101 Best Australian Beaches

101 Best Australian Beaches

ANDY SHORT
BRAD FARMER
Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: UNSW Press
Pages: 260
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt14btjbk
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  • Book Info
    101 Best Australian Beaches
    Book Description:

    Between them, authors Andy Short and Brad Farmer have visited every one of Australia’s 11,761 mainland beaches, making them uniquely qualified to tell us which are the ones we have to see before we die. This superbly illustrated and thoroughly researched book will make you want to start the journey right now.

    eISBN: 978-1-74224-599-7
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 5-6)

    The thin strips of sand where land meets sea have always fascinated humans. The beach is where life first crawled out of the oceans, where people have hunted, feasted and played for thousands of years, and where many different cultures have first encountered one another, peacefully or otherwise.

    Shorelines are dynamic, ever-changing places. Washed clean twice a day by the incoming tide, beaches are also constantly being reshaped by the forces of wind and water. Shorelines shift, cliffs collapse, tidal pools fill and empty. On land and in the water, plants provide shelter and food for a dazzling array of...

  3. WHY WE HAVE THE WORLD’S BEST BEACHES
    (pp. 8-10)
  4. BEACH SAFETY
    (pp. 11-11)
  5. ADVENTURE BAY BRUNY ISLAND, TASMANIA
    (pp. 12-13)

    Adventure Bay on Tasmania’s Bruny Island boasts an honour roll of visiting early navigators that must surely be unrivalled by any other beach in the country. It was here that in 1642 Abel Tasman tried to find shelter; where Tobias Furneaux stayed after becoming separated from Captain James Cook’s ship in 1773; and where Cook (1777), Captain William Bligh and hisBounty(1788 and pre-mutiny of course!) and the French explorers, Joseph-Antoine D’Entrecasteaux (1792) and Nicolas Baudin (1802) all laid anchor.

    Just south of Hobart, the island is best accessed by the 15-minute sweep across the D’Entrecasteaux Channel on the...

  6. AGNES WATER QUEENSLAND
    (pp. 14-16)

    Nomadic surfers visit this quaint village for the northernmost surf in Queensland, but most people are drawn to Agnes Water for its superb beach and estuary.

    Until the 1970s, this isolated outpost was a well-guarded secret: a few lonely beach shacks stood at the end of the rough 50-kilometre-long track cut by creek crossings. It’s a bit easier to get to today, but this stretch of coast still feels remarkably isolated and pristine, with much of it protected in the Deepwater and Eurimbula national parks.

    Agnes Water’s most famous visitor was Captain James Cook, who dropped anchor here in 1770,...

  7. AVOCA BEACH NEW SOUTH WALES
    (pp. 17-17)

    With its golden strip of gently curving sand and prominent sandstone headlands, Avoca Beach is the pick of the beaches on the NSW Central Coast. The beach blocks the mouth of Avoca Lake, a small estuarine lagoon that occasionally breaks out across the sand (avoca is a Celtic word meaning ‘great estuary’ or ‘river mouth’). With its headlands, rock platforms, surf, pools and lagoon, this delightful beach has something for everyone.

    Development started at the southern end of the beach after a bridge was built across the lake in 1908. A surf life saving club followed in 1929. This is...

  8. BALMORAL BEACH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES
    (pp. 18-19)

    Crescent-shaped Balmoral Beach must surely be one of the world’s most beautiful city beaches. Directly opposite the majestic entrance to Sydney Harbour, Balmoral includes the northern Edwards Beach, separated from its longer neighbour by Rocky Point, which is connected to the mainland by a sandy tombolo and elaborate footbridge. The footbridge and equally decorative rotunda in the adjoining park were built in the 1930s when daytrippers used to arrive by ferry from Circular Quay.

    Together, the two beaches sweep in an east-facing arc of white sand, fronting calm waters or a lazy ocean swell washing through the heads. Edwards Beach...

  9. BELLS BEACH GREAT OCEAN ROAD, VICTORIA
    (pp. 20-21)

    Bells Beach might just be Victoria’s most viewed beach, but at the same time it is one that bears few footprints. Most visitors come just to look – at the dramatic surf and the diehard surfers who brave it from dawn to dusk every day of the year.

    Discovered by surfers from nearby Torquay Surf Life Saving club in the 1950s, Bells came to national attention in 1961 when the first surfing contest was held here. Today, the Bells Easter Festival is the oldest continuous professional surfing contest in the world and perhaps the most famous. In 1973, the beach from...

  10. BONDI BEACH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES
    (pp. 22-23)

    Despite its sometimes-overwhelming popularity, Bondi remains a jewel, with its white curving sand, abundant surf and two protruding headlands forming an attractive semicircular bay. Happily, the seawall and promenade were set well back leaving a 100-metre-wide beach, the widest on the east coast, that can accommodate tens of thousands of beachgoers on its well groomed sand.

    The surf is clear and clean, if a bit boisterous at times thanks to the beach’s orientation straight into the prevailing southerly swell. Rips are always present, including the infamous ‘backpackers’ express’, a strong permanent current that runs out alongside the southern rocks. The...

  11. BOYD TOWN TWOFOLD BAY, NEW SOUTH WALES
    (pp. 24-25)

    Boydtown is one of the oldest settlements on the New South Wales coast but remains one of the smallest and least developed, despite its stunning location on the shores of Twofold Bay.

    Wealthy London stockbroker, Benjamin Boyd, established the settlement in 1843 as a whaling station and port for his vast Monaro grazing properties. Boyd had grandiose plans but, when his colonial enterprise collapsed catastrophically, he fled to the goldfields of California where he soon disappeared. Boydtown was abandoned, leaving only the beachfront Seahorse Inn and an unfinished church perched on a nearby ridge, both built by convict labour. For...

  12. BRAMSTON BEACH QUEENSLAND
    (pp. 26-27)

    Less than an hour’s drive south of Cairns, through a spread of golden cane fields, quiet Bramston Beach is one of northern Queensland’s cleanest and most picturesque beaches – as well as being the site of the state’s first coconut plantation.

    From the Bruce Highway, it’s a winding 17-kilometre drive through the backing coastal range to reach this small, out-of-the-way community of 200 people. Most of ‘town’ is at the southern end of the beach: two rows of houses, two beachfront caravan parks, a solitary store, motel and the shady grass of Pacific Park, all tucked away behind a dense fringe...

  13. BRIDGE WATER BAY VICTORIA
    (pp. 28-30)

    Dramatic Bridgewater Bay on Victoria’s wild western coast is all that remains of an ancient volcano. When the centre of the volcano collapsed, it formed a caldera, the southern side of which has been eroded by the pounding surf to open the bay to the ocean.

    Today, a curving sweep of exposed beaches and rocks is bordered by Cape Bridgewater (with, at 130 metres, Victoria’s highest cliffs) and Cape Nelson, both formed of volcanic basalt. The headlands are covered by massive vegetated dunes, composed of sand blown up onto the top of the cliffs by strong westerly winds over thousands...

  14. BRIDPORT TASMANIA
    (pp. 31-32)

    First settled in the 1830s, the small fishing port of Bridport in Tasmania’s sparsely populated north-east is the base for the cargo vessel to nearby Flinders Island. The village nestles on granite slopes facing east across the open Anderson Bay with its back to the prevailing westerlies.

    Protected from the wind, the town’s five pocket beaches – Old Pier, Mattingley, Croquet Lawn, Eastmans and Goftons – are mostly less than 100 metres long and bordered by beautiful rounded granite boulders. Waves are usually low to calm, with a shallow bar extending out to sea. It’s so shallow here that the old jetty...

  15. BRIGHTON BEACH MELBOURNE, VICTORIA
    (pp. 33-33)

    Brighton Beach is Australia’s only art gallery on the high tide mark, thanks to its colourful array of 82 privately owned beach changing rooms, known locally as beach boxes. The colours of the boxes are constantly changing as the light shifts – or when creative owners get busy with paintbrushes and palettes.

