Being surrounded by ocean, Australia is often referred to as an island continent. As a continental land mass, it is immensely larger than the many thousands of small fringing islands and numerous larger ones, ranging in size from small rocks which are not covered by water at high tide, to some over twice the size of the Australian Capital Territory. There are some 8,222 islands dotted around Australia's shores. One of them, Fraser Island, is the world's largest sand island. Featured on these pages are some of the more interesting or accessible of them.
Islands with websites or web pages
Kangaroo Island, SA
One of the best places in Australia (and without doubt the best place in South Australia) to see Australia's native wildlife and flora. On land there are kangaroos, koalas, echidnas, platypus, goannas and birds of every shape and size (255 species, many rare or endangered); in the surrounding ocean there are seals, sea lions, dolphins, whales (in season) and little penguin. The coastal scenery is superb and the island is big enough to never feel crowded, even in peak holiday season.
Kangaroo Island, which lies across the mouth of Spencer Gulf, is Australia's third largest island (after Tasmania and Melville Island). Separated from Cape Jervis on the mainland by the narrow Backstairs Passage, and from Yorke Peninsula to the north by Investigator Strait, the island is much larger than most visitors expect it to be - it is about 155 km long and 55 km wide at its widest, and those who try to experience in one day all that the island have to offer soon realise it is an impossibility. Kangaroo Island has a rugged and extremely beautiful coastline, particularly at its west end, and the waters around it teem with fish.
It has become a popular holiday place for South Australians and its main settlement, Kingscote, on Nepean Bay, is linked by a regular air service to Adelaide and a vehicle/passenger ferry service to Cape Jervis at the foot of Fleurieu Peninsula.
Location: 110 km south-west of Adelaide; 16 km south west of the tip of Fleurieu Peninsula across Backstairs Passage; 40 km south of Yorke Peninsula across Investigator Strait.
|Australia's Largest Islands
Note: Tasmania is not included in this list as it is not part of a state
Australia has eight islands larger than 1000 square kilometres:
- Melville Island, NT - 5,786 sq. km
- Kangaroo Island, SA - 4,416 sq. km
- Groote Eylandt, NT - 2,285 sq. km
- Bathurst Island, NT - 1,693 sq. km
- Fraser Island, Qld - 1,653 sq. km
- Flinders Island, Tas - 1,333 sq. km
- King Island, Tas - 1,091 sq. km
- Mornington Island, Qld - 1,002 sq. km
Number of Islands by State/Territory
- Western Australia - 3,747 islands
- Queensland - 1,955 islands
- Tasmania - 1,000 islands (approx.)
- Northern Territory - 887 islands
- South Australia - 346 islands
- New South Wales - 102 islands
- Jervis Bay Territory - 1 island
- Australian Capital Territory - no coastal
TOTAL 8,222 islands (approx.)
|Historically Significant Islands