Best beaches in Australia: my pick

Australia’s beaches quite rightly have a reputation for being among the most stunning in the world. The pale, fine sand squeaks beneath your feet, the water remains a brilliant blue all along the coastline, and the palm trees sway overhead as if dancing to Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” song. Oh, and don’t forget that beaming sun! Put it all together, and you end up with some seriously beautiful beaches, and highly desirable destinations.

Whenever we’re on vacation in Australia it’s hard not to gravitate to one of its many wonderful beaches. My sisters are always amazed as to how few people are ever on the beach in my photos. This is often because, although the beach is beautiful, it’s unsafe to swim there. Now I’m not talking sharks but riptides and strong under currents.

As you know I rarely dip much more than my toes in the water so I’m most unlikely to be attacked by any marine wildlife much less swept off my feet and out to sea.

Each of these breathtaking Australian beach towns has its own personality, whether it’s an excellent spot for surfing, snorkeling, or simply soaking up the sun. Lather up with sunscreen, pack a towel, your hat and some sunnies, here are some of our favourite awesome Australian beaches.

(Apologies in advance to the many wonderful beaches we’ve yet to visit.)

1. Whitehaven Beach, Queensland

The uninhabited Whitsunday Island can only be visited via boat or seaplane. It’s a beautiful quiet destination which is largely unspoilt by tourists. Just very white sand, shady trees and cool clear water, facilities for BBQ, friendly wildlife, the perfect place to relax!

2. Surfers Paradise Beach, Queensland

One of Australia’s most iconic beaches, Surfers Paradise is a three kilometre walk of golden sand and is also conveniently close to the city with restaurants, shops and attractions all in the one place. It’s a bit too touristy for us but there’s no denying its splendid beach.

3. Noosa Main Beach, Queensland

This is the perfect family-friendly beach. It’s not very crowded and is also surrounded by a boardwalk chock-a-block with great restaurants and boutiques, not forgetting the nearby national park.

4. Manly Beach, New South Wales

This beach is a 20 minute ferry ride from Sydney’s Circular Quay and is a great day excursion. It’s mainly popular for surfing, but also features plenty of shops, restaurants and coffee shops. We’ve visited a couple of times, mainly to marvel at the surf. It’s larger and less crowded than its more famous neighbour, Bondi.

5. Four-Mile Beach, Port Douglas

We stayed in a hotel overlooking this wonderful beach which is a four-mile stretch of shimmering golden sand. It’s aptly named and reminded us of an island destination thanks to its crystal clear waters, tall palm trees and lush green mountains. You can get an Instagram worthy shot of the beach by climbing to the top of Flagstaff Hill Lookout.

6. Burleigh Heads Beach, Queensland

This beach is a popular alternative to Surfers Paradise and is ideal for surfing and swimming. There is also a fantastic walking path that goes for miles on parkland adjacent to the beach.

7. Lighthouse Beach, Port MacQuarie

Port Macquarie is a charming town where the forest meets the sea along the New South Wales coastline. It has a number of explore-worthy beaches but we thought Lighthouse Beach perfect for those looking for some serious relaxation. There’s also a charming coastal walk starting at Town Beach, then along the headlands to Flynns and Shelly Beach.

8. Mooloolaba Beach, Queensland

Another beautiful beach with white fine sand, warm water and a good surf. This is a nicely developed beach that has something for everyone and is really family-friendly.

9. Port Noarlunga, Adelaide

This beach is in a small, sea-side suburb, about 30 kilometres (19 miles) to the south of Adelaide CBD. Originally a sea port, the area is now a popular holiday and commuter destination. I took this photo from the balcony of where we were staying. The jetty connects to a 1.6 kilometres (0.99 miles) long natural reef that is exposed at low tide. The beach is large and very long with reasonable surfing.

