At last count, Sydney University’s Coastal Studies Unit declared there were 10,685 Australian beaches.
In a perfect world you’d visit them all but for those of us with less time, it’s helpful to find a way to pick one or two.
Some might opt for the beaches with the softest sand, others for the clearest waters.
But since all of us can agree there is nothing more annoying on a beach than, well, too many other people, we’ve opted for some of Australia’s more secret gems.
1 Bailey Beach, Perth, Western Australia
Just up from popular Mettam’s Pool is beautiful Bailey Beach, around a 20-minute drive from the city centre.
At 87 yds, it’s relatively small, but it tends to be a lot less crowded than its neighbour and the other Perth beaches that stretch from Trigg Island to Hillarys.
This may be because it’s not so good for swimming – the reefs are just off the shoreline – but in calm conditions it’s heaven for snorkellers who can spot all kinds of colourful fish, from old wives to stripeys.
2 Galaru, Northeast, Arnhem Land, Northern Territory
The Northern Territory isn’t known for its swimming options, and Galaru is no exception.
Nonetheless, this stunning wide-open white beach – a 30-hour drive from Darwin, or an hour’s flight to nearby Gove airport – is worth a visit for the views (sunset is spectacular) and the opportunities to go fishing, bird watching, boating or walking.
The area is owned by Yolngu, the Aboriginal people of Northeast Arnhem Land, and recreation permits to visit the area must be obtained from the Dhimurru Aboriginal Corporation.
3 Nudey Beach, Fitzroy Island, Queensland
This small, pristine stretch of sand lies on the south-west shore of Fitzroy Island 45 minutes’ boat ride from Cairns. The island is on the Great Barrier Reef and covered in tropical rainforest, of which 95% is listed as a protected National Park. Just be sure to pack your swimmers – it is Nudey Beach in name only!
After soaking up the sights on the beach, get a closer glimpse of the mesmerising coral life by booking an experience with tour guide Blake Cedar of Dreamtime Dive and Snorkel, who take underwater explorers from Cairns to two stunning coral reefs in a glass bottom ship. Tour guides like Blake are passionate about sharing their knowledge and giving visitors a deeper cultural understanding of this diverse ecosystem and its links Australia’s indigenous heritage.
4 Shark Beach, Nielson Park, Vaucluse, Sydney, New South Wales
This is what Sydneysiders call a “stealth” beach – and despite the fact it’s in the city’s eastern suburbs, the more high-profile attractions of Bondi, Manly and Tamarama keep the crowds at bay.
For not only does Shark Beach boast glorious white sands and great swimming conditions, but also cracking Harbour views.
Oh, and despite the name, it’s completely safe and shark-free. It’s well set up for food too, with three picnic areas and a café, making it popular with local families.
5 Kitty Miller Beach, Phillip Island, Victoria
Kitty Miller Beach scores highly on atmosphere, thanks to its rugged volcanic landscape and a shipwreck – the SS Speke, stranded on the rocks since 1906 and still visible at low tide.
A 90-minute drive from Melbourne, this south-facing, horseshoe-shaped beach is undeniably picturesque, but rip tides mean that it’s better for walking than swimming, although high tide makes good waves for surfers.
6 Friendly Beaches, Freycinet National Park, Tasmania
A breathtaking stretch of clear white sand stretching between Saltwater and Freshwater Lagoons, and a two-hour drive from Hobart, Friendly Beaches was made for walking (Tasmania Parks & Wildlife Services recommends five minutes to five hours).
The beaches are popular with surfers and anglers. Better still is the wildlife: look out for pelicans, pied oystercatchers, fairy and little terns.
Further south you find the gloriously named Wineglass Bay, a voluptuously curved crescent of sand, curling around glittering ocean and framed by forested mountains. As well as walking it and swimming, it’s worth the steepish climb for an hour to reach the lookout on 'the Saddle' – the dip between Mt Amos and Mt Mayson for the most sensational panorama.
7 Point Sir Isaac, Coffin Bay National Park, Eyre Peninsula, South Australia
It takes determination to get to Point Sir Isaac: it’s accessible only at low tide, and even then you’ll need a 4WD to get there.
It’s a seven-hour drive from Adelaide to nearby Coffin Bay, or a 50-minute flight into Port Lincoln Airport, but once you’re in the area, if you’re up for the Point Sir Isaac challenge, it’s more than worth it – you are almost guaranteed to be in total seclusion, and you can camp right on the edge of the beach.
The whole peninsula is famed for fishing, and Point Sir Isaac is no exception – and if you’re lucky you might spot dolphins, too.
There’s nothing like Australia
There’s plenty to spark your wanderlust in Australia. In every corner of our beautiful country you'll find unique experiences and attractions sure to deliver the most memorable holiday you've ever had.
Visit Australia.com for more inspiration.
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