Australia is blest with innumerable beaches all around the continental coast and in its harbours, bays and coves. They are a popular leisure destination in the warmer months not only for basking lazily in the sun but also for a variety of water activities including swimming, surfing, snorkeling, boating, fishing.
Here are 10 of Australia's more popular beaches alphabetically listed.
1. Bells Beach
Near the seaside Victorian towns of Torquay and Jan Juc on the Great Ocean Road, Bells Beach is internationally famous as a venue for surfing competitions, particularly the Rip Curl Pro which began in 1961 and has since been held yearly during Eastertime attracting surfers from around the world.
What makes Bells Beach special: Great surfing beach, at 100 kilometres just over an hour's drive from Melbourne, close to coastal scenic sights all along the Great Ocean Road.
2. Bondi Beach
Just about seven kilometres from Sydney city centre, Bondi Beach is imprinted on the Sydney imagination as the Sydney beach of choice, conveniently reached in the early 1900s by "shooting through" on the Bondi tram. The tram has long been gone but Bondi Beach is as popular as ever. Interesting cafes and restaurants and upmarket homes are close to the beach where bathers, some going topless, bask in the sun. A convenient way to reach Bondi Beach is by train to Bondi Junction, then transfering to the express shuttle bus to the beach.
What makes Bondi Beach special: Surfing beach, great ambience, close enough to the city centre for convenient public transport, cafes and restaurants, coastal walks.
3. Burleigh Heads Beach
Burleigh Heads Beach is one of Queensland's best surfing beaches and is a venue for local, national and international surfing competitions. Located on the Gold Coast between the seaside towns of Miami and Palm Beach, Burleigh Heads is a 20-minute drive from Surfers Paradise, generally acknowledged as the Gold Coast's entertainment and tourism centre.
What makes Burleigh Heads Beach special: Great open surfing beach, close to a variety of accommodation types and dining venues, adjoins Burleigh Head National Park, within easy driving distance to other Gold Coast towns and beaches.
4. Cable Beach
This is arguably the best known resort beach in Western Australia with its 22-kilometre stretch of white sand fringed by subtropical trees. Just six kilometres from the old pearling town of Broome with its pearl shops and historical museum, Cable Beach has beachside resort accommodation and a variety of beach activities, including camel treks, for visitors to experience.
What makes Cable Beach special: Tropical all-season location, close to town, walking tracks, camel treks, pearling lugger experience, ocean fishing charters.
5. Cottesloe Beach
Cottesloe Beach faces the Indian Ocean southwest of Western Australia's capital, Perth, and north of the port of Fremantle. It is popular for its easy accessibility from the greater Perth metropolitan area, of which Cottesloe town is a suburb. Ocean-side cafes and pubs, avenues of Norfolk pines, and grassy areas for picnics add to the attraction of Cottesloe Beach.
What makes Cottesloe Beach special: Close to Perth city centre and Fremantle, surfing, swimming and diving activities, nearby gardens and pubs and teahouses.
6. Hyams Beach
Jervis Bay, some two and a half hours' drive from Sydney, features some of Australia's whitest sand beaches. Hyams Beach, just south of the towns of Huskisson and Vincentia, is reputed to have the whitest and cleanest beach sand in the world. It's just off Jervis Bay Road; follow the signs and you'll be there in no time. There are various other fine beaches in the area and all are accessible by road.
What makes Hyams Beach special: Its fine white sand, long stretch of beach, normally uncrowded areas, near other Jervis Bay beaches and seaside communities, close to Booderee National Park.
7. Manly Beach
Accessible by ferry from Sydney's Circular Quay, Manly Beach on the Pacific Ocean side is reached from the ferry wharf at Manly Cove through what is known as The Corso, a malled thoroughfare with shops, cafes and restaurants on either side, and seating for those who'd like to stop a while on the way to the beach. Manly is popular because of its easy accessibility and the variety of cafes and restaurants in the area. Contiguous to Manly Beach is North Steyne Beach, creating a long stretch of beach area.
What makes Manly Beach special: Proximity via ferry to Sydney city centre, tree-lined beachside walkways, areas for beach activities such as beach volleyball, cafes and restaurants, souvenir shops, art galleries, just one 30-minute ferry ride, in itself an interesting journey, to reach the beach.
8. Noosa Beach
Noosa on Queensland's Sunshine Coast has a number of fine beaches — including Sunrise Beach, Castaways Beach and Marcus Beach — just minutes from town. But more easily accessible Noosa Beach, running as it does just behind tourist strip Hastings St and starting at the western coastal edge of Noosa National Park all the way to the northern tip of Noosa Spit Recreation Reserve, is quite possibly the most popular.
What makes Noosa Beach special: Just metres from Hastings St, close to national park and recreation reserve, within short walking distance to a variety of fine restaurants and beachside accommodation.
9. Palm Beach
Palm Beach, Sydney's northernmost beach along the Pacific, is one of the city's relatively uncrowded beaches popular with beachgoers and picnickers. The beach itself is in the northern section of the affluent identically-named suburb of Palm Beach and runs north along Barrenjoey Peninsula to the Barrenjoey Lighthouse on Barrenjoey Head. Palm Beach the beach is on the eastern side of the peninsula facing the Pacific. On the western side of the peninsula is Barrenjoey Beach facing Pittwater.
What makes Palm Beach special: Long stretch of golden sand from Cabbage Tree Boat Harbour all the way to Barrenjoey Head, recreation reserve between the eastern and western beaches, leisure and rest areas, circuit headland walk, lighthouse tour.
10. Whitehaven Beach
All you get on Whitehaven Beach is Whitehaven Beach, but accolades bestowed on it include "Queensland's most beautiful beach," "Queensland's friendliest beach" and the "world's top eco-friendly beach." Stretching more than seven kilometres along Whitsunday Island, it features clear blue waters and fine silica sand that provide a romantic tropical setting for holidaymakers. Access to Whitehaven Beach is by boat from Airlie Beach, Shute Harbour or Hamilton Island, or by seaplane or helicopter.
What makes Whitehaven Beach special: Island paradise ambience away from the madding crowd.