10. Mornington Beach, Victoria

Just one of many delightful beaches on the Mornington Peninsula, this one is in Mornington itself and is one of the safe swimming beaches located around the harbour, a short walk from the town. There are lots of small inlet beaches like this on the Peninsula though many of those on the eastern coast are a much more exposed, wilder and not safe for swimming or surfing.

If you’re a beach lover, this small selection of Australia’s wonderful, glorious beaches probably has you dreaming of a holiday in the sun. Don’t just dream, plan!

Holiday photos: day 23

Every year I try, and every year I fail to eliminate all my cyclist tan lines. This year, however, not having cycled quite as much, I thought it might be easier. The first to go are always the ones on my face. The line across my forehead and the mark of my chin strap. Next up are my hands. I always wear gloves when I cycle but once the sun starts to shine and I’m out and about, without the bike, my hands quickly tan to the same colour as my lower arms.

My arms progressively lighten as you head toward my shoulders and there’s a definite line where the sleeve of my cycling jersey ends. I never wear sleeveless cycling jerseys. No, scratch that. I never wear sleeveless anything. As it gets warmer, I do lower the zip on my jersey which means I get a v-shaped neckline tan.

I wear very short socks but my feet always tan easily albeit with the readily identifiable “t” from my Birkenstocks. This is much more difficult to eliminate. Since I discovered Birkenstocks a few years ago, I rarely wear anything else all summer long. I have them in pretty much every colour under the sun and some.

Next up is my major problem area, the legs. I have a line from wearing my 3/4 length bib-shorts from Octobet to May compounded in the summer by the line of my cycling shorts, roughly halfway up my thighs. My thighs tan quite readily  but my shins do not. In particular, I have a permanent untanned zone from just below my knee. I can confirm that this stripe effect is not a good look.

This holiday, I’ve been wearing knee length tailored shorts exposing my shins to the sun’s rays most days to little avail. I’ve even donned the swimsuit and indulged in some actual sunbathing. My two sister, noted sun worshippers, would be proud of me. Less so probably about the UV50+ sun protection, they never stray into double figures.

12 days of Christmas: Day 11

It’s perhaps inevitable that after another fabulous vacation in Australia so many of the photographs are from our last trip there. My two younger sisters are dedicated sun-worshippers and couldn’t get over the number of photographs of totally empty beaches I posted on Facebook, such as this one on the Mornington Peninsula. But many of the beaches are dangerous, I’m not talking sharks but riptides which could easily sweep you out to sea. However, I just loved those miles of empty sandy beaches bordered by greenery and pounded by the waves.  I think they look wild and remote. Perfect for a spot of chilling, but nothing more.

Things in Australia that made me smile: Beaches

Even though I live a short stroll from the beach, I wouldn’t describe myself as a beach person. No, it’s the water I love, its ever changing moods and colours. However, I’m not adverse to a stroll along a sandy beach, digging my toes into the damp sand and walking along the receding waterline. While I was in Australia, I posted lots of beach photos and many of my friends were astonished at how empty they were. It’s true, there’s so many beaches that most have only a few folks on them. Often the empty ones are the more dangerous ones where swimming is forbidden and there are no lifeguards. I should clarify that, when I say dangerous, I’m referring to rip tides and rocks, not sharks.

Of course, when you use the words “beach” and “Australia” many think of Bondi beach. It might be the most well-known one outside of Australia but it’s surprisingly small. Now, I’m no surfer but the beach is much larger at Manley and the waves look pretty good to me! What do you think?

But my favourite beaches are those where the waves crash against the shoreline and sunbathing is the only permitted activity. Often these are havens for birdlife and are bordered by magnificent dunes with all manner of plants and shrubs.

 

Equally, I love family-style beaches where the sand’s soft, the water’s clear and shallow – ideal for a splash about. Often there’s a pier for strolling along or fishing from or for diving into the sea. Perfect for a spot of lotus eating.

I also enjoy the beaches at sunrise and sunset. I particularly love the play of light on the water.

However, some of the most magnificent seascapes are to be found along the Great Ocean Road.