About the islands of The Wild North

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. 

Which Wild North island is perfect for you? 

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.

Top things to do: 
  • Snorkel straight off the beach to explore the island's colourful fringing reefs and abundant marine life.   
  • Dive the famous Cod Hole, one of the most popular dive sites on the Great Barrier Reef and home to the big and friendly Potato Cod. 
  • Swim in the famous Blue Lagoon or relax on a private beach. 
  • Climb up Cook's Look, the island's highest peak. It's not for the faint-hearted but the stunning 360-degree view of the island you'll be treated to when you reach the summit is well worth the hike.
How to get there:

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.  

Immerse yourself in the culture and history of the island:
  • Visit the Thursday Island Historical Museum and heritage listed Customs House.
  • Marvel at the Indigenous Art at Gab Titui Cultural Centre.
  • Wander through the eerie Thursday Island Cemetery.
  • Pay a visit to the numerous historic churches on the island. 
  • Grab a beer at Australia’s most northern pub, the Torres Straight Hotel.
Best walks and trails:
  • One of the most popular walks on the island is Green Hill Fort. The lookout provides stunning photo opportunities as the sun sets over the ocean.
  • Another fantastic walking trail is Lions Lookout. The lookout offers beautiful views of Horn Island from a WWII bunker as well as access to Sadies Beach.
  • Other notable sights include Bayo Beach, Milman Lookout, Cook Esplanade, Quarantine Wharf and Slaughter Beach.
How to get there:

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. 

Top things to do:
  • Discover trenches, bunkers, plane wrecks and other remnants from the World War II era scattered throughout the island's bays and grasslands. 
  • A visit to the Torres Straight Heritage Museum will have you immersed in the island’s significant historical heritage. Explore the memorabilia and forgotten tales of Australia’s war history before enjoying the local artwork at the museum’s adjoining gallery.
  • Enjoy a scenic helicopter flight over the Torres Strait Islands. 
  • Take a 15-minute ferry ride to nearby Thursday Island and enjoy a beer at Wongai Hotel, home to the island’s only pub!
  • Cast a line out at one of the island's many great fishing spots. 
How to get there:

The island is reachable by plane from Cairns Airport or by ferry from Bamaga. 

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