Make a temporary sea change at one of these idyllic coastal holiday rentals. They promise the ultimate Aussie lifestyle: instant access to surf, sand and sea complete with outdoor entertaining and indoor comfort.

Dongara, WA
Dongara is 360km north of Perth along the scenic Indian Ocean Drive. The area is known for its pristine sand and bright blue sea. The fishing is wonderful – you can take a charter boat out to catch tailor, mackerel and snapper or catch your own lobsters and crabs in traps. Rockpool Beach House is located opposite Denison Marina, just south of a great surf beach. Nearby, you’ll find sand dunes for recreational four-wheel-driving, a golf course, wineries, olive groves, a skateboard ramp, a bike trail, an old-school drive-in cinema and a walking trail that shows off the area’s heritage buildings. The house has four bedrooms (sleeping 12 people), with two bathrooms, views across the Indian Ocean from the main living area, a kids’ retreat with day bed and beanbags, and easy access to a recreational boat ramp. Low-season rates from $192 per night (for a couple, extra guests $12 per person per night) or $1152 per week; up to $296 per night (extra guests $21 per night) or $2072 weekly in peak season.
The details 0409 888 337;

Sellicks Beach, SA
Sellicks Beach is a lovely strip of coastline skirting Aldinga Bay, 50km south of Adelaide airport on the Fleurieu Peninsula. The Mount Lofty Ranges meet the sea here, so cliff faces drop to a wide stretch of sand perfect for four-wheel-driving (non-residents require a pass, so ask your booking agent how to arrange one). The fishing is great in this part of South Australia, and so is the food and wine for those who prefer others catch and cook their food for them – check out nearby Victory Hotel for fine regional dining in a historic pub, set among the publican’s own vines (Rudderless Wines). AT recommends the Goolwa cockles. The location is also within reach of McLaren Vale’s wineries and day trips to Kangaroo Island. Sea La Vie is a brand-new build on the beachfront, with great views, four bedrooms (sleeping 12), three bathrooms, two lounge areas and two barbecues – perfect for two big families or three smaller ones. The interiors are lovely thanks to styling by HIA-award-winning designer Christine Rogers. From $250 per night or $1500 a week in low season; up to $500 a night or $3000 in peak season (Christmas holiday and Easter periods).
The details Rent through Century 21 SouthCoast, (08) 8556 6983;

Sunshine Beach, Qld
Located at Noosa’s “posh end”, North Sunshine Beach offers great surfing and swimming but also has loads of land-based activities to enjoy if you want to stay out of the sun. Eumundi markets, Australia Zoo, Underwater World, Spirit House Cooking School and the Hyatt Regency Golf Course at Coolum are all nearby, and you’re also close enough for a day trip to Fraser Island to see the dingoes, take in a bit of beach fishing or swim in stunning Lake Mackenzie. The two-storey Beach House’s upper level is dedicated solely to communal leisure, with an open living/dining/kitchen area, huge outdoor dining area and direct access to a swimming pool. Downstairs, there is a huge family room and terrace with outdoor day beds, and three bedrooms with ensuites (sleeping six – or seven if you don’t mind using a decorative oriental day bed). The owners reckon it’s just ten steps from the Beach House’s courtyard to the beach entrance. From here, you can turn left to explore the wilds of Noosa National Park, or turn right to Sunshine Beach Surf Club, where you’ll find a patrolled surf beach. It’s also within easy reach of Hastings Street, Noosa’s excellent boutique and restaurant strip. An exclusive address equates to steep prices, but it’s worth it – from $470 per night or $3290 per week in low season, and up to $885 per night or $6195 per week high season (even higher over Christmas/New Year).
The details 0421 88 75 20;

Cape Bridgewater, Vic
About halfway along the coast between Adelaide and Melbourne, Cape Bridgewater makes a great road trip from either city (or you can fly into nearby Portland airport from Melbourne). This is known as the Shipwreck Coast, and a series of roadside signs provide information on the historic vessels sunk offshore here. Contact local scuba shops for information on how to dive the wrecks. The area is blessed with dramatic natural features such as a petrified coastal forest, blowholes, volcanic caves and freshwater lakes perfect for kayaking and waterskiing. Abalone Beach House has four bedrooms (sleeping eight), two bathrooms, an outdoor shower, cast-iron wood-burning fire, downstairs games room with table tennis, and a massive wrap-around deck that allows leisurely meditation on the weather and geography of the area, including Cape Bridgewater’s 120m-high cliffs – purportedly the highest sea cliffs in Victoria. You can hike along the beach from the house to the cape, where you’ll find the local seal colony. Local operators can take you out on the water to see them, too. Rates start at $210 per night low season and increase to $310 per night in high season (based on two adults and two children; extra guests are $25 per person per night).
The details 0408 808 346;

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