Summer is here, and for Australians that can mean only one thing. Beach holidays.
With the internal borders finally open, you can explore the endless Australian coastline to your heart’s content. But where to start? Among stiff competition, we’ve chosen four of the best beaches for your next summer holiday.
Torquay is Victoria’s surf capital, featuring world-renowned Bells Beach. But it’s also a great family destination, with something on offer for everyone. Boutique shops, yoga retreats, and even horse riding!
Front Beach is a sheltered spot that’s ideal for swimming and safe enough even for the little ones. Or take a family stroll along the Surf Coast Walk, offering coastal views for almost 50 kilometres.
Skydive the Great Ocean Road and see the spectacular views like never before. You’ll be 15,000 foot above Bells Beach – get ready for the free fall!
For casual dining, you can’t go past Rocky Point Torquay, serving the best burgers on the Surf Coast. Want something more upscale? Premium steak and slow cooked ribs are on offer at Squires Loft.
Airlie Beach, Queensland
Take a trip to the tropics! Airlie Beach is one of Queensland’s best kept secrets. Located in the show stopping Whitsundays, it’s often overlooked by tourists flocking to Hayman or Daydream Island. As the gateway to the world famous Barrier Reef, there’s plenty to love here.
Explore the Bicentennial Walking Trail, starting at Airlie Beach and ending up at Cannonvale Beach. Go beach combing at low tide and discover the treasures of the sea.
Halfway between Airlie Beach and Prosperine lies a spectacular watering hole in a natural rock ampitheatre. Swim underneath the waterfalls and listen to the echo of your own voices.
You’ll need to fuel up for all your adventure, so start the day at the Fat Frog Beach Cafe. Waterfront views, kid-friendly snacks and the best coffee in the Whitsundays make this one of the most popular spots around.
At dinner, sample the best fresh seafood around at the Oar Bar & Restaurant. Soak in the warm summer air at the open-air bar while you sample fish straight off the boat.
For an indulgent treat, book into the Elysian Retreat. You’ll be met on arrival by the chef and invited to curate your own meals. You can even catch your own fish and ask them to cook it in front of you for dinner — you can’t get fresher than that!
Coffin Bay, South Australia
Coffin Bay is home to some of South Australia’s most stunning beaches along the lovely Eyre Peninsula.
Discover the beauty of Venus Beach, where you can fish, snorkel, kayak or simply soak up the rays. A beachfront caravan park is ideal for family holidays – wake up and run straight onto the sand!
Almonta Beach is another beautiful spot, with sapphire waters and soft sand dunes. Located at the southern tip of the Eyre Peninsula on the edge of Coffin Bay, you might not see another human soul here — but you’ll definitely meet locals in the guise of kangaroos, goannas and native birdlife.
Take a Coffin Bay Oyster Farm Tour, where you can cruise the waterways in a boat and sample freshly plucked oysters. Coffin Bay National Park is also well worth a day trip. Some areas are best accessed by four-wheel drive but there are plenty of delights to be discovered along the bitumen roads as well.
If you’re after a thrill, book into White Shark Tours for a cage dive and experience these fierce creatures up close and personal.
It’s all about the seafood here, with plenty of great restaurants to choose from. Try the 1802 Oyster Bar, set right on the Esplanade with stunning coastal views. Modern Australian cuisine and the freshest oysters and fish around. Beachcombers offers a more casual take, with fish burgers, fish and chips and of course oyster platters. This is the place to go for a great breakfast or a family friendly lunch, with fast friendly service.
Wagait Beach, Northern Territory
For something different, head up to the Top End. You’ll have to approach the Northern Territory beaches with some caution: saltwater crocodiles and jellyfish can turn a holiday deadly in minutes.
Wagait Beach is a happy exception, and a favourite of NT locals. It’s dog-friendly and stretches for two kilometres of unspoilt coastline. Beachcomb for casuarina shells, spread a picnic on the pristine sand or soak up the sun. You can walk along the coast to neighbouring beaches but walk out for signs: the area is also home to many Sacred Sites with restricted or no access.
Keen fishers might be lucky enough to catch coral trout straight from the sand thanks to the offshore reef. Or head to Mandorah Jetty to try your luck. At high tide, you can fish from rock cliffs – but you do need to keep an eye out for crocs.
This coastline tells a story about Darwin’s importance to World War Two efforts. A gun tower and placements are still on display along the coast, along with the remains of several planes and storyboards telling their history.
Enjoy breakfast on the garden terrace behind the Wagait Supermarket (simply known as The Shop to locals), or dinner at the Cox Country Club. Live music on weekends is well worth checking out, or come in June for the raucous Ukulele Folk Music Festival.
Wagait Beach is just a 15 minute ferry ride back to Darwin, so you can stay on the sand or choose city accomodation and sail across.
Australia is the lucky country, and when you explore our glorious beaches it’s clear how we got the name. Spend this summer luxuriating in our unspoilt coastlines and magnificent natural surroundings. Just don’t forget to pack the sunscreen!