My Top 10 Islands From My First 100 Countries

After my posts on my top villages, towns, cities and football stadiums from my first 100 countries, it’s time for me to write about my favourite islands. The disconnected appeal of remote islands is something I crave. A hideaway from the busy world. I’ve had to cut out a few islands from the list so sorry that Utila, Menorca, Hong Kong Island, Lantau Island, Borneo, Bali, Rhodes, Isle of the Dead, Bruny Island etc. all missed out. I also decided not to include islands that on their own are countries, hence why Australia, Taiwan and Singapore were not considered.

the little shop on Sark

The Little Shop in Sark’s Main Street – as commercial as this wonderful island gets!

1. Sark, CHANNEL ISLANDS Back in 2009 I was able to tour the Channel Islands thanks to my superb job working on the Cross Channel Ferries for Condor, linking England to France and more excitingly to the Channel Islands. Sark was Europe’s last feudal state and is quite simply a magical island which can only be reached by ferry, where cars are banned, where time stops. You can read about how to get from Guernsey to Sark and the top things to do on Sark in my previous posts. A totally incredible little place.

bikes in sark hiring to see the island

Cycling round Sark – the best way to see this beautiful remote island.

2. Atauro Island, EAST TIMOR My 2014 adventures saw me finally complete my “South East Asia” countries, and yes the last one on the list was actually the least popular for tourists – East Timor. I based myself in the country’s only backpackers hostel in Dili, the capital city but after touring the sights there, it was time to head out to this island some 30 odd kilometres off the coast. Atauro Island was raw and inspirational. An Eco friendly island with no real shops on it, and certainly no offices.

Relaxing on the beach in Beloi, Atauro Island

Relaxing on the beach in Beloi, Atauro Island

3. Gu Lang Yu, CHINA China could push for a few entries into this list, but I’m including just Gu Lang Yu. After visiting the city of Xiamen, it was obvious that we would get the ferry over to Gu Lang Yu. Gu Lang Yu is an island famous for music, but also featuring lots of buildings of foreign influence. Due to its proximity to Taiwan, this island has also been a lookout post down the years and the views from Sunlight Rock are fantastic.

Touring Gu Lang Yu in China

Touring Gu Lang Yu in China

4. Java, INDONESIA It was a reunion for me when backpacking in Indonesia in 2012 as I met up with my Brazilian travel buddy Rodrigo, who I met on the Antarctica trip. We started off by touring the sights of Jakarta the capital city, then headed inland to explore the city of Yogyakarta. But the highlight for me was seeing the temples at Borobudur and Prambanan as well as a visit to the Kota Gede Silver Factory and the Tamansari Water Castle. Java is a massive island and I only saw a snippet of it, but I loved what I saw.

Backpacking in Java - Prambanan

Backpacking in Java – Prambanan

5. North Island, NEW ZEALAND I’ve been to New Zealand’s North Island twice now and always have fond memories of it. My first trip there in 2007 was where I did a bungy jump, a sky dive and toured Taupo and Rotorua. My second trip in 2010 was also epic as I met up with my old work mate Steve Jones, a New Zealander and we checked out some unusual sights such as the Waihi Gold Mines and the Lemon and Paeroa place. Of course I like the South Island too, but the North Island holds the most vivid memories.

Making new friends in Rotorua, New Zealand in 2007 as part of a tour.

Making new friends in Rotorua, North Island, New Zealand in 2007 as part of a tour.

6. Ambergris Caye, BELIZE The clear blue waters of Belize are hard to resist and we found pure tranquility and relaxation on Ambergris Caye. We stayed at the truly magnificent resort Xanadu and went snorkelling off the coast of Caye Caulker.

backpacking belize

Relaxing at the pure luxury of Xanadu Resort in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

7. Cuverville Island, ANTARCTICA Realistically I could have bunged all of the Antarctica Islands I’ve been to on this list. you might remember my top 5 islands in Antarctica post. But in the interests of fairness, I’m putting just one in here and it’s Cuverville, where we marched in a group to the summit for epic views on an unbelieveable day on life’s corridor.

cuverville hiking antarctica

That magical feeling at the top of Cuverville Island in Antarctica.

8. Cape Horn, CHILE One of the most magical moments ever was getting up close and personal to the magnificent Cape Horn. To actually land on the Horn takes some organisation and doing, flightwise, LAN Airlines  do a good job of getting you close by, you’ll then need to get permission to land on the Horn and get a boat across. To put things simply – this is the southernmost tip of “liveable land” on Planet Earth.

The amazing Cape Horn in behind me on my trip from Antarctica back to Chile and Argentina.

The amazing Cape Horn in behind me on my trip from Antarctica back to Chile and Argentina.

9. Herm, CHANNEL ISLANDS So Sark has already been on the list but its neighbouring Channel Island Herm also warrants a place on this list. An island without cars and with a population of around 55, this is pure relaxation and freedom and I had an entire beach to myself. To get there, it’s the Travel Trident from St. Peter Port in Guernsey.

herm backpacker

Backpacking in Herm, the smallest of the public Channel Islands – walking round to Belvoir Bay.

10. Sloth Island, GUYANA When the option came to visit a remote island that no tourists had ever stayed on before, we jumped at the chance. Getting to Sloth Island meant two rocky boats and a long drive out of Georgetown Guyana. We got to tour the towns of Bartica and Parika and then landed in paradise at Sloth Island. A Nature Resort and Eco friendly island.

sloth island guyana

Having a Banks Beer at Sloth Island resort, Guyana.

11. Tasmania, AUSTRALIA I tried to keep this to a top 10 but really how can I leave the massive island of Tasmania off it as this is where I spent an incredible 6 months back in 2010 working on broccoli farms, cauliflower farms, bean fields, cabbage fields, harvesting echinacea and planting pyrethrum. A life changing island for me. Love it. “I wanna fly and run till it hurts, sleep for a while and speak no words, in Tasmania.”

Jonny Blair's travel blog

Queenstown Tasmania west coast wilderness railway

Rather than just rave about it, check out these awesome five year old articles on Tassie: – Wineglass BayStanleyLynchfordHobartRinadeenaStrahanHuon Valley So this is my top 10 islands (OK, 11). I’ve also compiled my top 10 cities, villages and towns from my first century of countries next, you may also have seen my 5 craziest moments so far. Thanks for continuing to stay connected with me and follow my journeys – or meet me on the road! – Like Don’t Stop Living on Facebook – Subscribe to Don’t Stop Living videos on YouTube StumbleUpon Don’t Stop Living – Follow Don’t Stop Living on Twitter – Get me on GooglePlus Safe travels!

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