lord Howe Island welcomes just 400 visitors at any time and is characterised by sandy beaches, serene lagoons, subtropical forests, volcanic peaks and clear waters.

The island is encircled by the world’s most southerly coral reef and the crystal clear waters make it perfect for swimming, snorkelling, diving, kayaking, fishing, surfing and paddle boarding. It also features one of the world’s best day hikes, Mount Gower at 875m.

Fish feeding at Ned's Beach on Lord Howe Island. Photo: Getty

Bruny Island, TAS

This humble, low-key island off the south-eastern coast of Tasmania is a nature lovers retreat, with an abundance of wildlife, some of Australia’s highest sea cliffs and Australia’s ‘Breathing Rock’.

A short, 20-minute ferry ride from Kettering, no trip to Bruny Island is complete without sampling the island’s local produce including berries, oysters and artisan cheese.

The Bruny Island Lighthouse in Tasmania, Australia. Photo: Getty

Magnetic Island, QLD

Affectionally known as Maggie, it is often said Magnetic Island is the sunniest place in the Sunshine State with less rainfall than both the tropical north and the Whitsunday Islands.

Named after Captain Cook, who believed the iron in the island’s hills tinkered with his compass when he sailed past in 1770, the island has a certain allure with its unusual and unspoilt landscape.

Magnetic Island National Park covers just over half of the island and will take you through rainforest, bushland and mangroves, before headland lookouts with sweeping ocean views.

Magnetic Island in Queensland. Photo: Getty

Rottnest Island, WA

The Aussie island amassing world-wide acclaim thanks to the island’s beloved Quokkas, is a picturesque escape just a 30-minute ferry ride from Fremantle.

Perfect for all types of travellers, including families, Rottnest Island is home to some of Australia’s best beaches including over 63 secluded beaches and 20 bays.You can even bike around the island to get the most out of your trip.

Pinky Beach and the Bathurst Lighthouse on Rottnest Island. Photo: Getty
The Aussie island is famous world-wide thanks to the Quokkas. Photo: Getty

Bremer Island, NT

Off the coast of Arnhem Land, Bremer Island is a back-to-basics option. Visitors sleep in tents and there are shared showers and a composting toilet. In return for a touch of roughing it, however, they get to experience one of Australia's most unexplored corners.

Most people go for the fishing, but as a guest of the local owners, the Yolngu people, you also have the opportunity to get unique insights into indigenous culture. A visit to the famous Yirrkala art centre can also be arranged. Alternatively, you could just lie back on the white sand beach and soak up the silence.

Bremer Island in the Northern Territory. Photo: Getty

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