Currarong Beach, NSW
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About 20 kilometres south of Nowra is the quiet fishing village of Currarong, where visitors can find one newsagent, one general store, one caravan park – and 14 excellent beaches. Currarong Beach has beautiful calm waters for paddle boarding and swimming and at the southern end is the river mouth to Currarong Creek, a top spot for kayaking. Take the Wreck Walk to see the rusted hulk of the SS Merimbula at Whale Point – and bring your dive gear if you want to see what remains of it underwater. Image credit: Paul Reid (CC BY 2.0)
Pearl Beach, NSW
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Take a ferry north from Sydney’s Palm Beach and you’ll enter a wonderland of islands, bays and hidden coves: the entrance to the Central Coast. For Sydneysiders, there’s no better choice for a beach weekend away than Pearl Beach: it’s close, it’s beautiful and there’s excellent coffee. The beach is quiet and sheltered and there’s a beautiful ocean pool for lap-swimming.
Gatakers Bay Beach, Queensland
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Between Eli Point and Point Vernon is the 800-metre-long Gatakers Bay Beach, a narrow, sandy strip over which lush vegetation hangs. Take a dip in the tranquil waters before firing up the on-site barbie in time to watch the sunset over dinner. Image credit: Gatakers Landing Restaurant
Kitty Miller Bay Beach, Victoria
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This secret spot sees more accidental visitors than intentional ones, but those who do stumble upon Kitty Miller Bay while looking for Phillip Island’s Penguin Parade don’t regret it. Wide rock platforms at the eastern end of the cove make for interesting snorkelling during low tide and the western side of the cove is protected from large swells, so it’s great for family swimming and inexperienced divers.
Blinky Beach, NSW
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Lord Howe Island is a World Heritage-listed paradise just off the east coast of Australia (about two hours flying from Sydney or Brisbane). The whole island with its rainforest, white-sand beaches and endemic wildlife is immaculate but Blinky Beach is extra-special. It’s a board rider’s dream: super swell and what could be Australia’s least-crowded waves (tourists to the island are limited to 400).
Turimetta Beach, NSW
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Locals eschew the northern beaches hordes and head to tiny Turimetta, a 350-metre stretch of sand enclosed by Narrabeen Head to the south and Turimetta Head to the north. Kids love it for the big flat rocks pocked with pools to explore and thanks to an average surf swell, swimmers often have the waves all to themselves. It can only be reached by foot and Turimetta is not patrolled so beware of the rips that can sometimes form among the rocks in the middle and at either end of the beach.
Cape Leveque, Western Australia
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In the far north of the Kimberley is a remote beach at the northernmost tip of the Dampier Peninsula. A long way north of Broome, Cape Leveque may be one of the world’s most remote beaches but its beauty, from the white sand to the lonely Cape Leveque Lighthouse, is drawing an increasing number of tourists.
Blackmans Bay Beach, Tasmania
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Delineated by sandstone rock platforms at either end, Blackmans Bay Beach is a 700-metre curve located 14 kilometres south of Hobart. The blowhole at the northern end of Blackmans Bay Beach offers visions of dramatically crashing waves; a walking track at the southern end leads to Flowerpot Point, a popular fishing spot.
Little Parakeet Bay, Rottnest Island, Western Australia
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Hundreds of tourists descend on Rottnest Island to catch a glimpse – and a selfie – of one of the cheery-looking native quokkas. Once you’ve had your quokka quota, though, there’s a whole island to explore, including some topnotch beaches. Little Parakeet Bay, on the northern side of the island, is a tiny pocket of white sand lapped by turquoise waters. It’s a gorgeous spot to stop for a picnic and a dip.
