The Most Beautiful Beaches in Australia

The Most Beautiful Beaches in Australia

With more than 10,000 beaches around its shores, Australia leads the way when it comes to incredible sand and surf. Now in my all too brief three weeks down under, I didn’t see nearly enough of them to formulate a comprehensive review. But, I was so blown away by both the quantity and quality of the beaches I did see that I had to share some of my favourites.

Wategos Beach, Byron Bay, NSW

IMG_5132This isn’t the main beach in Byron Bay but it is quite a lovely little slice of paradise. I stumbled upon this spot on my walk to the Cape Byron Lighthouse and I couldn’t help taking a pit stop. Surfers and sun worshippers alike could be spotted frolicking in the waves – the relaxing vibes were contagious!

Tugun Beach, Gold Coast, NSW

IMG_5157There is nothing I love more than beach photography and I always get a twinge of excitement when I spot a lifeguard tower. This massive, pristine, and virtually deserted beach was not on my itinerary. In fact, this was really just a bathroom break on our way from Byron Bay to Brisbane… not too shabby.

Noosa North Shore, Sunshine Coast, QLD

IMG_5181When I hear the word “camping” this view is not what immediately springs to mind. But THIS is camping in Australia! Across the river from Noosa Heads and Noosaville is Noosa North Shore – a long stretch of white sand, dunes and beautiful coastline, and the gateway to World Heritage-listed Fraser Island and Great Sandy National Park. Only accessible by a short two minute ferry this site is most suitable for experienced campers… so clearly not me. Good thing I had a crew of Aussies to show me the ropes!

Rainbow Beach, Wide Bay, QLD

IMG_5242Ahhh Rainbow Beach!!!! Doing the Great Beach Drive was the coolest thing I did in Australia. It was an adrenaline filled ride mixing one part terror (at getting stuck or swept into the ocean) and two parts amazing! Why don’t the highways at home look like this?!

Bondi Beach, Sydney, NSW

IMG_5471This may have been the most crowded beach I saw in Australia but it is certainly popular for a reason. Just minutes away from downtown Sydney, this gorgeous stretch of beach is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. If I ever move here this would be my Saturday hangout for sure!

Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Island, QLD

IMG_2620And last, but CERTAINLY not least… Whitehaven Beach! This is the #1 rated beach in Australia and frequently rated in the top five beaches in the WORLD!! This immaculate stretch of heaven on Whitsunday Island was the highlight of my time in the Great Barrier Reef. The water was like a bath, the sand was silky smooth, squeaking between my toes, and as you can tell, not crowded in the slightest. It was like a dream! Take me back please!

I’m always on the hunt for fantastic beaches… Where are some of your favourites?

Leave a Comment Below.

 

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There’s Something about Sydney

There’s Something about Sydney

It’s always an interesting experience to visit a city that is super famous. The first time that I visited both Paris and New York I kept feeling like somehow I’d been there before. This isn’t surprising considering how many movies are filmed in both cities, yet still the familiarity was surreal.

I’ve been hearing about Sydney for years and especially how much I was going to love it. Often compared to my beloved Vancouver, I had high expectations for my first visit. And although many of the sites were exactly how I imagined, the city as a whole was completely different.

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Sydney from above

For starters, Sydney is BIG. Think NYC big. With a population of over 4 million people, the CBD was always buzzing with activity. Instantly I decided that Sydney was no Vancouver. The comparisons do make sense of course – harbour city, new city, multicultural city… but the vibe is 100% Australian.

I think I hit the nail on the head when I decided that Sydney is New York on vacation. If NYC could just absorb some of the Aussie chill and spend more time at the beach, then they’d be on the same page. That’s my theory anyways.

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The ever busy Circular Quay

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Bondi Beach

I was able to spend six full days in Sydney and opted to stay in an Airbnb rental in the convenient suburb of Waterloo. My hosts were fantastic (Hi Wayne & Sasha!) and I got a real sense of what life would be like if I lived in Sydney (read: Expensive).

I am not kidding. I thought that rent in Vancouver was pricey but Sydney is next-level ridiculous. Just check out this cost of living analysis noting that renting a 900 sq ft furnished place in a “normal” area would cost AU $3,328 per month (essentially the equivalent in CAD). Now I understand why expat friends of mine had 6 room mates in a 2 bedroom apartment. Yikes! And that’s not the only thing that’s expensive… pretty much everything costs more: coffee, alcohol, gelato… only my travel/life essentials!

