The following blog by Bella Quaid was originally published on the Queensland Blog.
Get ready for some slip, slop, slappin’ action, folks. Summer is rearing its hotter-than-a-jalapeño head and you can bet the masses have one thing on their minds… beach, please.
But, instead of laying towel-to-towel next to a total stranger, why not skip the holiday droves for something a little more secretive?
#beachgoals don’t get much better than the lesser-known of Queensland’s best beaches.
1. NUDEY BEACH, FITZROY ISLAND, TROPICAL NORTH QUEENSLAND
Nudey by name not by nature – so make sure to bring your togs – Nudey Beach is a small stretch of pristine white sand, coral beach and clear blue water that lays on the South-West shores of Fitzroy Island, located 29km south of Cairns (or just a swift 45 minute ferry ride). We’ll just leave it at that…but if you still need more convincing, this stunner ranked number 1 in the 2018 Australia’s 101 Best Beaches awards. Yeah, it’s THAT good.
2. FRANGIPANI BEACH, CAPE YORK, TROPICAL NORTH QUEENSLAND
Know a place where the world’s oldest rainforest collides with the Great Barrier Reef?
Cape Tribulation, in Daintree National Park in Tropical North Queensland, is famed for steep rainforested mountains sweeping down to long sandy beaches and turquoise coastal waters at Frangipani Beach. Visit this beauty and you’re likely to see fifty shades of blue before you’ve even started swimming.
The perfect place to tick off two World Heritage sites from your bucket list!
3. HORSESHOE BAY, MAGNETIC ISLAND, TOWNSVILLE NORTH QUEENSLAND
While it’s a popular spot with the locals, for those who live outside of the mango capital of Queensland, Townsville, Horseshoe Bay on Magnetic Island comes as an unexpected surprise.
Framed by two large-scale granite outcrops on either side, the turquoise waters of this bay are a hot spot for snorkelling and diving, with a coral reef just a short swim from the beach.
4. MONKEY BEACH, GREAT KEPPEL ISLAND, CAPRICORN
Great Keppel Island on the Capricorn Coast, may have 17 postcard perfect sandy beaches, but it’s Monkey Beach that offers the island’s best launch pad for a clear water snorkel.
With fringing coral reefs home to colourful coral and fish, Monkey Beach is the place to get your snorkel on and explore an under (and above) water oasis.
5. ETTY BAY, TROPICAL NORTH QUEENSLAND
There’s a reason why they call this region the Cassowary Coast, and one of the most distinguishing aspects of this beaut bay 10 minutes from Innisfail (other than the fact it’s like swimming in a glorious bath tub with warm waters year-round) are the local residents you’ll find here… you guessed it, cassowaries!
Enclosed by Wet Tropic rainforest, the beach is regularly frequented by these spectacular dinosaur-like birds, but remember, admire only from afar and do not share your delish fish’n’chip lunch from the beachfront kiosk.
Spending time in Innisfail? Here are some more things to do.
6. SEVENTEEN SEVENTY, GLADSTONE
You may have heard of The Town of 1770 and its historical background as the second landing site of Captain James Cook, but what you might not realise is this coastal village is packing some serious salty goodness on the side.
Surrounded by the Coral Sea and Bustard Bay on three sides, you’ll find adjacent to the foreshore a tranquil still-water inlet, perfect if you despise dumping waves and enjoy getting your stand-up paddle board on.
7. THALA BEACH, TROPICAL NORTH QUEENSLAND
If exploring the Great Barrier Reef and the world’s oldest rainforest is on your bucket list, we know just the place.
Get your road-trip on from Cairns to Port Douglas where you’ll pass the iconic tree-lined Thala Beach Nature Reserve. Smack in the midst of two World Heritage listed wonders is a collection of bungalows set amongst 58-hectares of lush native forest – can you say paradise?!
8. DINGO BEACH, WHITSUNDAYS
While the jewel in the Whitsundays crown may be Whitehaven Beach, Dingo Beach, located off the beaten track of the mainland, offers a perfect stretch of the tropics to set up your towel. Boasting miles of sandy beaches, crystal clear waters and bountiful fishing, this tropical stunner is well worth the detour.
Pro tip: You can only get there by car, so if you didn’t bring your own, hire one from the many outlets in Airlie Beach and explore one of the hidden wonders of the Whitsundays at your own pace, for a day or a few nights.
9. SOUTH GORGE BEACH, STRADBROKE ISLAND
Tucked in between the Surf Life Saving Club at Point Lookout and the North Gorge Headlands, the coastal dune home to South Gorge Beach is a must for anyone island hopping over to North Straddie.
Our recommendation? Work up a sweat on the North Gorge Walk before dipping into the luminous blue waters guarded by the island’s massive cliff faces. (Tip: Keep an eye out for colourful fishies hiding out in the rocky crevasses).
10. MYALL BEACH, CAPE TRIBULATION
Where else can you step straight onto the beach from World Heritage-listed rainforest and be treated to a cracker sunrise and coral reefs as far as the eye can see?
Say g’day to Cape Tribulation‘s Myall Beach – accessible by a boardwalk over mangroves and through the lush Daintree Rainforest!
11. MUDJIMBA BEACH, SUNSHINE COAST
Play park for kids? Check. Patrolled swimming? Check. Epic surf? You betcha. Tucked away from the main roads just shy of Maroochydore (if you’re coming from the north), Mudjimba Beach is a quiet beachside ‘burb serving up a wide, open natural playground.
In the words of Step Brothers, there are “so many activities”, with everything from rock-fishing at Point Arkwright to snorkelling and diving around the coral gardens of Mudjimba ‘Old Woman’ Island.
12. TALLEBUDGERA CREEK, GOLD COAST
It might have the word ‘creek’ in it, but this dreamy cove is all about sun, sand and piercing-blue gentle waters.
Protected by a natural breakwater, you can reach it via the southern entrance of Burleigh Head National Park if you want that off-the-beaten-track feel, or pop across the bridge where you can set yourselves up in the park for a midday BBQ and hire SUPs and kayaks.
13. BLUE PEARL BAY, WHITSUNDAYS
You know it’s a tough gig in paradise when the toughest decision you have to make is whether you take to the land to uncover the untamed wilderness of the Whitsundays‘ Blue Pearl Bay, or dive into the crystal clear waters that beckon beyond.
You’ll find this slice of paradise on the north-western side of Hayman Island, teeming with vibrant coral and fish life. Go on, dive into a new adventure…
14. KINKUNA BEACH, BUNDABERG
Located in Burrum Coast National Park in Bundaberg, Kinkuna Beach is a true local’s haunt that few know about.
Other than being a pristine, you-won’t-want-to-leave kinda beach this is also an ideal camping spot in the park’s bushlands.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE BEACH IN QUEENSLAND?
This post was originally published in 2012 and was updated on 30 January 2018.