There’s nowhere else quite like the islands of Australia’s Wild North! As you venture north of Cairns, expect to find yourself in true remote and rugged natural beauty.
One of the most popular island getaways along Australia’s northern coastline is Lizard Island. This tiny touch of paradise offers exclusive beachfront accommodation, 24 stunning white sandy beaches, and is uniquely located at the centre of inner and outer reef systems as well as fringing reefs.
Further north of Cape York you will find yourself on the doorstep of the Torres Strait. The Torres Strait Island group is made up of 274 islands located between Australia’s mainland and Papua New Guinea.
The majority of the islands are uninhabited however both Horn Island and Thursday Island are fantastic getaway destinations. Both of the islands served a significant role throughout World War II and boast a rich multicultural and historical heritage.
Find out more about the islands of the Wild North below.
Lizard Island is in simple terms, sheer paradise! Located around 240km north of Cairns, the island is home to 24 secluded beaches, more than 15 pristine coral reefs, a stunning blue lagoon, and 1,013 hectares of national park, boasting mangroves, grasslands, woodlands, and a large community of lizards and goannas.
The island is also home to the northernmost luxury resort on the Great Barrier Reef - Lizard Island Resort.
The island is accessible by private charter plane from Cairns Airport.
Journey to Australia’s most northern township and immerse yourself in history, culture and tropical paradise. Known as the administrative centre of the Torres Strait, Thursday Island is located around 40 kilometres north of Cape York Peninsula and is one of the 274 islands located between mainland Australia and Papua New Guinea.
Thursday Island has a rich pearling history dating back to 1885 and to this day the Japanese, Indian, Asian and Pacific Islander influence is still evident.
Thursday Island is relatively small, just 3.5 square kilometres in size. You can actually walk the entire circumference of the island which is home to multiple beaches, bays, lookouts and historical monuments.
You will find an array of modern accommodation lining the island’s main street, Douglas Street, along with supermarkets, takeaway stores, pearl stalls and souvenir shops.
Thursday Island is reachable by plane from Bamaga or Cairns, or by a 30-minute boat ride from Bamaga.
Horn Island is far beyond the beaten track and is the most northern part of Australia! Located around 55 kilometres north west of Cape York and just south of Papua New Guinea, Horn Island is home to the central domestic airport of the Torres Strait, offering connecting flights to the surrounding islands.
Horn Island is rich with history and played a significant role in Australia’s involvement in World War II. In 1940 a military air base, Horn Island Aerodrome, was built on the island. The air base was bombed eight times throughout the war and to this day, remnants and tales of this era can be discovered when exploring the island.
The island is reachable by plane from Cairns Airport or by ferry from Bamaga.
Read on to learn about how to choose the best flights to explore the Great Barrier Reef on a helicopter scenic flight.
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