When you think of nearby island destinations, the magical Whitsundays, Vanuatu, Fiji and Bali usually top holiday wish lists. While they all offer that dream, paradise escape, there’s much more to explore, right off the coast of Australia.
The sweeping landscapes of Norfolk Island are custom-made for romance
Considering its towering tree ferns, majestic cliffs and National Park, the diminutive Norfolk is an island jewel that’s often overlooked in favour of ‘flashier’ holiday spots. Perhaps it’s the overriding sense of peace and tranquillity that keeps the hordes away, but that’s the attraction.
When you’re not floating in a crystal-clear lagoon, visit farmers markets, explore convict ruins, museum-hop through history, go cheese, chocolate and liqueur tasting, snorkel, bushwalk, play golf, kayak and dine on seafood. The Cumberland Resort and Spa offers spa villas within a hop, skip and a jump to the sand, shops and restaurants. Fly to Norfolk from Sydney, in just two and a half hours.
Sitting in an atmosphere of natural beauty and utter peace, just off the coast of Tasmania, Flinders Island offers a true escape from the real world. This is a place for hikers and wildlife lovers, with treks through Strzelecki National Park, beach walks around Castle Rock and wallabies, wombats, birds and dolphins galore to spot while you’re out and about.
Book a diving tour and keep an eye out for seals, try to catch one of the island’s famous crayfish and check out shipwreck relics at the Furneaux Museum. Visit the local vineyard and stock up on fresh, local produce for picnics by the sea, before heading back to a remote, romantic property like the West End Beach House. Fly to Flinders Island in just 35 minutes, from Launceston.
Romantic sunset strolls on Fraser Island
The world’s largest sand island packs a punch when it comes to enchanting natural attractions, including the famous 75-mile beach.
The world’s largest sand island packs a punch when it comes to enchanting natural attractions, including the famous 75-mile beach for fishing, the startling blue of fresh water Lake McKenzie, the bubbling Champagne Rock Pools, chilly Eli Creek flowing from forest to surf, the coloured sands of The Pinnacles and The SS Maheno shipwreck.
Whale and bird watching here is a treat, while 4WD fanatics can’t get enough of rugged forest trails and straight, sandy beach drives. If you love to camp, you’re spoilt for options, with 45 dedicated spots. When romance means luxury and seclusion, try boutique accommodation at Orchid Beach. You’ll need to hire or take your 4WD, or go on a tour, to visit most attractions on the island, other than Kingfisher Bay. Get there via a short ferry trip from River Heads, near Hervey Bay, Queensland.
Investing time in your relationship, especially on a paradise island, might be just what you need to kick off spring weather with an extra-large dose of sunny inspiration.
Nicole Leigh West
Nicole Leigh West is the author of fiction novel, 'The Gypsy Trail' and an internationally recognised travel and lifestyle writer.