    The boxes evolved from the wheeled ‘bathing machines’ used in Victorian England to preserve modesty. Queen Victoria installed one at Osbourne House on the Isle of Wight in the 1840s and, by the 1860s, Melburnians were following suit on the shores of Port Phillip Bay.

    Sadly, local councils ordered...

  16. BRITISH ADMIRAL BEACH KING ISLAND, TASMANIA
    (pp. 34-36)

    Dotted along the rough, reef-strewn west coast of King Island are monuments to ships wrecked in its wild Bass Strait seas and to the unfortunate sailors who perished as a result. More than 800 lives were lost here during the 19th century and local kangaroo hunters and sealers often buried the bodies in unmarked graves in the sand dunes.

    In 1874, theBritish Admiralwas an iron clipper bringing new settlers to the Australian colonies when it was wrecked on a reef off the beach that now bears its name. Seventy-nine people died, making it the island’s third worst shipwreck....

  17. CABLE BEACH BROOME, WESTERN AUSTRALIA
    (pp. 37-37)

    Broome is an exotic mix of red-dirt outback and white-sand beaches, of cattle and pearls, and of Aboriginal, Asian and European heritage. It offers everything from 5-star cuisine, to indigenous art galleries, pearl emporiums, an historic open-air cinema, funky shops and a great weekend market.

    Cable is this historic Kimberley pearling town’s beach, extending south from the northern access point down to Gantheaume Point, famous for its fossilised dinosaur footprints. Pearling luggers still shelter here in the lee of the point.

    Although tourists have discovered Broome in recent years, the beach remains in a relatively pristine state, still backed by...

  18. CAPE HILLSBOROUGH QUEENSLAND
    (pp. 38-40)

    On this wide, gently sloping beach fronting the Coral Sea, you’ll often find sunbaking kangaroos unfazed by humans – and a host of other wildlife on land and in the sea.

    The forested slopes of the rugged Cape Hillsborough National Park are home to creeks, valleys, caves, waterfalls and a rich tropical ecosystem. The mix of rainforest and eucalyptus forest creates a birdwatcher’s mecca, with over 170 species of birds recorded in the small park – not to mention 28 tropical butterflies, 32 mammals, 10 frogs, 27 reptiles and more than 500 plants. The adjoining marine park is equally rich in wildlife,...

  19. CAPE LEVEQUE DAMPIER PENINSULA, WESTERN AUSTRALIA
    (pp. 41-42)

    This is one for the adventurous. Cape Leveque lies near the northern tip of the Dampier Peninsula, a 220-kilometre, 3-hour haul on a red corrugated dirt road from Broome (although there is also a landing strip for light planes). And the road in is the only road out.

    When you get there though, you will find one of nature’s wonders. The rich red sandstone cape is surrounded by the equally bright red pindan plains, all capped by pure white sand dunes and leafy pandanus trees, the two in places intermingling to form shades of pink. The sunrises and sunsets are...

  20. CAPE PERON SHARK BAY, WESTERN AUSTRALIA
    (pp. 43-44)

    Shark Bay on the desert coast of Western Australia is actually more famous for its dugongs and dolphins than for sharks. This was one of the first areas of the Australian coast to be explored by Europeans. It’s the site of Dutch navigator Dirk Hartog’s historic landing in 1616, and the bay was named by English buccaneer William Dampier in 1699 and mapped by the French explorer, Nicolas Baudin, in 1802.

    The Shark Bay World Heritage Area is still largely pristine and includes 13 national and marine parks as well as Monkey Mia where people come to see the dolphins....

  21. CASUARINA BEACH DARWIN, NORTHERN TERRITORY
    (pp. 45-45)

    Casuarina Beach is Darwin’s favourite coastal playground. This wide sandy beach with its shady casuarinas faces north-east into the Timor Sea, turning its back to the prevailing trade winds. Just 10 kilometres north of the city centre, the beach curves from the slippery claystone bluffs at Dripstone Cliffs to the sandy tip of Lee Point, Darwin’s northern boundary.

    Casuarina is the longest of the 12 beaches on Darwin’s irregular northern shoreline. The beach, dunes and central Sandy Creek are part of the Casuarina Coastal Reserve, which features mangroves, monsoon vine-forest and casuarina woodlands, as well the biggest range of wildlife...

  22. CATHERINE HILL BAY NEW SOUTH WALES
    (pp. 46-47)

    Heritage-listed Catherine Hill Bay is the only surviving example of an historic coastal coal-mining settlement and port in Australia, all set around a beautiful undeveloped beach. In fact, the beach owes its preservation to the coal mine, which has controlled and limited development for 150 years.

    Settlement began here in 1865 and the first shipment of coal left here in 1873. The bay was named after the schoonerCatherine Hill, which was wrecked in the bay in 1867.

    Located just off the old Pacific Highway about 100 kilometres north of Sydney, Catherine Hill Bay is signposted only on the northern...

  23. COSY CORNER BAY OF FIRES, TASMANIA
    (pp. 48-49)

    The Bay of Fires was named by British navigator Tobias Furneaux because of the many Aboriginal fires he saw here when he sailed past in 1773.

    The Bay of Fires Conservation Area is renowned for its coastal walks and its 40 beaches, half of them small pockets of sand less than 100 metres long and all bounded by rocks or low headlands of massive granite covered with orange lichen. In places, these have been eroded into great clusters of large rounded boulders, including the set known as Old Man Rocks.

    The stunning natural beaches along the open 35-kilometre-long bay include...

  24. COTTESLOE PERTH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA
    (pp. 50-51)

    Cottesloe has long been Perth’s favourite ocean beach: beach lovers have been coming here in droves since the opening of the Cottesloe railway station in 1880. Western Australia’s first surf life saving club was established here in 1909 and the second a few hundred metres up the beach at North Cottesloe in 1912.

    Like all Perth beaches, Cottesloe is partly sheltered from large swell by Rottnest Island, resulting in usually low waves that create a narrow, gentle surf zone and make the beach popular with swimmers who do laps of the beach. The steady stream of beachgoers from dawn to...

  25. CRESCENT HEAD NEW SOUTH WALES
    (pp. 52-53)

    Crescent Head retains its quiet, out of the way charm, despite having been a surfing mecca ever since its long, easy waves were discovered by surfers in the 1960s. Its classic peeling right-hand break attracts surfers, particularly long-boarders, all year round and when the surf is running the beachfront car park is packed with them. The beach was proclaimed a National Surfing Reserve in 2008.

    Before its discovery by surfers, this was the beach for the inland town of Kempsey–the Kempsey–Crescent Head Surf Life Saving Club was established here in 1921 when a timber track made its way...

  26. CYLINDERS BEACH NORTH STRADBROKE ISLAND, QUEENSLAND
    (pp. 54-55)

    Think sand and lots of it. You’ll be shaking it off for weeks after you visit – after all, this island is made of it. North ‘Straddie’s’ bush, lakes, surf and big sand dunes make it one of the best and most affordable island destinations in Australia – all just a ferry ride from Brisbane.

    North Stradbroke Island is a massive elongated accumulation of sand, 40 kilometres due east of the Queensland capital. It’s the world’s second largest sand island, after Fraser Island to the north (see Seventy Five Mile Beach). North Stradbroke lost its 21-kilometrelong tail, which became South Stradbroke Island...

  27. DIGGERS BEACH NEW SOUTH WALES
    (pp. 56-57)

    The Coffs Harbour coast features a series of small headland-bound beaches, some of which, like Diggers, are backed by valleys containing small communities or resorts. Set in a beautiful horseshoe-shaped bay, Diggers is made up of two strips of sand totalling just 1 kilometre in length. The beach lies between two prominent and undeveloped headlands that stretch about 300 metres out to sea.

    A low-key resort straddles the small Jordans Creek, which drains out across the northern end of the beach. Public access is at the southern Diggers Beach Reserve, which offers a car park, playground, barbecues, picnic shelters, two...