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Views like this don’t come cheap (Sydney Harbour Bridge)

Cost aside, I loved my time in Sydney. I bought an OPAL card and figured out the transit system with ease. I walked a ton. I visited beaches and museums. Climbed bridges and rode ferries. I went on a free, 3 hour walking tour of the city with a tour guide that looked like a petite version of Jessica Jones. It was FANTASTIC! Probably the best tour I’ve ever done, and I’ve done a lot of tours in my travels so that’s saying something.

I never got tired of wandering around Circular Quay or Hyde Park or The Rocks. I could easily spend countless hours listening to the street buskers or people watching on the Opera House steps or photographing this city from every angle. It’s magical.

 

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The Rocks (oldest part of Sydney)

I got to soak up many of the activities that are especially lovely during the summer months, like enjoying refreshing drinks at the most epic beer garden in the world (The Opera Bar), wandering through outdoor markets, and  reveling in the Saturday night Firework spectacular in Darling Harbour.

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Check out these crowds – The Opera Bar is the place to be any night of the week!

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Darling Harbour

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Fireworks and a Ferris Wheel

Even though Sydney is conceivably the furthest destination I could possibly visit, I know that I will be back someday. Australia will not and can not be a one-time trip for me. There’s just something about the land down under that has captured my heart.

Have you ever been to Sydney? What were your impressions of this world-class city?

Leave a comment below.

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Postcards from Byron Bay

Postcards from Byron Bay

In my parent’s dining room is a framed photograph from their visit to Australia back in 2012. The photo is of a lighthouse in Byron Bay and I was instructed, in no uncertain terms, that I HAD to go there myself. Today I did just that.

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Byron Bay is a laid back, hippie mecca on the Eastern coast of Australia. It has beautiful beaches, but then, that isn’t a very distinguishing feature in this part of the world. The main standout in BB is the flourishing surf culture and the chill vibe. You can’t help but feel relaxed with all the barefooted backpackers hanging about. It’s a wonder how anyone actually gets any work done in a town so easy going.

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After some mandatory pool and beach time, my hostess extraordinaire, Veronica, and I made sure to follow my parent’s orders – to the lighthouse.

 

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The century-old Cape Byron Light House is located on the Eastern most point of mainland Australia. We walked the popular 3.7km loop through rainforest and across cliff tops with views that had us stopping at every lookout. It was everything my parents promised it would be.

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I was able to fill my camera with souvenirs to keep me warm during the rainy winters. As per usual, I’m glad I listened to my travel expert mother’s advice.

Have you ever visited a place that fully lived up to the hype?

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Byron Bay Light House

Departure Lounge: Australia

Departure Lounge: Australia

I have a very exciting travel announcement that I just couldn’t wait any longer to share.

In just 6 weeks I will be flying to my 6th continent – A U S T R A L I A !

I’m pretty over the moon about it especially considering I only booked my flight 2 weeks ago. This is about as last minute as I get. Australia has always been somewhere I wanted to visit but it became a MUST-SEE destination after I watched that weeklong Oprah special back in 2010. Now, granted, I won’t be traveling like Oprah (although I am incorporating a bit of business class air travel… teehee!) but I still have some epic plans in the works.

It’s taken me a lot longer than I expected to finally get around to visiting the land down under. I was waiting for a huge chunk of time off to make the 12,400 km journey worthwhile. But, with a longstanding invite from my high school friend and recent Aussie citizen, Veronica, and an approved leave of absence from work – the timing was just about perfect. I know that it will be impossible to see and do everything on my Australian bucket list in just 3 weeks… So I’m not even going to try. This continent is nearly the size of the continental USA – a country that will take my entire life to explore thoroughly. In the same way, Australia will definitely require some repeat visits.

So for my first adventure in OZ, I’m basing my travels on the East Coast and focusing mainly on Queensland where my friend lives. After some time exploring the greater Brisbane area, I will venture onward (solo) to the Whitsunday islands (I mean, it’s basically named after me) before ending up in Sydney – a city, I’m told, is quite reminiscent of my beloved Vancouver. It’s going to be good!

Itinerary

Dec 6 – 15: Brisbane, Queensland

Dec 15-18: Whitsunday Islands, Queensland

Dec 18-24: Sydney, New South Wales

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These are the activities I am most looking forward to:

  • Learning to Surf at Manly Beach
  • Wine tasting in the Hunter Valley
  • Sailing, Snorkeling, and Sunbathing at Australia’s #1 rated Whitehaven Beach
  • Getting up close and personal with koalas, kangaroos, and dingos… Oh my!
  • Seeing the famed sights of Sydney and pretending to be in an episode of Dance Academy (lol)

Have you ever been to Australia? Any recommendations or travel tips?