Kutti Beach, NSW
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As if it’s not enough to have Sydney’s most beautiful houses, the residents of leafy Vaucluse also have a picturesque little harbour beach that only locals seem to know about. Until now. Kutti Beach is situated between Parsley Bay and Gibson’s Beach and accessible by a narrow staircase near the Vaucluse Sailing Club at the end of Wharf Road. A row of boathouses belonging to beachfront mansions line the golden sand but no one owns this little bay – add it to the public beach real estate portfolio. Image credit: Facebook
Honeymoon Bay, Tasmania
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Freycinet National Park is studded with bays, dusky pink granite peaks and white sandy beaches. Inhale deeply of the lung-pleasing air rolling in off the Tasman Sea and dry off after a swim on a sun-warmed slab of granite at Honeymoon Bay. The water is crystal clear and it’s just a short walk from the luxurious Freycinet Lodge… honeymoon, anyone?
Radical Bay, Queensland
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Arguably the most spectacular of Magnetic Island’s astonishing beaches, Radical Bay is surrounded by hoop pines and hemmed by boulder-dotted headlands. Walking trails crisscross the Magnetic Island National Park; Radical Bay can be reached on foot from the Forts car park if you fancy the six-kilometre return trek; the snorkelling alone is worth it.
Pebbly Beach, NSW
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For kangaroo-seekers, perhaps, Pebbly Beach is no secret: this is the place to go to see some chilled-out grey kangaroos. Contrary to urban legend, you won’t see them surfing but they’ll happily pose for selfies with beachgoers. Oh, and the beach? It’s all yellow sand and clear water. Enter via Murramarang National Park; the fee is $8 per car.
Mystics Beach, NSW
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Minnamurra Beach in Killalea State Park is known locally as “Mystics” The beach curves from the rocky headland towards a volcanic outcrop known as Stack Island. There’s no access to Mystics from the town of Minnamurra thanks to the Minnamurra River, which runs behind the beach. The only access is via the Killalea track. Swimming is best at the southern end; avoid the river mouth where tidal flow can be strong. And surfers take note: the National Surfing Reserves organisation rates Mystics for its powerful swell.
East Arnhem Land, Northern Territory
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Precious few travellers make it as far as East Arnhem Land, a vast tract of land of almost 100,000 square kilometres. The fortunate adventurers who do are rewarded with gorgeous white sandy beaches, miles and miles of rugged coastline and the sparkling Arafura Sea. Although the latter is best admired from a distance; dangers in the waters here (read: crocodiles and box jelly fish) means swimming is a no go.
Lucky Bay, Western Australia
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Matthew Flinders named the sweeping expanse of white, white sand fringes at the base of the dramatic Mount Le Grand back in 1802. Visitors understand his sentiment. Camp on the beach to wake up to the unlikely blue hues of the Indian Ocean – it’s possible the only souls sharing your turf are some local kangaroos, who sunbake on the squeaky sand. You’ll need to drive into in Cape Le Grand National Park to reach Lucky Bay; the entry fee is $13 per vehicle.
Golden Beach, Victoria
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Part of Ninety Mile Beach, Golden Beach is a tiny seaside community in Gippsland. The spot is accessed through a grassy park with barbecues and picnic tables; a set of stairs leads down to the sand through pristine sand dunes. South of Golden Beach can be seen the wreck of Trinculo, which went down in a gale in 1879; to the north is Paradise Beach and a plethora of holiday homes.
Coffin Bay, South Australia
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The bleak-sounding bay is actually an unspoilt coastal idyll. Within the Coffin Bay National Park, Golden Island and Almonta Beach offer some of the Eyre Peninsula’s prettiest scenery; the untouched beaches to the north such as Sensation Beach can be reached by 4WD. Bring your camping gear – and a camera: emus, kangaroos, goannas, pelicans and pods of dolphins all make themselves at home here.
Rapid Bay, South Australia
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This town and beach of the same name is often overlooked – all the better for secret-beach seekers. Apart from its silvery sand, calm waters and endangered leafy sea dragons, Rapid Bay has an important South Australian landmark. The first Surveyor-General of the colony of South Australia, Colonel William Light carved W.L. into a boulder upon disembarking from his ship The Rapid in 1836. “I’ve hardly seen a place I like better,” he’s said to have declared.