Queensland boasts some of the world’s finest beaches, from powder-soft, bone-white sand, to clearest turquoise waters teeming with sea life. Some offer world-class diving, some superb waves for surfing. Some are close to pumping night clubs or fine restaurants, and some are so far from civilisation that they make you feel like the only human on the planet. Whatever your preference, in no particular order, here are some of Queensland’s best.
1. Tangalooma Wrecks, Moreton Island
Only an hour’s ferry ride from Brisbane, Moreton island is within easy reach of the city. Visitors can stay at Tangalooma resort, or camp out under the stars in the national park. Those with 4WD vehicles can drive on the beach right around the island. The beach and ocean are spotlessly clean, and the island is largely undeveloped, giving that real ‘desert island’ feel. Tangalooma wrecks (as pictured above) are a set of boats that were sunk to form an artificial reef that is now full of fish life, and even the odd turtle!
2. Cape Tribulation, North Queensland
Remotely situated in the ancient Daintree forest region of North Queensland, Cape Tribulation is home to unique and distinctive species such as the cassowary. The beach itself is an unspoilt paradise, where no sign of civilisation is visible for as far as the eye can see. A true paradise for the adventurous of spirit.
3. Mission Beach, North Queensland
Mission beach is a seemingly endless expanse of golden sand. The stunning backdrop of the Family Islands (which are also worth a visit) completes a breathtaking view that seems to extend into infinity. Despite a recent increase in popularity among tourists, Mission Beach still maintains its sleepy small town feel.
4. Palm Cove, North Queensland
Palm Cove is another of North Queensland’s jewels. It has year-round sunshine and warm weather, the sand is soft and the water is clear. It is also within an easy boat ride of the Great Barrier Reef, which is home to some of the planet’s best diving and snorkelling. Be sure to pack the sun cream, snorkel and fishing gear!
5. Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Islands
Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsundays is truly one of the most stunning beach in the world. The size and the shape of the beach changes according to the tide, but whenever you go, you can be sure of a site to remember to the end of your days. Whitehaven beach can only be reached by boat as development of the area has been strictly ruled out, but day trips can be easily arranged. The sand here is so fine that it has been known to damage electrical equipment, so take care of your camera – you will want to keep those photos!
6. Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast
Surfers Paradise is well named due to the pounding surf that can be found crashing on the shore just about every day (hold on to your bikinis, ladies!) The surfing all along the coast in this area is excellent, and the beach itself is clean and beautiful. Regardless of how many tourists are visiting at that time, the beach is endless, and a quiet spot can always be found. Several sections of the beach have lifeguards, who keep a vigilant eye out for danger. Near to the beach, a plethora of night clubs, bars and restaurants can be found to keep you entertained.
7. Coolangatta, Gold Coast
Further down the coast, approaching the border with New South Wales, can be found the picturesque small suburb of Coolangatta. A little quieter and less brash than Surfers Paradise, it is a perfect place to spend a relaxing day swimming and taking in the view.
8. Mooloolaba, Sunshine Coast
Though not as well-known as its neighbour, Noosa, Mooloolaba is a stunning expanse of white sand. The views across the bay are sensational, and the sea is crystal clear. Nearby an excellent selection of international cuisine can be sampled after a busy day swimming and taking in the sunshine.
9. Airlie Beach, Whitsunday Islands
Airlie Beach in the Whitsunday Islands is a magical place for those lucky enough to stay there. With sand bars forming similar intricate patterns to those at Whitehaven Beach, the views change day-by-day, but never cease to be anything short of breathtaking. On the doorstep of the Great Barrier Reef, the snorkelling and scuba-diving are superb.
Noosa, Sunshine Coast
Probably the most famous beach of the Sunshine Coast, Noosa’s reputation is justified. Pure white sand stretches down to calm waters, which are perfect for swimming, playing, or just cooling off after too long in the sun. The beach is bookended by stretches of eucalyptus forest, and those who are very fortunate can spot wild koalas in the treetops (look carefully, they’ll be snoozing in the highest branches!).