  28. DUNBOGAN–DIAMOND HEAD NEW SOUTH WALES
    (pp. 58-59)

    Magnificent Crowdy Head National Park, just south of the twin towns of Camden Haven– Laurieton near Port Macquarie, borders 20 kilometres of coastline with four long sweeping beaches. The pick of the bunch is Dunbogan Beach, which curves away to the south between Camden and Diamond heads. Its clean white sand slopes in a gentle gradient, creating a wide surf zone with an outer bar where waves break during bigger seas. In the hinterland, North Brother Mountain rises to 500 metres creating an imposing backdrop.

    When exploring this great stretch of beach, start at the northern lookout on Camden Head...

  29. EAST WOODY BEACH ARNHEM LAND, NORTHERN TERRITORY
    (pp. 60-61)

    This is not the kind of beach to just swing by for a dip, as it’s a 1100 kilometre drive from Darwin and 730 kilometres from the highway to Nhulunbuy (Gove) in eastern Arnhem Land -most of it on the dirt Central Arnhem Land road. Once there you will find the port of Gove located at the western end of the Gove Peninsula, which is lined by long sandy tropical beaches.

    The pick of the beaches is East Woody, located on the north-east shore of the peninsula. It begins at East Woody Island a 25-metre-high mound of rounded granite boulders...

  30. ECO BEACH KIMBERLEY, WESTERN AUSTRALIA
    (pp. 62-64)

    On Australia’s remote north-west coast, Eco Beach lies on the southern side of Roebuck Bay some 40 kilometres south of Broome. From Cape Villaret in the south, the beach winds its way northwards for 12 kilometres to the tip of a low sandy spit where Jacks Creek enters the sea.

    This beach typifies the north-west, with plenty of sand backed by grassy dunes that extend a few hundred metres inland. The usually calm conditions or low waves make this a wonderful place to enjoy the warm aqua-blue waters of the Indian Ocean. But also typical of the north-west are the...

  31. EIGHTY MILE BEACH WESTERN AUSTRALIA
    (pp. 65-65)

    Eighty Mile Beach, in the remote, arid northwest of Western Australia, is actually longer than its names suggests: at 220 kilometres, it is one of the three longest beaches in Australia. Facing north-west, it curves in a gentle arc between Cape Keraudren in the south and Cape Missiessy at the northern end. The French maritime explorer Nicolas Baudin named both capes when he explored this coast in 1801.

    The fine carbonate sand found here is a by-product of the massive shell population that lives on the seabed in the clear ocean waters off the beach. When these organisms die their...

  32. EIMEO MACKAY, QUEENSLAND
    (pp. 66-67)

    Eimeo beach is a little gem. Tucked away at the head of its own small peninsula just outside the central Queensland town of Mackay, it is linked to the mainland by mango-lined Mango Avenue.

    On the western side of the peninsula is the aptly named Sunset Bay. A small tidal creek and tidal shoals occupy the eastern end of the beach where low Dolphin Point extends seawards. The Eimeo Surf Life Saving Club is located at the base of the point and lifesavers patrol the beach during summer.

    The Mackay region has a 5-metre tidal range, which means that at...

  33. ELEPHANT ROCKS WESTERN AUSTRALIA
    (pp. 68-70)

    Small but beautiful, William Bay National Park covers an 11-kilometre-long section of coast just west of Denmark in southern Western Australia. Its spectacular beaches, coves and pools are all bordered and sheltered by massive granite headlands, weathered boulders and reefs, which bear the brunt of the heavy seas.

    The best way to experience the park is to start from the Greens Pool car park and explore on foot the kilometre of coast to either side.

    The main Greens Pool beach area begins just below the car park and extends to the west for 750 metres, sheltered along its length by...

  34. EMILY BAY NORFOLK ISLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES
    (pp. 71-71)

    Emily Bay featured very early in the history of Australia’s settlement by Europeans. HMSSupply, one of the ships of the First Fleet, landed here in March 1788. Its party of 23, including 15 convicts, established the New South Wales colony’s second settlement on the then uninhabited island.

    Since those first convicts hoed the rich basalt soil to grow food for the starving Sydney Town the island has had a rich history.

    From 1825, Norfolk Island was the site of the infamous penal settlement for second offenders, which became a ‘hell on earth’. The convicts built the beautiful Georgian military...

  35. FINGAL BAY NEW SOUTH WALES
    (pp. 72-74)

    Fingal Bay forms a perfect semicircle between Point Stephens and Fingal Head in the Hunter region of New South Wales. In the 19th century, the bay was known as False Bay because it was sometimes mistaken for the entrance to Port Stephens. The 1-kilometre-wide entrance opens into a wide bay containing Fingal Beach, which curves round the bay, changing orientation and character along the way.

    As you walk northwards along the beach from Fingal Head, the waves gradually increase in size. About halfway along, the road and bike path from Port Stephens end at the beach and this is where...

  36. FOUR MILE BEACH PORT DOUGLAS, QUEENSLAND
    (pp. 75-75)

    Established as a booming goldfields port in the 1880s and at one time boasting 48 ‘pubs’ (many were just lean-to tents), Port Douglas then declined for a century into a sleepy sugarcane town. But in recent decades it has been transformed into a global tourist destination that owes much of its popularity to the beautiful Four Mile Beach on its eastern edge.

    The town’s bustling main street runs between the port and the northern end of the beach. At this end you’ll find a series of resorts, large and small, and other accommodation. Largely developed since the 1980s when new...

  37. FRANGIPANI BEACH CAPE YORK, QUEENSLAND
    (pp. 76-77)

    Frangipani Beach is located at the very northern tip of Australia at the end of a torturous two-to-three day, 750-kilometre trek by 4WD. Completing this trip is the golden chalice of many an off-road driver. The often-rutted dirt road from Cooktown to Cape York includes more than 30 creek and river crossings, some the habitat of crocodiles. The road ends among the trees at the eastern end of the beach and most travellers park here then either cross the beach at low tide or, at high tide, walk along the rocky cape to reach the very tip of Cape York...

  38. GIBSONS STEPS GREAT OCEAN ROAD, VICTORIA
    (pp. 78-80)

    Nature is a capricious architect of coastlines, with surf and wind fashioning rocks and cliffs into sculpted forms. One of the world’s most dramatic coastal formations is the series of eroded sea stacks off the southern Victorian coast, which includes the 65-metre-high ‘Twelve Apostles’ as well as those at Gibsons Steps, just a kilometre to the east.

    Set within the Port Campbell National Park, this cliff-hanging walkway leads down to the sand from a small car park just off the Great Ocean Road. The beach is set between the base of the sheer cliffs and the relentless seas of the...

  39. GLENELG ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA
    (pp. 81-81)

    When it comes to a traditional seaside experience in almost Victorian style, few beaches can compete with Glenelg. The combination of a tram from the city, a boardwalk and a long walking jetty is a reminder of the beginnings of popular bathing that began in 19th-century England. Transport by train and tram popularised the beach and made the sea and its pleasures accessible and affordable – as is still the case here at Glenelg.

    Glenelg was also where, in 1836, the newly appointed surveyor-general, Captain William Light, landed to select a site for the colony of South Australia. The area has...

  40. GODFREYS BEACH TASMANIA
    (pp. 82-84)

    The Nut at Stanley is one of Tasmania’s most recognisable natural features, a 143-metre-high volcanic plug rising dramatically out of the sea on the shores of Bass Strait. Early navigator Matthew Flinders called it ‘Circular Head’ when, in 1798, he recorded seeing a ‘cliffy, round lump, in form much resembling a Christmas Cake’.

    The massive eroded stump of basalt, spectacular from a distance, is all that remains of a once giant volcano. It is fun to explore its steep sides and flat top, either by chairlift or by a winding foot track. The charming historic town of Stanley nestles neatly...

  41. GREEN PATCH JERVIS BAY TERRITORY
    (pp. 85-85)

    Pristine Jervis Bay is a vast beach-rimmed stretch of water that opens to the Tasman Sea between the prominent Point Perpendicular and Bowen Island. This idyllic part of the coast includes several national parks and has a significant and ongoing Aboriginal presence.

