A beach beloved of bushwalkers, foodies and even cruise passengers has topped the YourLifeChoices readers’ poll of favourite beaches around Australia. So, which one is it? It’s Wineglass Bay, 200km north of Hobart, and a long way from the epicentre of Aussie beach culture.
The bay is a beautiful bowl shape, with its curve accentuated by the slender edging of sand down its western shore. From various lookout points around Freycinet Peninsula, it’s spectacular.
Being in a national park, Wineglass Bay is also secluded and unspoiled. Many visitors arrive via walking trails, either as day-trippers or on supported multi-day hikes. Others visit on gourmet cruises and large cruise ships that detour into the bay. From Coles Bay village, it’s 5km to the carpark, then a 3km walk to Wineglass Bay.
The second-favourite beach among the members is a one with a foot in both camps: isolated enough to take you away from it all but with a booming resort town nearby. That’s Broome’s Cable Beach, a 22km strip of sand in WA’s north-west. It’s a perfect spot to watch the sunset, but you’ll likely be sharing the experience with tourists on Broome’s iconic camel rides.
Rounding out the top five is Whitehaven, a 7km beach claiming to have the world’s whitest sand. On an uninhabited island in Queensland’s Whitsundays, it’s accessible only by boat from nearby resorts, sea plane or Airlie Beach/Shute Harbour. To keep Whitehaven pristine, dogs and even cigarette smoking are prohibited.
But the top 10 also includes several secret beaches, the smaller spots where members, perhaps reluctantly, reveal their local piece of paradise.
One is Mandalay, in the south-west corner of WA, and only a small sign points down a dirt road off the South Western Hwy west of Walpole. It’s flanked by dunes and rocky outcrops, and there’s a fine view to Chatham Island.
And Hyams Beach, on Jervis Bay in southern NSW, makes its own claim for the world’s whitest sand. Apart from a store with a cafe, the village is made up of respectable weekender cottages and holiday units, so you’re sure to find a spot to yourself.
Finally here are two of our own secret beaches that didn’t appear in the survey. Tiny Bushrangers Bay is a 2.6km walk through trees from Cape Schanck, south of Melbourne. It’s beachcombing heaven but alas too rough for swimming.
And on South Australia’s Kangaroo Island, on the sparse north coast, is Stokes Bay, with a giant rock pool and other spectacular rock formations.
Jeremy Bourke’s favourite travel modes are walking, driving, local buses, trains, flying and cruising – in that order. He’s been a travel writer for 18 years, and his only unvisited continent is South America.