There are over 13,000 islands in the Indonesian archipelago. Of these, less than a thousand are inhabited. Whether you want to party on a tiny beach with 100 of your closest mates (for the night) or escape to an island where the only footprints on the sand we’ll be yours, there’s an island in Indonesia for you.
Lombok: If you love adventure
With direct flights connecting Perth to Lombok, this interesting island is a playground when it comes to adventure. Admire the sunrise from the crater rim of Mount Rinjani, surf one of the world’s best lefthand waves off of Desert Point, scuba dive with hammerhead sharks off of Belongas Bay, and then explore Lombok’s pink beach made from pieces of magenta-coloured coral.
Nusa Penida: If you love dramatic beaches
Until the advent of social media, Nusa Penida, remained under the radar of travellers—despite its proximity to the island of Bali. Then, Nusa Penida’s iconic Kelingking Beach made the front pages of popular travel bloggers’ Instagram feeds, inspiring travellers to come and see the beach for themselves. All around Nusa Penida, you’ll find vistas that overlook turquoise bays accented with diamond shaped islands, rolling hills, and cliff ledges famous for spotting manta rays swimming in the ocean below.
Padar: If you love incredible views
Komodo National Park—named after its famous resident Komodo dragons—is made up of three main islands, with Padar being the best for hiking. Though the world’s largest lizard no longer lives on Padar, it’s worth visiting if you are interested in seeing the beauty of countless beaches and bays from one spectacular vantage point that does look like you’ve transported back to the era when dinosaurs ruled the earth.
After a steep 30-minute hike, you’ll reach the top of the trail that overlooks grasslands, sandy bays, and dramatic peaks. Come for sunrise or sunset to enjoy the bright colours that stretch over the landscape. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a place quite like Padar elsewhere in the world.
Gili Air: If you love tranquility and romance
Gili Air is part of a trio of islands along with Gili Meno and Gili Trawangan. On Gili Trawangan, the party never stops. On Gili Meno, you may be the only one strolling along the beach at any given time. Gili Air is a mix between its two neighbouring islands where you can still find plenty of things to do, and then tuck away once you’re ready for solitude. It’s the type of place you can laze the day away alongside your lover, before heading to a beachside bar for a cocktail or sip of fresh juice.
Misool: If you love scuba diving
Raja Ampat is an area made up of nearly a thousand islands in Indonesia, one of the most remote areas of Indonesia. Of these, it’s worth spending time on the island of Misool—a place where birds thrive. The best way to see it is on a sailing or liveaboard trip, where you’ll spend your time sleeping and exploring the surrounding area by boat. You might be lucky enough to see manta rays, schooling pelagic fish, reef sharks, thriving coral reefs, and more. If you prefer to stay landlocked, you can spend your time at a diver-friendly resort like Raja Ampat Dive Resort.
Nias: If you love culture and surfing
Nias is no stranger to surfers, with one of the best waves in the world breaking off is shoreline. In between paddling for world-class waves, wander through rice terraces and discover an interesting culture heavily influenced by Indian, Chinese, and Taiwanese traders who stopped at Nias on their way to larger islands. Because Nias is remote, you’ll often have a place to yourself.
Don’t worry if you’ve yet to master the art of getting barreled when it comes to surfing—there waves welcoming to beginner surfers around Nias, too.
Bali: If you love food and luxury
Though the Island of the Gods is not necessarily a hidden getaway, Bali is where you should go if you want delicious farm-to-table food, great-value stays, and decadent spa experiences. Spend your days exploring Hindu temples overrun by monkeys or wandering through a series of rice terraces before tucking into a five-star dining experience for dinner.