There are more than 10,000 beaches in Australia. Yep. Ten. Thousand. If you’ve got a spare 30 years up your sleeve, you might just be able to visit each and every one of them. Failing that, your best bet is to pull together a shortlist.
Mind you, a shortlist is no mean feat. Dotted along Australia’s 36,735-kilometres of coastline are a glut of coastal towns boasting not only the picture-perfect vista, but the supporting scene to help you live your best #beachlife.
Here are some of the places we’d be adding to any shortlist, post haste.
The seaside village of Coles Bay sits oh-so-pretty on the edge of Freycinet National Park, between the dramatic Hazards mountains and Great Oyster Bay.
Outdoor activities are ripe for the picking – a kayaking tour with Freycinet Adventures is a must – while Wineglass Bay Cruises can zip you around the spectacular coastline, complete with sea caves, blowholes and waterfalls, in style.
On the food front, it’s all about fresh local produce and seafood is king – think oysters, mussels, scallops and rock lobster. Be sure to check out Freycinet Marine Farm. A tourism icon, Saffire Freycinet gives new meaning to the term ‘luxury resort’. But if your budget doesn’t stretch that far, give the lovely Freycinet Lodge a whirl.
Less than 200 kilometres south of Sydney, Huskisson is the hub of oceanic wonderland, Jervis Bay. With beach after dreamy beach, this biodiversity hotspot is a delight, no matter how you prefer to spend your summers.
Join a dolphin or whale watching tour with Jervis Bay Wild or grab a schooner and keep a look out from the always popular Husky Pub deck, which can accommodate you overnight in one of eight guest suites.
You can also find yourself a home among the gumtrees at Paperbark Camp. On the dining scene, The Quarters Huskisson is a slick eatery and bar, Kanpai delivers on fresh Japanese flavours, and 5 Little Pigs is a hit on the cafe scene. Pilgrims is the go-to for delicious vegetarian fare.
Positioned at the mouth of the Clarence River, Yamba has been described as Byron Bay without the crowds, so you can see the appeal. The region is a surfer’s paradise – nearby Angourie Beach was declared a National Surfing Reserve in 2007 – and there are great spots for wading, fishing and snorkelling, too. Not up to task? Yamba-Angourie Surf School can help.
There is no shortage of great places to dine – try Beachwood Cafe, Drift, Barbresco and Karrikin – and the Pacific Hotel is just the spot for beers with a view. Bed down at The Sands or Seascape Oceanfront Apartments.
Beaches are fantastic for all manner of pursuits, but it’s not often you can glide across the sand on four wheels. Welcome to Robe, home to pristine Long Beach, one of the few Australian beaches on which you can drive.
Robe is big on small-town charm as a wander between the main street’s boutiques and eateries will illustrate. Grab an award-winning cup of ‘joe’ at Mahalia Coffee, be sure to secure a dinner reservation at Sails, and don’t miss the unique offering at sustainable Robe Town Brewery. Some quality time at Cape Dombey Obelisk, which sits atop the region’s famous limestone cliffs, will leave you marvelling at this masterpiece of nature.
A picturesque village on the Mornington Peninsula, Sorrento is equal parts sophistication and coastal appeal. Stylish boutiques, galleries and antique outlets share the main street with a selection of cafes and restaurants.
Pop in to the Sorrento Brewhouse for casual dining plus a selection of local beer and wine, or indulge at fine-dining restaurant Loquat. Between them, Sorrento’s beaches, and the many nearby, offer great conditions for surfing, swimming and the like, while fishing trips, seal- and dolphin-watching excursions and other tours depart from the front beach pier.
Stay at Hotel Sorrento, a peninsula institution. You’re also blessed with Mornington Peninsula’s renowned wine region on your doorstep.
When idyllic beaches meet exceptional wineries, you know you’re in for a treat. In the celebrated Margaret River region, Yallingup has been luring surfers for decades while the crystal-clear lagoon at Yallingup Beach does more than satisfy swimmers and snorkellers. Gastronomes also love Yallingup. All manner of palates is catered for, with Chow’s Table, Little Fish and The Studio among the delicious options. For wineries, try Wills Domain and Swings & Roundabouts. Yallingup is also home to an arts precinct, and then there is nature’s very own gallery, provided by surrounding Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park.
More than 30 years later, and a few refurbishments down, the Sheraton still stands strong and is in good company now with the Pullman Port Douglas Sea Temple Resort & Spa, and Peppers Beach Club Port Douglas. It’s the white-sand beaches and lush tropical rainforests that epitomise this region, plus a modern cafe and bar scene.
Activities are endless in this slice of paradise: try river drift snorkelling with Back Country Bliss, get acquainted with Aboriginal traditions on a cultural tour with Walkabout Adventures, or soak up the tropical vibes on a Sailaway sunset cruise. Meanwhile, the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree rainforest are both within a stone’s throw.
A bustling hub, Burleigh has always delivered on coastal chill and, with help from a few new(ish) faces, is now arguably the Gold Coast’s premium dining destination. Enjoy unparalleled views and mouth-watering cuisine at Burleigh Pavilion or Rick Shores; tuck into award-winning seafood at The Fish House; feel the style ooze from every corner of Labart – and the list goes on. Stay at bon Sol, an interiors masterpiece on the water.
Visit our Reclaim Summer hub for more ways to experience the best of summer.