Life Travel Castaway: eight of the best island escapes

Castaway: eight of the best island escapes

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They’re the stuff of travel dreams – islands that look like they’re straight out of a Corona ad, with white sand, turquoise water and virtually no people.

If you’re feeling stressed out by civilisation, disappear off the map and embrace the island lifestyle with a spot of snorkelling, swimming, wildlife and relaxation.


One of Niue's famous caves. Photo: Getty
One of Niue’s famous caves. Photo: Getty

Where: A Pacific Island northeast of New Zealand, Niue was named “Savage Island” by Captain James Cook after locals refused to let him land there in 1774.

The island has a population of fewer than 2000 people and is known for its excellent fishing and snorkeling and striking caves.

As an added bonus, locals are more friendly to visitors these days and the water is crystal blue. Heaven.

Getting there: Air New Zealand fly to Niue twice weekly from Auckland.

Stay: There are a number of independent guest houses across the island, but for standard accommodation your best bet is the Matavai Resort, Motel and Villas. Rooms start at around $150 a night.


The reefs surrounding Tetepare. Photo: Shutterstock
The reefs surrounding Tetepare. Photo: Shutterstock

Where: Located in the Western Province of the Solomon Islands, Tetepare is a perfectly conserved nature site that is the largest uninhabited island in the Southern Hemisphere.

Cloaked in rugged forest and surrounded by pristine reefs, the island boasts an extensive range of wildlife, including dugongs, turtles and dolphins.

Getting there: Virgin and Solomon Airlines fly from Brisbane to the Solomon Islands capital, Honiara. From there, you will need to fly Solomon Airlines to Munda where you can take a boat transfer (1-2 hours) to Tetepare.

Stay: The island’s Ecolodge can accommodate up to 13 guests. Rooms are traditional Melanesian leaf houses, facilities are clean but basic and all meals are provided. Prices range from $40 to $100 AUD depending on the season.


A boat-filled inlet on Kimolos Island. Photo: Shutterstock
A boat-filled inlet on Kimolos Island. Photo: Shutterstock

Where: Kimolos is a volcanic Greek island in the Aegean Sea with a population of less than 1000 people. Full of white sand beaches and unique caves, the island is primarily used for agriculture.

It also features a medieval castle, a handful of cafes and restaurants and daily ferries to surrounding islands.

Getting there: Olympic Air runs two flights a day to Milos Island from Athens. From Milos, you must travel 14 kilometres by car to the village of Pollonia and catch a ferry to Kimolos.

Stay: The Echinousa apartment complex is located 100 metres from the water right in the centre of town.


Locals on the island of Sumba. Photo: Getty
Locals on the island of Sumba. Photo: Getty

Where: 400km to the West of Bali, Sumba is actually a rather large island with a population of more than 650,000 inhabitants.

Despite its size, Sumba retains much of its island charm; horses are still a popular mode of transportation and local rituals and dress are strictly upheld year-round.

Sumba’s sprawling beaches offer some of the best surfing in the world, a fact that remains unknown to many.

Getting there: Sumba is one hour’s flight from Bali. Merpati Air operates flights out of Bali’s Ngurah Rai airport in Denpasar. You can also reach Sumba by boat on the Pelni ‘Awu’ ferry. 

Stay: Nihiwatu resort is the island’s main luxury accommodation, providing chartered flights to the island out of Denpasar. If you want something more affordable, the Oro Beach Houses offer authentic, comfortable lodging.

Long Island

Long Island is close to home. Photo: Shutterstock
Long Island is close to home. Photo: Shutterstock

Where: No, not that Long Island. This one is located much closer to home in Whitsunday Islands off the coast of Queensland.

It’s right near the Great Barrier Reef so obviously the snorkelling options are abundant and the tropical rainforest contains more than 20 kilometres of walking tracks.

Getting there: Fly to Hamilton Island Airport, then take a Cruise Whitsundays boat to Long Island Jetty. Jetstar flies to Hamilton Island from Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney, Qantas flies from Cairns and Virgin flies from Brisbane.

Stay: The Palm Bay Resort is set right on the beach and rooms range from humble cabins to comfortable suites with prices starting at $190 per night.


An over-water bungalow in Tikehau. Photo: Shutterstock
An over-water bungalow in Tikehau. Photo: Shutterstock

Where: One of Tahiti’s most stunning coral atolls, Tikehau contains a massive turquoise-coloured lagoon ringed by pink sand beaches.

With only 400 residents, the island’s main industry is fishing thanks to the highly concentrated number of fish species in the surrounding waters. Needless to say, snorkelling is a great way to spend your time in Tikehau and most visitors get around on a bike.

Getting there: Air Tahiti flies to Tikehau from Papeete and Rangiroa airports. Pearl Beach Resort will provide transfers to and from the airport. Emirates and Air New Zealand fly to Tahiti from Australia via Auckland.

Stay: Pearl Beach Resort offers unique overwater bungalows for around $1000 a night.


A beach on the island of Vomo. Photo: Instagram
A beach on the island of Vomo. Photo: Instagram

Where: A private island in Fiji’s Mamanuca Islands, Vomo is a 225-acre property dominated by a five-star luxury resort featuring a restaurant, bar, spa and small golf course.

Getting there: Vomo is a 15-minute helicopter or sea plane ride from Fiji’s main international airport, Nadi airport. Jetstar offers direct flights to Nadi out of Sydney and indirect flights out of Melbourne. Virgin Australia also flies from Melbourne to Nadi.

Stay: The only resort on the island is Vomo Island Resort, which offers luxury villas at a fee inclusive of daily meals, water sports and activities, sunset canapés and WiFi. Rooms start at around $1000 a night.

If you really want to feel isolated, the resort’s honeymoon offshoot – Vomo Lailai (Little Vomo) – is an entirely private island within radio distance of the main island.


The tiny village on Susak Island. Photo: Shutterstock
The tiny village on Susak Island. Photo: Shutterstock

Where: A scarcely inhabited Croatian island in the Adriatic sea, Susak is the only sand dune island in the Mediterranean.

The island is completely car-free, with little mobile phone signal and a population of less than 200 people. There is an abundance of fresh seafood and the cuisine is a unique blend

Getting there: Susak is a four-hour catamaran trip from the port city of Rijeka. Budget airline Ryanair flies to Rijeka from Brussels and London.

Stay: Accomodation in Susak is modest but comfortable, consisting mainly of renovated fishermen’s houses owned by locals.

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