Leaving Melbourne was bittersweet after all of the memories that we had made but we were well overdue for sun, sand and warm weather. As soon as we landed in Brisbane we knew that it was time to break out the summer clothes! Since our farewells and tearful goodbyes from the United States in May, we missed our opportunity to enjoy spring back home since we started our journey in New Zealand. But as a southern hemisphere country, New Zealand’s seasons are the inverse of North America (which we knew before planning our arrival) so we caught the tail-end of the kiwi summer just as the season changed from fall to winter. Traveling north of Victoria was just what we needed to shed our thin winter layers.
Like many newcomers to Australia, we expected quintessential beaches filled with surfers, beach bums and food stalls dotted along the beach. Trust us when we say that we saw all three and more. Australia reminds us of the laid back environment of California with its coastal views and hipster people. Among the hundreds of beaches to visit throughout Australia, here are four beaches that blew us away.
Home to the Great Barrier Reef, Whitehaven Beach is one of the world’s well-preserved and beautiful beaches. Its remarkably pristine shores will have you second guessing if your eyes are deceiving you. The beach is protected by the Whitsunday Islands National park and has been voted as the ‘number one beach in Australia’ by TripAdvisor in 2013. To visit, we signed up for a Great Barrier Reef snorkeling tour that brought us to Whitehaven on a thirty-minute ride on a high-speed catamaran. The beach is famous for its four-mile swirl of sand and turquoise blue-green water and its 98 percent pure white silica. The silica gives it a brilliant white hue that is elastic to the touch. As the smallest sand grains known to man, the particles are so pure that NASA scientists used the sand to make the lens for the Hubble space telescope.
While we were left in awe of the majestic views of the beach, we couldn’t help but feel devastated when our tour guide mentioned the Ngaro people and we saw this commemorative sign:
According to our guide, the original inhabitants of The Whitsundays for 9,000 years are Ngaro Aboriginal people, who were forcibly removed from their homeland along with much of their culture after European settlement. Though we appreciated the beauty of one of the world’s most beautiful beaches, we appreciated the island even more so due to the strength of the indigenous population, otherwise known as the ‘Canoe People’.
Grossard Point, Phillip Island
We mentioned Grossard Point before as one of the places to consider for a Melbourne day trip but what we didn’t mention is that we had the entire beach to ourselves! Considering the amount of tourists that find beaches all over Australia and the beach’s easily accessible entrance, you’d think that this beach would be a popular hit. Be sure to visit for a moment of self-reflection or enjoy the sunset with a special loved one.
Whites Beach at Broken Head
Byron Bay’s hidden beach is no longer secret once we spill the details, so keep reading. This secluded beach is often visited by locals but due to its isolation, it rarely makes it onto a tourist’s radar. The secluded Whites Beach at Broken Head was named Australia’s number one secret destination in the Australian Traveller magazine.
This hidden gem is tucked away from the road and basic facilities including parking, toilets and food vendors. It is also one of the most difficult places to reach (similarly to our experiences with New Zealand beaches) and locating it with GPS can be quite difficult. The beach is solely accessible through a trek through the rainforest along the cliff’s edge. Be forewarned, the dirt walking path is in its natural state and comprised of a steep path of twisting tree roots, large stones and drop offs that will cause you to reconsider your attempt to visit the beach in the first place. But once you make your way there, the bush opens up to a breath-taking landscape which makes the trek well worth it. Since we had the beach entirely to ourselves, we used the opportunity to catch up on our reading, witness a rainbow at the water’s edge and indulged in some R&R.
Have you visited any of these beaches before? If not, contact us and we’ll help plan your trip to Australia!
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