By Jennifer Adams, founder of TV travel series Places We Go, mother of 7 year-old daughter Charli, and lover of the adventurous life.
Australia's top 5 beachesLet's face it, we all know Australia has some of the most spectacular beaches in the world; the list is endless. But of course, where you go depends on what you feel like doing once you're there - surfboarding, body boarding, stand-up paddle boarding, or just a good old fashioned splashing around in the ocean with fellow beach lovers or the kids? And what if you want a mix of all of the above?
We are the "mix' kind of family. Whenever we go away we love nothing more than being active; especially in the mornings, before we sit back and relax around our campsite in the afternoon! It's a common scene that my partner Clint will be out surfing while I am splashing about in the shore on a body board with our 7 year-old daughter Charli. And next I may be out paddle boarding when the waves have died down a little. The beauty of all of this is of course is that we are literally surrounded by water in this great country of ours, so we are all spoilt for choice!
So, here are my top five beaches for a good old-fashioned day/holiday at the beach, no matter what you choose to jump on in the waves!
Cylinder Beach, Point Lookout
North Stradbroke Island QLD
Cylinder Beach at North Straddie is at the top of my list; it's not only a genuine beauty with its silky white sand and crystal clear waters, it's got something for everyone. It has a great surf break out the back, and a gentle wave in the shore for body-boarders, or indeed anyone wanting to roll around in the ocean. Protected by the headland, it rarely gets choppy or rough, making it a brilliant day for all involved.
"Cylinder Beach, Point Lookout - North Stradbroke Island" "Cylinder has an easy, fun wave out the back.".
If you are on your board, make sure you look out for dolphins and whales as they pass on their migration route to Antarctica.
Cylinder oozes that unpretentious, old-school charm that we all loved so much growing up.
While you're there:
- In the holiday season there is a mobile coffee cart and a sausage sizzle operated by the surf life saving club at the front of the beach
- There is a fantastic campground nestled in the bushland right by Cylinder Beach with ocean views
- Make sure you take a beach tent or umbrella for the beach, there is very little shade and you'll find you may want to settle in for the day!
Jervis Bay is overflowing with treasures for water lovers - it's as if it was designed for anyone who loves outdoor water activities and is a must-visit in my opinion. A sheltered inlet of the Pacific Ocean, Jervis Bay is famous for its coastal wilderness and Marine Park and is home to 100+ resident wild bottlenose dolphins that you will see frolicking in the water from the shore, or up close by boat on a tour.
"The pristine waters of Hayams Beach, Jervis Bay".
People are drawn to the regions clear waters and beaches that are home to some of the whitest sand in the country (and the world!). So whether you are thinking of surfing, stand-up paddle boarding or sea kayaking you will not be disappointed!
"Paddle boarding at Jervis Bay".
When you're not out in the water, the bay's seaside villages (including the main town of Huskisson), markets, coastal forests and wineries offer another good reason to visit!
While you're there:
- Board a whale-watching cruise to see the humpbacks and an occasional southern right whale on their yearly migration.
- Try sea kayaking on the protected waters of the marine park.
- Scuba dive at one of the most diverse diving spots along Australia's east coast.
- Visit Booderee National Park, formerly Jervis Bay National Park, home to spectacular beaches and bushwalks.
No stranger to any top ten beaches list in the country, Byron and the surrounding region is not only one of our favorite beach holiday spots, but has been attracting surfers and holiday-makers alike from all over the world for decades.
“The vibe at Byron Beach”
Known for it’s expansive beaches, breathtaking hinterland, it’s relaxed and often alternative lifestyles, it’s natural wonders, fresh organic food, and a happening music scene, this old surfing town has something incredibly regenerating about it; deserving it’s reputation of being home to the good life - it’s easy to see why the locals are so relaxed.
"Hanging out with surfing legend Bob McTavish at Watego's Beach."
While you're there:
- If you're new to surfing take a lesson! You will always find classes on main beach. (I will never forget when I did many years ago - making for a memorable holiday and got me up on the board for the first time)
- Enjoy one of the many yoga classes, or retreats in and out of town
- Catch a gig at any of the live-music venues in town, showcasing local, national and international musicians
- Check out one of Byron's many markets - there's something for everyone!
- Just a little bit further south down the coast is the small town of Evans Head where there is some top class Stand Up Paddleboarding to be found on the local estuary.
Freycinet National Park, TASThe entire east coast of Tasmania is blessed with beauty. In particular, I would like to point you to Coles Bay in Freycinet National Park, next to the world acclaimed Wineglass Bay, which is repeatedly named among one of the top ten beaches in the world.
"Sea kayaking on Coles Bay".
Not only do you get to enjoy the adventure of paddling, but the backdrop of the iconic "Hazards', which are the surrounding pink and red granite mountains, are a sight to behold when lit up by the piercing sun on a day when the cloudless sky is a deep blue.
I will never forget the time we went sea kayaking - it was like paddling in a picture postcard scene: surrounded by the absolute beauty of the National Park, with not another soul in sight. Once we paddled to the middle of the bay we stopped and laid back on our kayak, taking it all in and commenting on what a remarkable place Tasmania is, filled with wilderness adventures at every turn.
While you're there:
- Make a weekend, or a week of your stay in Freycinet National Park. There are plenty of accommodation options, including camping at the local campground.
- Hike on any number of bushwalking trails for different views of the national park (the lookout over Wineglass Bay at sunset is incredible).
- Make sure you indulge in the local seafood straight from one of the world's cleanest oceans!
Wilsons Promontory is without doubt one of our favorite places in Victoria and a brilliant place to take your stand-up paddleboard in particular, or of course any other type of board you fancy.
“Paddling boarding at Wilsons Prom”
The much-loved national park has long been a popular holiday destination for nature and outdoor adventure lovers. At the southernmost tip of mainland Australia, the landscape is spectacular – a perfect mix of white sandy beaches, granite mountains, open bushland and dense rainforest.
Squeaky beach is perfect for paddle boarding as the beach is extremely flat, and the drop-off very minimal - making it a lot of fun to throw the stand-up paddle board in the water and navigate the small waves.
Surfers are also spoiled and can also choose from a number of different breaks at different beaches including Norman Bay and Darbys.
"Norman Beach is perfect for beach cricket!".
While you're there:
- Make a weekend of it and camp at Tidal River campground, but make sure you book well ahead of time, as it is extremely popular
- If you are heading to the beach with a group, pack a cricket bat and ball - the conditions are perfect on Norman Beach, it's flat and well protected
- There are many bushwalking trails to choose from - ranging from a few hours to a few days - available throughout the park.
For more travel inspiration go to www.placeswego.com
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