    Waves enter the bay though the 3-kilometre-wide entrance and spread out around its 47 kilometres of shoreline, resulting in mostly calm waters. The bay is renowned for its crystal-clear waters, fine sands, abundant seagrass meadows and rich marine life. Much of it is protected in the Booderee and Jervis Bay national parks, Jervis Bay Marine Park and Wreck...

  42. GREENLY BEACH EYRE PENINSULA, SOUTH AUSTRALIA
    (pp. 86-88)

    Some beaches just beg the budding artist to set up an easel and try to capture the coastal landscape and this is one of them. Just 50 kilometres north-west of the tuna capital, Port Lincoln, and 10 kilometres off the highway, Greenly Beach is backed by the imposing Mount Greenly, providing a dramatic backdrop to this raw natural beach. The road runs out to a car park at the southern end of the beach – the only ‘footprint’ on an otherwise wonderfully undeveloped part of the coast.

    The beach is composed entirely of coarse, orange carbonate sand washed up from the...

  43. GUNYAH BEACH EYRE PENINSULA, SOUTH AUSTRALIA
    (pp. 89-89)

    Gunyah Beach is the highest energy beach on the long western coast of the Eyre Peninsula. Persistent big swells generated by the Southern Ocean average over 2.5 metres and break across a 500-metre-wide surf zone, in the process creating the largest rip currents anywhere in Australia.

    Strong onshore winds have also mobilised the fine beach sand and blown it up to 9 kilometres inland, almost as far as the township of Coffin Bay. According to Aboriginal legend, the dunes originated when a great fire here was smothered by sand.

    The 15-kilometre-long beach is located in the magnificent Coffin Bay National...

  44. HORSESHOE BAY MAGNETIC ISLAND, QUEENSLAND
    (pp. 90-91)

    Magnetic Island rises 500 metres out of the sea just 7 kilometres east of the north Queensland city of Townsville. ‘Maggie’ is Townsville’s island suburb, home to 2000 people and an ever-popular tourist destination. A regular ferry service runs between the city and the island, transporting you to another world.

    More than half the island is national park and the surrounding waters are a marine park. The island boasts 50 kilometres of coast, with sloping granite rocks framing 24 mostly untouched beaches. The sun shines 320 days a year and the temperature of the clean clear water never drops below...

  45. JOHANNA BEACH GREAT OCEAN ROAD, VICTORIA
    (pp. 92-94)

    Not so much breezy as wildly windswept, Johanna Beach is probably the highest energy and most dangerous beach in Victoria. However it is this raw energy that attracts people to this straight 3.5-kilometre-long beach that faces squarely into the raging seas and relentless swells of the Southern Ocean.

    It was these same wild seas that wrecked the locally built schoonerJohannahere in 1843, imprinting its name on the beach. Johanna is right in the middle of Victoria’s ‘Shipwreck Coast’, site of more than 50 shipwrecks, which stretches for 130 kilometres from Moonlight Head to Cape Otway. Early navigator Matthew...

  46. KALBARRI WESTERN AUSTRALIA
    (pp. 95-95)

    Kalbarri, a growing coastal town of 3000 people, sits at the winding estuarine mouth of the Murchison River, the second longest river in Western Australia. It has become a popular tourist destination, thanks to its beautiful coastline and hospitable locals.

    A section of cliffed coast to the south of the town is included in the Kalbarri National Park and boasts spectacular red sandstone cliffs and rock platforms, best viewed from the cliff-top Bigurda walking trail. North of the cliffs, is the 5-kilometrelong beach, divided by protruding reefs into three sections, all of which are close to the road and car...

  47. KITTY MILLER BAY PHILLIP ISLAND, VICTORIA
    (pp. 96-97)

    Secluded Kitty Miller Bay, an almost circular sheltered cove, is the most picturesque and safest of the 22 beaches that line the exposed southern shores of Phillip Island. The curving beach occupies the northern half of the round bay with a grassy foredune providing a natural backdrop. A 200-metre-wide, reef-choked entrance usually allows only low waves to enter the bay, although they can be a little higher at high tide.

    Surfers venture out to Kennon Point to surf the right-hand break over the entrance reef. Be careful if swimming away from shore because a strong rip current does flow out...

  48. LIPSON COVE EYRE PENINSULA, SOUTH AUSTRALIA
    (pp. 98-100)

    South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula offers a majestic 770-kilometre coastal drive along the Lincoln and Flinders highways, fringed by hundreds of mostly empty beaches. One of the best on the eastern side of the peninsula is the coastal hideout of Lipson Cove, located 7 kilometres off the highway about an hour north of Port Lincoln. The cove was once the port for a nearby talc mine and there was a small settlement here. The jetty was demolished in 1949.

    The cove is sheltered by the small Lipson Island, a conservation park, which is almost connected to the mainland. In fact, you...

  49. LITTLE BEACH TWO PEOPLES BAY, WESTERN AUSTRALIA
    (pp. 101-101)

    This beach may be little, but it makes a big impression. Untouched and dramatic, it encapsulates everything that is special about this stretch of coast in southern Western Australia.

    Just 30 minutes from Albany, Little Beach is part of the Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve, which includes 4700 hectares of rugged Proterozoic granite coastal cliffs and slopes, as well as Holocene and Pleistocene dune systems cradling lakes Gardner and Moates. The road ends at the southern end of Two Peoples Bay beach where there is a visitor centre, picnic ground and boat-launching area. Some 4WD tracks also lead through the...

  50. LONG BEACH ROBE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA
    (pp. 102-103)

    Six thousand years ago, as the sea level rose, it partly drowned an ancient dune system, now known as the Robe Range, breaching the dunes at the northern end to form the 10-kilometre-wide Guichen Bay.

    The shelter provided by the bay led in 1847 to the establishment of the port of Robe, once one of the busiest in Australia. Many of this charming village’s stone buildings and houses date from the 1840s. The port originally shipped wool but today is a centre for professional fishing and crayfishing – so watch out for catches of the famous local southern rock lobster.

    Sheltered...

  51. LORNE GREAT OCEAN ROAD, VICTORIA
    (pp. 104-106)

    Two and a half hours from Melbourne, Lorne is one of Victoria’s favourite summer destinations, accessed via the spectacular Great Ocean Road. Soldiers returned from WWI built the road between 1919 and 1932, opening up this once inaccessible stretch of coast and creating one of the great ocean drives in the world. Part of the National Heritage List, the Great Ocean Road is also the world’s largest monument to those who served in WWI. This dramatic piece of engineering winds along precipitous coastal cliffs, around headlands, beside beaches, across rivers and estuaries and through mountains that are home to Australia’s...

  52. LUCKY BAY WESTERN AUSTRALIA
    (pp. 107-107)

    Lucky Bay is where the explorer John Eyre, got ‘lucky’ in 1841 when, after four months of trekking along the edge of the Great Australian Bight and the loss of three companions, he came upon the whaling shipMississippiat anchor – a meeting that probably saved his life. Today, this region is still in a mostly natural state, protected within the Cape Le Grande National Park. The park extends along 78 kilometres of coast and has 27 beaches, the pick of which is Lucky Bay, although there could be many deserving runners up here.

    As the road gently descends into...

  53. MANDALAY BEACH WESTERN AUSTRALIA
    (pp. 108-109)

    This beach is not on every traveller’s checklist. Along this stretch of coast, there are a number of vaguely marked turn-offs that could lead you on a longish return trip to nowhere of real interest but the 7-kilometre road to Mandalay, off the South-Western Highway near Walpole, is one detour that will not disappoint. This is simply a superb, natural ocean beach.

    A Norwegian ship driven ashore and wrecked here in 1911 lent its name to this dramatic beach, and parts of the wreck are still occasionally exposed by moving sand. Mandalay is typical of many of the high-energy beaches...

  54. MANLY BEACH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES
    (pp. 110-112)

    Lively Manly Beach offers a more or less continuous beach parade, especially at the height of summer. Along with Bondi, Noosa and Surfers Paradise, it is one of the four favourite beach destinations on the east coast.

    For over 160 years, Manly has been one of the most popular beaches in Australia. It’s here that ‘surf bathing’ really started and the essential threads of surfing history were sewn into the nation’s beach-culture fabric.

