6 of the World’s Best Islands
Isla Navarino (Chile)
Much like the Lofoton Islands, you will find an end of the earth experience on Chile’s Isla Navario. Considered part of Antarctica, it is not a place to travel to if you are looking for high-end hotels and plenty of pampering. Rather, Isla Navarino offers experiences for outdoor types, ecotourists and nature enthusiasts.
Sure, you could hang out at Puerto Williams, which dubs itself “the southernmost town in the world” and has collected lots of history in the Museo Martín Gusinde, but it makes more sense to find a guide and plan a hike. Do not try to strike out on your own because it is easy to end up in over your head in this gorgeous wilderness that is mostly devoid of human life. Local guides can also take you fly fishing and plenty of anglers flock to the island to see if they can land some trout. Omora Ethnobotanical Park serves up an otherworldly glimpse into a slow-growing forest filled with gnarled, fairy-like trees.
Lord Howe Island (Australia)
Talk about idyllic isolation. Located about 350m from mainland Australia, Lord Howe Island only allows a maximum of 400 guests on the isle each and every night. Why? Due to its unique biodiversity, Lord Howe Island is considered a Unesco World Heritage property. This means that conservationist impetus can also provide you with a perfectly placid getaway.
You will find plenty of opportunity to simply lay around on the beach if you so desire, but consider hiring a small plane to fly you over Ball’s Pyramid, an extinct volcano that protrudes like a monstrous tooth from the ocean, rising some nearly 2,000 feet above the waves. Climb up Mount Gower, which provides you with a panorama of the entire island. Charter a boat to take you fishing, stroll through rainforests, or explore nearby reefs on a scuba adventure. There is even a nine-hole golf course that operates on the honor system.
Vancouver Island (Canada)
Who would have thought you would find the best resort in the Great White North on an island in the frigid Pacific waters? Indeed, many travel pundits would argue that Vancouver Island’s The Wickaninnish Inn is Canada’s top boutique hotel. It is between the ocean and towering stands of moss-covered trees, but even if you do not indulge at the inn’s spas or partake in its gourmet cuisine, Vancouver Island has plenty of things for you to do.
Indeed, some would say that camping out in the elements in Strathcona Park is the best way to experience the island. You could also sip wine at one of the multiple vineyards, munch on artesian cheese, or fill your mug with traditional British hard cider. (Food is a big deal on Vancouver Island.) Lace up your boots and hike up Mt. Pike, which provides a perfect panorama of the island and mainland Canada itself. Families will love the B.C. Forest Discovery Centre, which not only lets you peek into the area’s logging past, it also has a functioning steam train to ride. Then, there are multiple beaches good for swimming, kayaking, or simply strolling hand in hand with someone you love.