Score: 8.14

A necklace of coral atolls surrounding a pristine coral lagoon, Cocos (Keeling)Islands “is just like the Maldives, without mass tourism,” says Inger Vandyke – “the closest thing to a tropical paradise that Australia can boast.” At 2750 kilometres north-west of Perth, getting there is a commitment, but you’ll be well rewarded. Pristine coral, spectacular diving, prolific birdlife and of course, the requisite azure waters lapping palm-lined beaches. “The perfect place to put your feet in the sand with champagne in hand,” she concludes.

To get here: Fly from Perth’s international airport (no passport required) via a stopover at Christmas Island. It’s about a six-hour journey – but just think how intrepid (and remote) you’ll feel on the other side… More info: Cocos Keeling Islands


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