    It was also one of the first places in Australia to be named by resident Europeans. In 1788, while searching for fresh water for the fledgling colony...

  55. MARRAWAH BEACH TASMANIA
    (pp. 113-113)

    This remote beach is named after the nearby small town, the westernmost in Tasmania and the furthest from both Hobart and Launceston. It’s little wonder the beach is often deserted. But thanks to the winds that sweep across 15 000 kilometres of uninterrupted ocean, Marrawah offers the best surf on the island state’s west coast, attracting cold-water surfers from across Tasmania.

    The beach is sheltered by Green Point, from where it curves for 6 kilometres to the north. The road from town winds down to the southern end of the beach where there’s a car park, small camping area and...

  56. MEELUP WESTERN AUSTRALIA
    (pp. 114-115)

    Cape Naturaliste, named by French explorer Nicolas Baudin in 1801, is one of the more prominent landmarks on the Australian coast. From here to that other great landmark, Cape Leeuwin in the Margaret River region far to the south, the ‘cape-to-cape’ coast offers some of the best surf in the world – not to mention the wines (see Smiths Beach).

    Meelup Beach is a local favourite and for good reason. It’s safe, protected, shady and close to many other attractions, including delightful Dunsborough. Access is easy, with the Meelup road running right to the beach. Huge waves pound the western side...

  57. MERDAYERRAH SANDPATCH NULLARBOR, SOUTH AUSTRALIA
    (pp. 116-117)

    The great Nullarbor Cliffs extend for 210 kilometres west from Head of Bight to Wilsons Bluff, which marks the border of South Australia and Western Australia. They range from 70 to 90 metres in height with a sheer drop to the wild seas below. The Eyre Highway runs parallel to the cliffs for their entire length and the occasional viewing spots are highlights along the seemingly endless, relatively featureless drive across the scrubby Nullarbor Plain.

    The unsignposted Merdayerrah Sandpatch is the westernmost beach in South Australia. It is known by its Aboriginal name ‘Merdayerrah’, while ‘sandpatch’ refers to the climbing...

  58. MERIMBULA–PAMBULA NEW SOUTH WALES
    (pp. 118-120)

    Merimbula–Pambula beach is a gently curving, east-facing stretch of sand that links the two contrasting South Coast communities of Merimbula and Pambula. At both ends, the 6-kilometre beach ends with a river mouth and prominent headland. It is largely in a pristine natural state, and so are its backing low dunes, which are covered in a littoral eucalyptus forest.

    At the Merimbula end, the popular, thriving township swells during summer as thousands arrive to holiday here. There is a wide range of accommodation, restaurants and amenities and the town is famous for its local oysters. The equally famous Merimbula...

  59. MINDIL BEACH DARWIN, NORTHERN TERRITORY
    (pp. 121-121)

    Exotic food, buzzing crowds and tropical sunsets: Darwin’s Mindil Beach has a vibe like no other in Australia. It’s a multicultural feast of freewheeling characters under a canopy of coconut palms. On Thursday and Sunday nights from May to October, Mindil offers perhaps Australia’s, and definitely the Territory’s, best market. It’s a heady mix of the Top End, the tropics and the orient, with the produce, beats and colourful people to match.

    The kilometre-long beach is set between two low headlands, and is steep at high tide. As the tide recedes, it reveals a wider beach. Swimming is best at...

  60. MISSION BEACH QUEENSLAND
    (pp. 122-123)

    Mission Beach, midway between Townsville and Cairns, used to be right off the beaten track. The site of an Aboriginal mission in the early 1900s, the area was home to little more than small-scale agricultural activities until the 1970s when better access led to the first tourist development.

    The beach runs between Clump and Tam O’Shanter points and is backed by coconut palms and a vegetated foredune. There are views of Dunk Island, just 4 kilometres offshore. The island provides some shelter and low waves usually lap against a steep beach at high tide and break over a wide flat...

  61. MON REPOS QUEENSLAND
    (pp. 124-125)

    Its name means ‘my rest’ in French, but Mon Repos could easily be called Turtle Beach. This is the site of the largest loggerhead turtle nesting site in Australia. Protected within the Mon Repos Conservation Park, the once endangered turtle populations are experiencing a slow comeback.

    Under cover of darkness, an ancient ritual unfolds on most nights between November and March. Up to 450 loggerhead, flatback and green turtles can be seen coming ashore to lay their eggs in holes they excavate in the sandy beach. About eight weeks later, the hatchlings emerge and make their dash to the open...

  62. MYALL BEACH DAINTREE, QUEENSLAND
    (pp. 126-127)

    Myall Beach is where one of the world’s oldest living ecosytems, the Daintree Rainforest, meets the fringing corals of the Great Barrier Reef. This is the place where two World Heritage Areas meet – a rare combination indeed.

    The beach lies on the southern side of Cape Tribulation, named by navigator James Cook in 1770 because beyond here all his ‘tribulations’ began, starting with the holing of his ship on Endeavour Reef.

    Today the cape is a magnet for those wanting to experience tropical north Queensland at its best and Myall Beach is the ideal place to do that. It has...

  63. NEDS BEACH LORD HOWE ISLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES
    (pp. 128-129)

    The island paradise of Lord Howe Island, 750 kilometres north-east of Sydney, is dominated by towering basalt mountains and fringed by sandy beaches. Its waters hold the highest-latitude coral-reef system in the world , part of the reason for its World Heritage status.

    The main reef links the two end points of the island, forming a large lagoon The island was discovered by Europeans in 1788 when HMSSupply, one of the First Fleet ships en route to establish a settlement at Norfolk Island (see Emily Bay) sailed by. But it was not permanently settled until 1834. Today, it has...

  64. NIELSEN PARK SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES
    (pp. 130-131)

    Close to the Sydney CBD, the harbour-side beach at Nielsen Park would probably not attract the enthusiastic crowds it does if it were better known by its real name – Shark Beach. However, don’t let the name put you off spreading a picnic rug or beach towel and joining the many people who choose its calmer waters and shady parkland over the nearby Bondi Beach (see Bondi Beach).

    Generously shaded by grand Moreton Bay figs, Nielsen Park, part of the Sydney Harbour National Park, backs the small 200-metre-long beach, extending inland to the neo-Gothic Victorian sandstone Greycliffe House, built during the...

  65. NINETY MILE BEACH GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA
    (pp. 132-133)

    This majestic, unspoilt beach faces south into Bass Strait, receiving the full force of the gales that thunder in from the west. Australia’s third longest uninterrupted beach (see Eighty Mile Beach), it stretches out of sight for 125 kilometres between the northern training walls at Lakes Entrance and the more dynamic McLaughlin Inlet in the south.

    The seemingly endless strip of sand formed 6000 years ago when rising sea levels deposited their sediment here, in the process enclosing the Gippsland Lakes, Australia’s largest coastal lake system. Constant waves have formed an outer sandbar along the beach, enclosing a deep trough...

  66. NORRIES HEAD NEW SOUTH WALES
    (pp. 134-135)

    The Tweed Coast in northern New South Wales includes quiet estuaries, small villages and clean wave-washed beaches over about 40 kilometres from to Pottsville to the Queensland border.

    The best of its usually long beaches is at Norries Head, where a small beach, known locally as Caba, sits between the base of the headland and the strip of wave-washed rock platform and boulders that links it to the local community of Cabarita. This is a little gem of north-facing calmer waters wedged between the rocks and backed by a fringe of shady casuarinas, a grassy park and picnic area – all...

  67. OCEAN BEACH STRAHAN, TASMANIA
    (pp. 136-137)

    Ocean Beach at Strahan, on the untamed, rugged west coast of Tasmania, receives the full force of the wind and waves from the mighty Southern Ocean. This is the highest energy beach in Australia. Everyday waves average 3 metres and can reach up to 5 metres, but the highest wave recorded here was over 21 metres!

    The beach has a fetch (the area of ocean for waves to develop) that extends 15 000 kilometres to South America – the longest in the world. Across this vast expanse the high-latitude winds – the famous roaring 40s, raging 50s and screaming 60s – stir up...

