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Queensland is known for its year-round warmth and its picturesque beaches drenched in sunshine, and nowhere is the quintessential Australian image more fitting than on the tropical islands found just off the state’s coast.

But once you start planning your trip you’ll realize it can be difficult to know which island – or islands – to visit. They’re all exciting in their different ways and offer a wide variety of experiences – from observing natural wonders to getting involved in unique and an action packed itinerary.

To help you with your decision, we’ve developed a snapshot of some of QLD’s most popular islands, highlighting what you’ll find at each one.

The Best Islands to Visit in Queensland

Fitzroy Island

An easy 45-minute ferry ride from Cairns, Fitzroy Island is your ‘everything’ island: it offers a complete package of exciting leisure activities as well opportunities for relaxation and down time amongst some of the most breathtaking scenery that nature can provide.

It’s a great choice if you have kids, with a lot of child-friendly activities; the ocean trampoline, easy trail walks and glass-bottom boat tours to name a few. It has hiking opportunities, kayaking, and of course snorkelling among the stunning sea life of the Great Barrier Reef.

You can visit Fitzroy Island for a day trip or you can find accommodation that ranges from camping through to resort style. Find out more about Fitzroy Island Accommodation at

Hamilton Island

Located in the heart of the Whitsundays (a collection of 74 pristine tropical islands between Townsville and Mackay), Hamilton Island is a simple island paradise where you can enjoy the beaches and explore the reef.

So relax on the sand or book yourself in for one of the excellent snorkelling or diving opportunities nearby too. Hamilton offers the most extensive range of accommodation of all the islands: palm bungalows, self-contained apartments or luxury hotels mean that if you’re looking for a particular style of accommodation you’ll be most likely to find it here.

Hotels on Hamilton Island

Whitsunday Apartments

This property has 148 apartments offering views of the sea and the garden. It provides a spa and wellness centre, as well as a free shuttle service, free Wi-Fi and a swimming pool.

Check availability & prices

Beach Club

Boasting a remarkable beachfront location, Beach Club offers luxury accommodation with an infinity-edge pool framed by palm trees and tropical gardens. It also provides free Wi-Fi, a free shuttle service and a beauty centre.

Check availability & prices

Hayman Island

Also a part of the Whitsundays, Hayman Island is perhaps the most visually striking island. At certain times you can witness the gold, turquoise, emerald and sapphire colours of the beaches and nearby Hayman Lagoon.

Hayman Island is the home of premium accommodation with its 5-star Hayman Island Resort featured in the Leading Hotels of the World.

Herron Island

The nature-lover’s island, Herron Island is a World Heritage Listed Marine National Park. The island environment is protected, giving you an opportunity to experience a part of Queensland that has experienced minimal human impact.

The native bird and sea life is flourishing, making this an exciting place to observe nature at its finest. Diving and snorkelling opportunities here provide a wonderful way to see nature up close.

It is important to note that day trips to Herron Island are not available, and the island can only be accessed by hotel guests. With this in mind, planning ahead is important if you’re thinking of visiting Herron Island.

Fraser Island

The world’s largest sand island is technically not a part of the Great Barrier Reef, although that doesn’t stop it from providing a breathtaking environment and seascape.

If you’re after somewhere you can fish, surf and camp then Fraser Island is for you. It’s only accessible by 4WD, but once you’re there you can explore to your heart’s content.

You can camp in a secluded area, or stay in resort accommodation. This is a spectacular way to experience Australia.


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Megan is an Australian Journalist who has been travelling and blogging since 2007, with the main aim of inspiring others to embark on their own worldwide adventure. Her husband Mike is the American travel photographer behind Waking Up Wild, and together they have made the world their home.

Committed to bringing you the best in adventure travel from all around the globe, there is no mountain too high, and no fete too extreme! They haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on their list.

If you enjoy getting social, you can follow their journey on FacebookTwitterYouTubePinterest and Instagram.


  1. To all of these ideas, I answer “Yes please”. Perhaps I need to develop a 3 week itinerary and visit all of them.

    • Sounds like a pretty great trip to me!

  2. So cool to think about the tropical side of Australia and to see the exotic islands and lifestyle there and how unspoiled it looks.

    • It’s so unspoiled in tropical Queensland – the islands here are incredible, I hope you have the chance to experience them first hand! :)

  3. Great list. We haven’t made it to Fitzroy or Hayman yet but Heron and Fraser are divine. The snorkelilng at Heron island was spectacular, turtles, rays, reef sharks, we saw them all just swimming off the beach. We’ll need to try Fitroy and Hayman next.

    • Thanks Cindy! So glad you enjoyed Heron and Fraser – the wildlife opportunities are incredible aren’t they! Fitzroy or Hayman would make for an epic next trip … or maybe both and you could get a bit of island hopping in :D

  4. Forgot how much I missed Aus til I read this list. There’s no place like home

    • You’ll have to come home via Queensland on your next trip :D

  5. Excellent guide to the best islands to visit. You’re right, it can be really overwhelming trying to figure out which ones are worth it! I have been to Queensland a couple of times but never really explored these islands. Heron Island sounds perfect – would love to do some snorkelling and diving around there.

    • Thanks Juliette :) Hope you have some time for an island or two on your next trip to Queensland – Heron Island is a great choice :)

  6. Queensland has been calling me for so long. I didn’t know about Fitzroy before so this really works for me. Thank you!

    • Glad we could offer some island inspiration for your trip! Hope you have the chance to make the dream a reality soon :)

  7. Excellent descriptions of the islands! I’d love to visit them all. Herron Island would top my list with it’s spectacular marine life. I love snorkeling and diving and can see myself spending all day in the water. Thanks for the heads up about reserving accommodation to visit the island.

    • We’re wildlife enthusiasts ourselves, so Herron is a favorite for it’s marine life. If you love snorkeling and diving you would be right at home here. Hope you have the chance to visit soon!

  8. Passage peak looks totally like my style. I love those more jagged and rugged cliffs. I’ve really got to get to Australia. Heron Island sounds like a gorgeous spot to catch some wildlife- which I always love!

    • Sounds like you would love Australia Paige – definitely include QLD as part of your trip :)

  9. I think Id go everywhere! But Hamilton island looks and sounds right up my alley! We obviously have some new islands we need to check out!

    • Island hopping can definitely be on the cards! Hamilton Island though is a great place to start :)

  10. I heard about Fraser island before. Been stuck in chilly Perth for a month now, so to me, they all look tantalizingly appealing and relatively close. If only I could find a time for an island getaway and… well… some funds too, I would jump on a plane right away ;)

    • Haha I’m in chilly Tasmania, so I’m right there with you. I would take any or all of these right now. Fraser is incredible though, I really enjoyed our trip :)

  11. I really want to check out these islands now. I have to get my PADI so I can go to Herron and see those beautiful corrals and turtles! Thank you for sharing, Meg. I can’t wait to see this all in person someday!

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Duke! Hope you have the chance to travel soon!

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