Tony Wheeler knows a great destination when he sees one. After all, he co-founded Lonely Planet and has visited more corners of this planet than most of us could even dream about.
Dubbed by The New York Times as ‘the trailblazing patron saint of the world’s backpackers and adventure travellers’, Tony’s illustrious career in publishing has meant he’s been able to create a fabulous checklist of islands to visit. And here in Australia there are over 3,000 islands from the turquoise waters of islands of Queensland’s tropical coast to the remote and rugged volcanic outcrops of the subantarctic region.
Here is the verdict of Australia’s most famous travel guru:
If I had to recommend just one Barrier Reef Island to visit, Lizard Island would be it. I love Heron Island; there’s great scuba diving, so much birdlife, turtles coming and going, and the memory of being on the beach with my young children as an eruption of newly hatched turtles popped up out of the sand and raced for the sea.
For a romantic escape, it’s hard to beat Bedarra Island and I’ve loved the rainforest beauty, the get-away-from-it-all solitude and the sheer luxury, quite apart from neighbouring Wheeler Island bearing my name.
But Lizard Island is the one that puts it all together. It has spectacular scenery, beautiful beaches, coral and diving, the Captain Cook connection and big lizards; it simply can’t be beat.
Seeing lots of my favourite reef fish, including the clownfish, gathering on their host anemones just a quick snorkel from the beach simply underlines the attraction.
Tony Wheeler’s new photographic travel/history book, Islands of Australia: Travels through Time is out now (NLA Publishing, $39.99).
From the stunning natural features, unique wildlife and chequered histories of our remarkably diverse islets, cays, atolls and archipelagos, there is so much to discover.
Packed with fascinating stories and beautiful photographs, Islands of Australia takes you on a visual journey around the coast from eco-resorts, pristine beaches and dive sites to guano mines, prisons and subantarctic volcanoes.