  68. PALM COVE CAIRNS, QUEENSLAND
    (pp. 138-140)

    Just under half an hour north of Cairns by road lies its most famous beach – a 6-kilometre stretch of gently curving sand that holds three separate beach communities: Palm Cove, Clifton Beach and Kewarra.

    Palm Cove, at the northern end, looks out towards Double Island. This is a resort-based beach with many smart beachside restaurants and bars, all in a village atmosphere with everything within walking distance. Historically, this beach, previously known as Palm Beach, was a seaside escape for farmers from the Atherton tablelands and locals from Cairns, but now its wide range of accommodation draws visitors from everywhere....

  69. PEACEFUL BAY WESTERN AUSTRALIA
    (pp. 141-141)

    Peaceful Bay, as the name implies, is a quiet, calm bay on a coast dominated by some thundering, energetic beaches. Tucked in the lee of Point Irwin, the bay faces east with its back to the prevailing westerly winds. It is further sheltered by a series of gneiss rock reefs that partly block the 400-metre-wide bay entrance.

    The wide low-gradient sandy beach curves for 600 metres between the two low boundary points that are tied to the reefs. The curving shore usually has low waves or calm conditions.

    This is an ideal location for those seeking a sheltered beach and...

  70. PERLUBIE BEACH SOUTH AUSTRALIA
    (pp. 142-143)

    Around the coastline, beaches have been the site for everything from aircraft landing strips to weddings, rock concerts and land speed records, even the unexpected landing place for space junk.

    Here at Perlubie, it was horse racing – on a very firm track (depending on the tide of course). This is just one example of how some remote coastal farming communities had fun, and a flutter. The local Perlubie Beach Race Day was the Melbourne Cup of the beach until it was discontinued in 1992.

    Perlubie Beach, or Perlubie Landing from its wheat-shipping days, lies just off the Flinders Highway 15...

  71. PIRATES BAY TASMANIA
    (pp. 144-145)

    It’s hard to believe that this beach is just an hour from Tasmania’s capital. It feels so isolated and it has one of the most dramatic and beautiful coastal landscapes in Australia. But despite the name, the closest you will come to pirates here is exploring one of the scattered shipwrecks that lie at rest in this superb marine environment. The spectacular water scenery extends to the sun-filtered depths, making this a visual paradise, both above and below the surface.

    The beach lies in a 2-kilometre-wide semicircular bay, with a safe anchorage and jetty in the southern corner. Boat tours...

  72. PONDALOWIE BAY YORKE PENINSULA, SOUTH AUSTRALIA
    (pp. 146-147)

    To the local Aboriginal people, Pondalowie means ‘limestone water hole’ and it was the availability of fresh water on this arid coast and the bay’s sheltered position, that resulted in the area’s early occupation by ex-convict sealers.

    Pondalowie Bay is located in the 9500-hectare Innes National Park at the southern tip of the Yorke Peninsula, with Spencer Gulf to the west and Gulf St Vincent to the east. This sparsely inhabited tip sits north of Kangaroo Island and is separated from it by Investigator Strait.

    The bay opens through a 1.3-kilometre-wide gap between Middle Island and South Islet, and its...

  73. PORT NOARLUNGA ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA
    (pp. 148-149)

    Port Noarlunga, on Gulf St Vincent, began life as a small coastal port. Today it is part of outer Adelaide and a popular residential and holiday resort destination just 30 kilometres south of the CBD. This is a quieter alternative to Adelaide’s busier city beaches.

    The original ‘ port’ was supposed to be built on the Onkaparinga River, which enters the gulf at the southern end of the beach. But that proved too shallow so, in 1855, a jetty was constructed in waters protected by a reef that lies parallel to the shore just a few hundred metres off the...

  74. PORTSEA MORNINGTON PENINSULA, VICTORIA
    (pp. 150-151)

    Portsea on the Mornington Peninsula has two faces. The front or main beach sits on the placid waters of Port Phillip Bay. The residential area behind the beach, where many of the streets are lined with majestic, mature pine trees, is an enclave for Melbourne’s well-to-do.

    In stark contrast to the tranquil, ordered main beach, the Back Beach 2 kilometres to the south is Australia’s highest energy and most hazardous patrolled beach. The waves and wind delivered the sand that built the high dunes behind the beach. The waves have also swept much of the sand from the water up...

  75. RAINBOW BAY GOLD COAST, QUEENSLAND
    (pp. 152-153)

    Listed as having one of the world’s longest, most perfect waves, Rainbow Bay with its ‘Superbank’ is the southernmost beach on the Gold Coast.

    Nestled between the basalt rocks of Greenmount and the ridged sedimentary rocks of Snapper Rocks–Point Danger, the 300-metre-long beach faces north-west, providing a setting for glorious sunsets over Greenmount. There are views through the giant pines and pandanus right up the coast to Surfers Paradise.

    Sand moves around the southern point in pulses, which can produce a wide sandbar. This is where the famous waves of Snapper Rock break, a site for international surfing competitions...

  76. RAINBOW BEACH QUEENSLAND
    (pp. 154-155)

    Rainbow Beach, on Queensland’s Cooloola Coast, is named after the ‘rainbow’ of sands that are exposed along its high-scarped dune face, providing the longest and most colourful backdrop to any beach in Australia. Local Aboriginal legend has it that the coastal cliffs were given these hues when Yiningie, the spirit of the gods representing the Rainbow, was killed in a fight and spread his colourful spirits across the cliffs.

    The story of the coloured sands actually goes back several hundred thousand years. Each time the sea level rose to near its present height, sand was blown onto the dunes. Over...

  77. REDBILL–DIAMOND ISLAND TASMANIA
    (pp. 156-157)

    Pied oystercatchers, with their red bills, hooded plovers and fairy penguins are all residents of Redbill Beach, located just north of the popular coastal town of Bicheno. It’s a great beach for a picnic, swim, surf, walk or just to enjoy nature’s variety.

    Bicheno started out as a whaling settlement and is still a fishing port. The fishing fleet is based in The Gulch in the lee of granitic, wavewashed Governor Island. The sloping granite coast extends north of the town to Redbill Beach, whose sandy shore curves northward for 1 kilometre until it reaches Diamond Island, which is connected...

  78. REFUGE COVE WILSONS PROMONTORY, VICTORIA
    (pp. 158-159)

    Wilsons Promontory, commonly known as the ‘Prom’, contains 50 000 hectares of raw coastal wilderness on mainland Australia’s southernmost tip. It is one of Victoria’s oldest and most popular national parks.

    Tranquil Refuge Cove, on the remote eastern shore, has provided shelter to humans for thousands of years. Indigenous Australians fished its waters and left rich shell middens on the shore. Later, from the 1830s, a whaling station operated here, followed by a granite quarry and timbergetting operations and during WWII commandos were trained here.

    Since then tranquillity has returned, with only passing fishing boats and sailing craft finding shelter...

  79. RESORT BEACH LIZARD ISLAND, QUEENSLAND
    (pp. 160-162)

    Rising out of the deep blue Coral Sea some 250 kilometres north of Cairns, Lizard Island is a reef-fringed high granite island blessed with 20 beaches. The entire island is a national park and the surrounding waters are part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. This pristine beach environment is accessible only by plane or boat.

    The first European visitor was explorer James Cook who, trapped within a labyrinth of coral reefs in 1770, landed on the island after his encounter with Endeavour Reef. Cook and his party climbed to the island’s summit (‘Cooks Look’) in a bid to...

  80. SANDY CAPE WESTERN AUSTRALIA
    (pp. 163-163)

    The magnificent Indian Ocean Drive, which opened in 2010, links the coastal communities of Lancelin, Cervantes, Jurien Bay and Green Head. This region is known as the Turquoise Coast, named after the colour of the water as it reflects off the white carbonate sands of the sea floor.

    There are some 100 beaches along the drive, although many are only accessible on foot or by 4WD. The pick of them all is Sandy Cape, 15 kilometres north of Jurien Bay.

