Australia, as you’re probably aware, is an island, surrounded by beaches on all sides. No matter which city you travel to in Australia, you will always be close to a beach. When you jump on a plane to Australia, you are going somewhere that has some of the best beaches in the world.
To the east lies the South Pacific Ocean; to the west the Indian Ocean; to the north the Timor, Arafura and Coral Seas; to the south the Southern Ocean and Tasman Sea, and Tasmania is separated from the mainland by The Bass Strait.
The mainland coastline stretches for nearly 37,000 km and includes 11,011 beaches and with the addition of all the coastal islands this amounts to more than 47,000 km, more than any other nation.
Here you’ll find some of the best beaches on the planet and it goes without saying, some of the best beach vacations.
(By the way, a beach is defined as a stretch of sand longer than 20 metres and remaining dry at high tide.)
With so many incredible beaches it’s impossible for me to even list them all here so I’ve picked my favourites, beaches that I and my family have visited, walked on, swam on and just generally enjoyed.
Most of Australia’s cities and towns are situated on the coast, within a few kilometres of the ocean, this makes beach access very easy for the visitor and the resident alike.
That’s some 15 million people, or about 75% of the population, living within an hour’s drive of the coastline.
Nearly 90% of these people live in a 50km wide coastal strip that runs from Cairns to Adelaide.
Australia’s coastline extends through a wide range of climates from the tropical areas in the north to temperate areas in the south and coastal environments include areas of rainforest, mangroves, estuaries, rocky and sandy shores, cliffs, islands, towns, cities and coastal communities.
With most of Australia’s population living so close to the coastline the beach has long occupied a special place in the Australian identity.
The Australian beach is also a place where people from all over the world meet, mix and have fun together.
The recorded history of people in their interaction with the beaches of Australia is peppered with disaster, tragedy, discovery and delight.
Over the past several hundred years, visitors as far away as China, Portugal, Spain and Holland visited Australian beaches.
These days people from all over the world come to Australia for their vacations and most of these spend at least some of their time on one, or more, of our beautiful Australian beaches.
Some people go to the beach simply for the sun and surf while others go to sail, parasail, fish, snorkel, scuba dive and comb the beach for lost ‘treasure’.
Coastal sight-seeing is also a very popular pursuit for Australians and international tourists alike as there are many scenic coastal drives with well-appointed lookouts.
The world famous Great Barrier Reef, which is the largest reef on earth, extends over 2000km along the Queensland coast and is made up of about 3000 individual reefs.
The Great Barrier Reef has been designated a World Heritage Area and contains over 700 tropical islands many of which have wonderful beaches.
Another World Heritage site is Fraser Island, which is the largest sand island in the world and has some amazing beaches.
The island stretches approximately 144km along the Queensland coastline at Hervey Bay and is between 25 and 50km wide with sandhills rising to almost 240m in places.
It’s accessible by barge from Hervey Bay and is well worth the visit but you’ll need a four-wheel drive vehicle if you want to explore, there are no roads on Frazer Island.
There are numerous freshwater lakes on the island, some more than 60m deep, and parts of the island are covered by dense rainforest.
Beaches all around the country attract large crowds for celebrations such as New Year’s Eve and Australia Day.
City beaches such as Manly in Sydney, Glenelg in Adelaide and even Breaka beach in the heart of Brisbane provide entertainment and fireworks on New Year’s Eve, and on Australia Day many beaches host citizenship ceremonies and provide family entertainment.
It has become traditional for international visitors who are in Sydney at Christmas time to go to Bondi Beach where up to 40,000 people congregate on Christmas Day.