With modern life revolving around technology, it’s common to spend most of the day looking at a screen – likely to the detriment of our collective mental health. So for those seeking to switch off, unwind and reconnect with the natural world via a digital detox, we’ve found the five best islands around the world that’ll take away the temptation of going online.
Lady Elliot Island, Australia
Snorkel or scuba dive off the coast of Lady Elliot Island
Lady Elliot Island is located just off the southern tip of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. More precisely, it’s found within the ’Green Zone’ of the reef’s Marine Park, an area containing over 1,200 species of marine life. Here, you can snorkel or scuba dive amid kaleidoscopic coral, manta rays, ancient green sea turtles snacking on seagrass and shoals of tropical fish. Immerse yourself in nature staying at the Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort – the only accommodation on the island. The resort provides transport to and from the mainland via a small aircraft. Before setting off on your digital detox island retreat, spend the night at Oaks Resort & Spa – this property is located in Hervey Bay, a coastal city in southern Queensland from where the Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort’s plane picks up its passengers.
Stay entertained with activities like visiting the Alofaaga Blowholes
Savai'i is one of the two islands that make up the remote nation of Samoa in the South Pacific. It’s great for those looking to disconnect from the online world, as access to the internet is expensive and unreliable. Entertain yourself with activities like visiting the Alofaaga Blowholes in the south-west of the island. Here, waves are pushed through the volcanic rock causing a geyser that shoots water up to 20 metres into the air. Locals have capitalised on this natural phenomenon by creating a game where they throw coconuts into the blowhole, which then hurtle high into the sky before (usually) landing in the sea. After the fun, come back and relax by the infinity pool at Le Lagoto Resort & Spa.
Wayasewa Island, Fiji
Find a hammock on the beach and enjoy the natural surroundings
In the middle of the South Pacific, Fiji is one of the happiest countries in the world. It’s part of an archipelago of over 300 islands – any one of which is an ideal place to disconnect. Try Naqalia Lodge on Wayasewa Island, where connection to the internet is limited. Take some time out mingling with locals over the national drink, kava, which is made by mixing the powdered root of the pepper plant with water. It’s always accompanied by a ceremony where people are served the drink in a coconut shell, alongside clapping and cries of ‘Bula’ (a Fijian greeting, essentially wishing someone a happy life). After partaking in this cultural tradition, find a hammock facing the beach to enjoy the warm sun on your skin and the sounds of the waves lapping the shore.
Go off grid without going off grid in Taiwan
For those who want to reconnect with nature but don’t want to disappear offline completely, we’d recommend visiting Taiwan. Technology is one of the country’s key drivers of economic growth but this subtropical volcanic island also has an abundance of natural beauty, with more than 70% of the island made up of wild, misty mountainscapes. Spend the day exploring Taroko National Park and, in particular, its eponymous gorge, a 19km-long canyon cut through by cascading water and a series of beautiful marble and limestone boulders. After your hike, stay close to the park at Silks Place Taroko Hotel and reward yourself with some time in the hotel’s sauna.
Immerse yourself in nature on a hike in Iceland
Detoxing from screens is easy when you stay active, so why not take a hike to pass the time? The Nordic island nation of Iceland boasts some of the world’s most life-affirming landscapes and isolated walking trails. The Laugavegur (or Laugavegurinn) Trail – also called the ‘The Pools of the People’ – is one of the most popular hikes in the country. Set off on either a one-day or a week-long trek through the stupendous volcanic rock mountains, discovering whitewater rivers, hot springs, canyons and valleys. At the end of each day, you can rest your aching body in the geothermal waters found along the trail. Before you head off, stay at Ásaskóli.