    The beach and the cape – a dune-draped headland that forms the southern boundary of the curving beach – are now part...

  81. SEAL ROCKS NEW SOUTH WALES
    (pp. 164-165)

    Seal Rocks is named after a series of steep rocky outcrops located 2 kilometres off Sugarloaf Point where Australian fur-seals haul out to sunbake during the summer months. The tall lighthouse on the point was built in 1875 to warn shipping of the projecting point and the hazardous reefs, although there have been some shipwrecks since. The sheltered northern side of the point houses a small historic timber and fishing settlement, now surrounded by Myall Lakes National Park and the Port Stephens–Great Lakes Marine Park.

    Four picturesque beaches border Sugarloaf Point. On the northern, sheltered side is Number One,...

  82. SECOND VALLEY FLEURIEU PENINSULA, SOUTH AUSTRALIA
    (pp. 166-167)

    Charming Second Valley is a small farming and fishing hamlet on the shores of Gulf St Vincent, with a permanent population of around 200. It has a ‘lost in time’ seaside setting much admired by visitors.

    Just 90 kilometres south of Adelaide on the Fleurieu Peninsula this quaint haven includes two small communities in the secluded valley. There is a 150-year-old restored grain mill on the main road, while the main cluster of heritage cottages sits behind a narrow gap in the valley sides.

    The shorefront car park leads to a pocket of sand bordered at its southern end by...

  83. SECRET BEACH MALLACOOTA, VICTORIA
    (pp. 168-169)

    This beach is hidden away adjacent to the Croajingolong National Park, a coastal wilderness near the NSW–Victorian border. It’s one of those ‘just off the highway’ gems.

    Twenty-five kilometres off the Princes Highway from Genoa, the fishing village of Mallacoota sits on the shores of the superb Mallacoota Inlet. Croajingolong National Park encloses Mallacoota in a World Biosphere Reserve, so the area is special in many ways.

    If you follow the coast road that runs south from the village for 6 kilometres, just past the airport you’ll find a bluff-top car park and a walking track that descends through...

  84. SEVEN MILE BEACH SHOALHAVEN, NEW SOUTH WALES
    (pp. 170-171)

    Seven Mile beach is the longest beach on the New South Wales coast south of Sydney and also the one with the finest sand, which has created in a hard, firm surface.

    Pioneering aviator Charles Kingsford-Smith took advantage of this when he used the beach as a runway on his historic first commercial Trans-Tasman flight to New Zealand in 1933. A small park on the northern headland commemorates this feat as well as providing sweeping views down the beach.

    The beach stretches for 12.5 kilometres (7.5 miles) to the usually blocked Shoalhaven River mouth and continues for another 5 kilometres...

  85. SEVENTY FIVE MILEBEACH FRASER ISLAND, QUEENSLAND
    (pp. 172-174)

    Fraser Island is the world’s largest sand island, site of Queensland’s longest beach and home to ancient coloured sand dunes. It has bubbling freshwater springs, pure-bred dingoes, rainforest-covered dunes and pristine freshwater lakes high in the dunes, including the world’s largest. It’s also a national park and World Heritage Area.

    Aboriginal people call this place K’gari … ‘paradise’. It was named Fraser Island after Eliza Fraser, the sole survivor of an 1836 shipwreck who lived with local Aboriginal people before being rescued.

    Beaches ring the entire 200 kilometres of the island’s shore but the best by far is the long,...

  86. SHELL BEACH SHARK BAY, WESTERN AUSTRALIA
    (pp. 175-175)

    The shoreline here is composed entirely of shells – millions of them, several metres deep. It is the only beach of this type in Australia and one of only two shell beaches like it in the world.

    Shell Beach is an example of the amazing environments that have evolved in the arid, highsalinity environment of Shark Bay. The beach is located deep in the bay at the base of Lharidon Bight, so far from the entrance and ‘fresh’ seawater that the high evaporation results in salinity reaching twice that of sea water (70 parts of salt per 1000 parts of sea...

  87. SHELLEY BEACH NEW SOUTH WALES
    (pp. 176-178)

    Shelley Beach is a remote walk-in beach located in Yuraygir National Park on the New South Wales north coast. This national park contains more than 60 kilometres of coast, between Angourie and Red Rock.

    This is the traditional country of the Yaegl and Gumbaynggir indigenous people whose ancestors camped, fished and held ceremonies in the region. Today the park is interspersed with a collection of small communities that occupy pockets of freehold land well off the highway.

    The park contains 48 remote beaches and the best way to see them is on the coastal walk from Angourie to Red Cliff...

  88. SILICA BEACH KIMBERLEY, WESTERN AUSTRALIA
    (pp. 179-179)

    Silica Beach is an enigma. Located on uninhabited Hidden Island, part of the Buccaneer Archipelago in the remote western Kimberley, it is a pure white beach composed of silica, on a coast dominated by beaches composed of carbonate material – shell and coral fragments. The source of the silica remains a mystery, but there is no doubt about its purity and clarity. And, when you walk on it, it is just as extraordinary to listen to, as it is to see.

    Like most Kimberley beaches, this one is short, just 150 metres long. It occupies the mouth of a small valley,...

  89. SMITHS BEACH MARGARET RIVER, WESTERN AUSTRALIA
    (pp. 180-182)

    This beach is set on a 100-kilometre stretch of some of Australia’s best surf, adjacent to one of the country’s leading gastronomic and winemaking regions. This wild and rugged coastline with lush forested hinterland enjoys what many consider the finest consistent surfing waves anywhere on the planet.

    Wave-rich Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park runs from Yallingup in the north to Augusta at the south-west tip of Australia where the great Indian and Southern oceans meet. Among the 75 swimming and surfing beaches on this stretch of coast, wide, accessible and moderately sheltered Smiths Beach is the most popular. It nestles 2 kilometres...

  90. SNELLINGS BEACH KANGAROO ISLAND, SOUTH AUSTRALIA
    (pp. 183-183)

    Snellings Beach, the most popular beach on Kangaroo Island’s north coast, is located 60 kilometres west of Kingscote along the slow gravel North Coast road, which crosses the backing Middle River flats and skirts the western end of the beach.

    There is a scattering of dwellings and not much else other than a car park and small camping area. A solitary Robinson Crusoe shack is wedged in amongst the western rocks on an otherwise natural beach.

    This 600-metre-long beach faces north-west exposing it to the occasional westerly swell that makes its way along the north coast, which can at times...

  91. SOUTH BROULEE NEW SOUTH WALES
    (pp. 184-186)

    Broulee is a small coastal settlement renowned for its beaches, estuaries and island. This vibrant local community, with its commitment to maintaining the beautiful coastline and natural environment, is also the focal point for surfing, surf lifesaving and surf schools in the area. There are two main beaches here, the sheltered Broulee fronting the main part of town and the more exposed and natural South Broulee.

    Broulee Island, a nature reserve and sandtied headland, forms the northern boundary of South Broulee Beach. At the other end is South Head, with its popular surf break known as ‘The Wall’. The Moruya...

  92. SURFERS PARADISE GOLD COAST, QUEENSLAND
    (pp. 187-187)

    ‘Sea Glint’ was one name suggested by entrepreneur Jim Cavill in the 1930s to brand this once-sleepy settlement. But it seems the name that eventually stuck has been a commercial winner.

    No other city in the world has been planned and promoted around a beach culture as much as the Gold Coast’s Surfers Paradise. This formerly isolated infertile stretch of sand, originally grazed in the 1870s and left barren for years with not much more than a beach pub and an adjoining zoo, has become a beach phenomenon worth billions of dollars to the national economy.

    ‘Surfers’, like Sydney’s Bondi,...

  93. TANGALOOMA MORETON ISLAND, QUEENSLAND
    (pp. 188-190)

    Moreton Island, at the entrance to Moreton Bay, is one giant mass of sand – and that means great beaches on every side. This magnificent island, now a national park, is located directly north-east of Brisbane and is a favourite day trip by ferry. The trip takes just over an hour and a day spent here is a peaceful alternative to the Gold Coast. Of the four small settlements on the bay side, Tangalooma’s sheltered beach is the best.

