Let's be honest, there’s never a bad time to take off on an island escape. Whether you’re looking to re-enact a scene from Castaway, work on your snorkelling technique or simply do as little as possible, a trip to a far-flung paradise will sort you out. But not all island getaways have to involve a palm-dotted stretch of sand. Nope. There are islands scattered right across the country, and while they might offer views of bushland rather than beaches they are just as restorative and relaxing as their tropical counterparts. Here, we've rounded up seven island destinations, all guaranteed to put a smile on your dial. A deflated volleyball named Wilson is optional… but highly recommended.
Paradise @ Peninsula Villa, Queensland
Hamilton Island has long been a favourite with those looking to swap the rat-race for a solid helping of Vitamin D. And really, what says 'total relaxation' better than a private island escape? Paradise @ Peninsula Villa is an incredible retreat with a peaceful setting and high-end everything. The double-storey villa sits above the palm-fringed shores of Catseye Beach – the island’s main hub for swimming, snorkelling and watersports. Back at base, downtime is done right, and the owners have thought of everything you could ever want or need in a home away from home. There's a private pool, cushiony day beds and a large deck. An airy kitchen is ideal for flexing your culinary muscles, a library of DVDs beckons for movie nights, and golf buggies are on hand for zipping down to the marina or resort area along the coast.
Molloy Island Holiday Home, Western Australia
Even if you’ve ventured to Margaret River before, chances are you don’t know about Molloy Island, an amazing stretch of unspoilt wilderness that's accessible only by car ferry and one of the region’s best-kept secrets. Molloy Island Holiday Home is the best hideaway on the island. It’s a contemporary three-bedroom home with an open-plan living, dining and kitchen area that looks out onto bushland. Birdlife and kangaroos make regular visits to the backyard. The holiday home will be a hit with kids: the owners provide bicycles and you can hire a canoe. If you want to explore further afield, Scott National Park neighbours the island and it’s a short drive to Augusta and Leeuwin.
Bill's Cottage, New South Wales
You’d be forgiven for not knowing about Dangar Island on the Hawkesbury River. It’s a gem shared by a handful of residents and families who have been holidaying here for decades. A visit to Bill’s Cottage is your chance to experience Dangar Island as the locals do – the property is one family’s much-loved retreat. The waterfront cottage has three bedrooms, a lounge/dining area, kitchen and gorgeous views over the river. Staying here is all about pressing pause and taking things at a slower pace. Mornings are made for reading the paper cover to cover or heading to a local café for coffee. You can wander the island, play a board game or slip into a life-jacket and paddle out onto the river in a canoe.
East Bedarra Island Retreat, Queensland
East Bedarra Island Retreat delivers on every tropical island cliché you’ve ever heard. It might sound like a big promise, but this bolthole really is a private paradise. The retreat is right on the beachfront, surrounded by the turquoise waters of the Great Barrier Reef. You could stand on the deck of this luxury beach house, wave to your companions in the azure water below and even ask if they prefer sugar or salt on the rim of their fruity cocktail. You’ll find all the trimmings you’d expect from world-class accommodation – saltwater plunge pool, gourmet kitchen, al fresco bar – but it’s the open-air lounge area with its 3D cinema that really hogs the spotlight. East Bedarra Island Retreat has been designed with couples in mind, but there's a second bedroom if you're up for sharing this incredible experience with others.
LifeTime Private Retreats, South Australia
Kangaroo Island is known for its gourmet offerings and world-class scenery, and if you want to add luxury accommodation to the mix, LifeTime Private Retreats has you covered. There are four separate houses available and, as the name suggests, each is completely private. Sheoaks is the largest accommodation and is ideal for family getaways. The Cliff House is great for groups of friends, with a sunken conversation pit perfect for late night chats over wine. Settlers Homestead has heritage feels and three bedrooms. Loved-up couples seeking alone time should make for The Sky House – it comes complete with an old-school record player to provide the backing track for fire-lit cuddles on the couch.
43 Degrees Bruny Island, Tasmania
The eye-catching, eco-friendly beauties at 43 Degrees Bruny Island have been designed to give guests a one-of-a-kind accommodation experience. Of course that doesn’t mean you’ll go without creature comforts either, because the semi-circular homes have timber and stone-walled bathrooms, private balconies and fully equipped kitchens. 43 Degrees Bruny Island offers apartment and studio-style accommodation. The luxurious self-contained two-bedroom apartments are nestled at the south end of the island, while the studio apartments are ideal for a more intimate escape for two and are only a short walk from the main shops and sandy beach of Adventure Bay. The bay is a great location for exploring Bruny Island. Foodies can get their kicks from a chocolate factory, smokehouse and berry farm located nearby.
Kalinda has a prime position on Phillip Island – it’s a stone’s throw from Cowes’ covetable beaches and popular eateries – but its setting is just one of its drawcards. The home has magazine-worthy interiors and an immaculate garden that’s sure to have seasoned gardeners sighing in appreciation. Those without green thumbs won’t be disappointed either, especially when they catch a glimpse of the swimming pool, outdoor hot tub and paved al fresco dining area. Head indoors to find polished timber floors, a sleek contemporary kitchen (complete with coffee machine), a games room and three beautifully appointed bedrooms. This lovely hideaway is ideal for families, couples and smaller groups.