    Thought by explorer James Cook to be part of the mainland when he named the northern rocky outcrop Cape ‘Morton’ in 1770...

  94. TEA TREE BEACH NOOSA, QUEENSLAND
    (pp. 191-192)

    The popularity of Noosa’s beaches and point breaks had its origins in the early 1960s when surfers came here seeking new waves. Those bands of adventurous surfers in beat-up cars, barefoot and broke, camped here and put beaches like Tea Tree and First Point on the front covers of magazines.

    The walk from Noosa Beach to the eastward-protruding Noosa Head is probably the most popular 3-kilometre coastal walk in Australia. It takes in alternating boulder-rimmed headlands and curving pockets of sand, with superb surf breaks wrapping round the points and the dense rainforested slopes of the national park behind.

    Leaving...

  95. THE BASIN ROTTNEST ISLAND, WESTERN AUSTRALIA
    (pp. 193-193)

    The local name of Rotto just doesn’t seem to do justice to this jewel of an island 20 kilometres off the West Australian coast and a half-hour ferry ride from Perth. Rottnest was named by the Dutch navigator Willem de Vlamingh when, in 1696, he mistook the native marsupial quokka for a rodent and thus called the place ‘rat’s nest’. Around 10 000 quokkas still call Rottnest home.

    The island’s history has not always been a happy one. In 1838, it was used as a penal colony for Aboriginal men and boys of the Noongar people, but in 1903 things...

  96. THE COORONG SOUTH AUSTRALIA
    (pp. 194-196)

    The World Heritage-listed Coorong is Australia’s second-longest continuous beach (see Eighty Mile Beach) and one of its wildest. The only interruption along this seemingly endless 194-kilometre stretch of sand between Cape Jaffa and the mouth of the Murray River is two rounded lumps of rock known as The Granites about 20 kilometres north of the beach’s only town, Kingston SE. Massive sand dunes right along the beach can extend inland by up to 2 kilometres.

    Although the whole beach faces west into the prevailing winds and heavy south-west swell, the 22-kilometre southern section between Kingston and Cape Jaffa, known as...

  97. THE STRAND TOWNSVILLE, QUEENSLAND
    (pp. 197-198)

    Many visitors to Townsville take a ferry 7 kilometres offshore to Magnetic Island to enjoy the beaches there (see Horseshoe Bay). But now there is also a brilliantly designed and more accessible beach experience on the city’s doorstep.

    The Strand has been a part of Townsville’s history since the city was founded in the mid-19th century. Many beautiful historical buildings dating back to early settlement line the foreshore, which is only 10 minutes from downtown Townsville. After the foreshore was ravaged by cyclones in the late 1990s, local, state and federal governments funded a spectacular new ‘beach’ here, pumping sand...

  98. TIDAL RIVER WILSONS PROMONTORY, VICTORIA
    (pp. 199-199)

    Wilsons Promontory ends at South Cape, the southern tip of mainland Australia and 3200 kilometres, as the crow flies, from Cape York’s Frangipani Beach, the country’s northernmost beach (see Frangipani Beach).

    The ‘Prom’ as Victorians prefer to call it, is one of the state’s great natural destinations. Its dramatic coastal landscape is dominated by towering granite peaks, rising in places to 750 metres. It is surrounded by 120 kilometres of predominantly rocky granite shoreline, which contains 34, generally small, beaches, most accessible only on foot or by boat.

    Explorers, sealers, whalers, timber-cutters, pastoralists, soldier settlers and goldminers all had an...

  99. TROUSERS BEACH FLINDERS ISLAND, TASMANIA
    (pp. 200-202)

    Flinders is a magical island of natural coastal beauty and simple delights. The main island and the scatter of surrounding offshore islands or ‘mountains in the sea’, remained above the rising seas after the last ice age flooded Bass Strait. The island is not on many travellers’ wish-lists, but it deserves to be.

    The 234 kilometres of coast hosts 134 beaches, facing west into Bass Strait and east to the Tasman Sea and the best of them is Trousers Beach in the south-west corner. Tucked in behind Trousers Point, the beach curves to the south for 1.8 kilometres to Holts...

  100. WARATAH BAY VICTORIA
    (pp. 203-203)

    Waratah Bay is a curving 26-kilometrelong bay washed by the waves that wrap around Cape Liptrap, its western point. The bay faces into Bass Strait and, except for the protected western end, receives the full force of the westerly storms. This relatively undeveloped spot is just off the South Gippsland Highway, a two-hour drive from Melbourne.

    At the sheltered western corner is the historic Walkerville settlement now located in Cape Liptrap Coastal Park. The waves gradually increase in size as you move east, with good surf breaking across a 300-metre-wide surf zone that normally runs from the small centrally located...

  101. WATEGOS BEACH BYRON BAY, NEW SOUTH WALES
    (pp. 204-205)

    Subtropical Wategos Beach is nestled at the very tip of Cape Byron, making it the most easterly beach in Australia. The half-kilometre long strip of sand and rocks faces due north, with the 100-metre-high cape, topped by the historic Cape Byron Lighthouse, rising spectacularly behind.

    The road from the town of Byron Bay winds along the northern side of the cape to reach the beach, which is set across the mouth of a small palm-filled valley. The beach is generally wide, with waves wrapping around the cape and running at an angle along the beach. The surf zone is usually...

  102. WESTERN RIVER COVE KANGAROO ISLAND, SOUTH AUSTRALIA
    (pp. 206-207)

    Seal hunters used Kangaroo Island as a base long before any planned settlement began, but the island remained sparsely populated until some of the land was assigned to soldier settlers after WWII. It now has a population of 4500, mostly located in Kingscote and Penneshaw.

    The remainder of this hilly island remains sparsely populated particularly along the coast. The whole western end of the island is included in the Flinders Chase National Park.

    Typical of the rugged north coast is Western River Cove, a 150-metre-long strip of sand that blocks a small river mouth. The quiet Western River, more often...

  103. WHITEHAVEN BEACH WHITSUNDAY ISLAND, QUEENSLAND
    (pp. 208-209)

    This island beach really lives up to its name. It boasts pure white sand and is also renowned as a safe haven for yachts and boats, which lie at anchor off its sheltered southern shores in the lee of Haslewood Island.

    Whitehaven is located on Whitsunday Island and is part of the Whitsunday Islands National Park, which contains another eight islands all surrounded by a marine park. Whitehaven is the most popular of the local beaches and is visited by boatloads of beach lovers everyday.

    If you land at high tide, you will find a pure white 50-metre-wide strip of...

  104. WINEGLASS BAY FREYCINET PENINSULA, TASMANIA
    (pp. 210-211)

    Wineglass Bay in the magnificent Freycinet National Park is Tasmania’s most photographed beach and has become one of Australia’s most popular tourist destinations. Each year, 150 000 visitors make the 30-minute walk up the track to Hazards Lookout to photograph the unparalleled beach vista.

    The beach forms the eastern side of a 1.5-kilometre-wide low, vegetated isthmus that connects Freycinet Peninsula to the mainland, all within the national park.

    The area’s history is reflected in the names given by the early Dutch explorers (Schouten and Maria islands), then the French (Freycinet, Cape Tourville and Point Geographe) and finally the early Welsh...

  105. WINGAN INLET EAST GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA
    (pp. 212-213)

    East Gippsland’s Wingan Inlet hides deep in the forested corners of Croajingolong National Park at the end of a 34-kilometre-long gravel track off the Princes Highway. The drive in from the highway, which can take up to an hour, winds through tall eucalypts to a forested picnic and camping area beside the clear, shallow Wingan Lagoon about 1 kilometre back from the beach. This beautiful, pristine estuary is a favourite with nature lovers, hikers, surfers and fishers.

    To reach the beach from the campsite follow the Wingan Nature Walk through the forest and on to an elevated wooden boardwalk across...

  106. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. 214-214)
  107. PHOTOGRAPHIC CREDITS
    (pp. 215-215)
  108. INDEX
    (pp. 216-223)
  109. Back Matter
    (pp. 224-224)