For me, the highlights of a coast-hugging holiday are the relaxing days, lazing on a picture perfect beach, enjoying the sun, sand and surf. The best beaches, in my opinion, always have at least a bit of surf. They have a slight breeze, no seaweed, bluebottles or other stingers, and always crystal clear water. Sometimes water is so clear, you can hardly see it! Sand colour doesn't mater too much to me, but I have really been taken by the many shades of white sand we have encountered during our current travels. Something I read had suggested travellers collect a small bit of sand from each beach they visit, then use the many varying colours to make layered sand art in a glass jar. Do you remember those twisty, colourful sand creatures that became a DIY fad in shopping centres in the 90's? I imagine a travel sand bottle would be like a trendy, boho version of one of those, but it's not a project we are undertaking on this trip.
In Esperence, WA, I saw a sign in a shop, proudly declaring the whitest sand in the world could be found nearby in Lucky Bay, part of Cape Le Grand National Park.
The sand at Lucky Bay is supposedly 6 shades whiter than the sands of Hyams Beach, NSW, which is a well-known, white sandy paradise back home. I said to a friend, as we crossed the Nullarbor the first time, after our first month of endless picturesque South Australian shorelines, "I wonder if you can ever get sick of amazing beaches?" Surely there can only be so much variety that different pieces of coast can offer? Perhaps if you've seen one, you've seen them all. However, my fears of getting bored were squashed as we arrived in Esperance and visited West Beach, which provided yet another spectacular scene, different again to the ones we had already experienced.
I don't think I can successfully declare the best beach in the country, but I can give you my top 5, according to our trip so far.
#5 - West Beach, Esperance, WA
The weather on the day we visited this beach, had everything to do with my love for it. It was mid thirties. We'd spent the morning in the stuffy caravan and headed out at lunch time to cool off. The towering rocks at the eastern end sheltered a beautiful bay and the horizon was pleasantly interrupted by two off-shore islands. The clear water provided waves just big enough for the beginner surfers there to have a nice run, and to the west, they washed over an expanse of rocky, reef platform, home to many fish and sea grasses.
#4 - Stokes Bay, Kangaroo Island, SA
I was thrilled with this location when we first visited Kangaroo Island in January, 2020. Thankfully it was still the same when we returned 11 months later, with a few less bushfires around, so we could enjoy it without evacuating this time. From the carpark, all you can see is an unremarkable bay, with a pebbly shoreline, littered with decomposing sea grass. It takes a short walk, through a cave in the rocks, to discover the true magic of this spot. Emerging from the rock cave, onto a stretch of white sand, you can instantly see the luring excitement of the natural, tidal rock pool, and the waves of the ocean beyond it. Exploring the sea creatures, with masks and snorkels in the pool, or splashing with boards and balls among the waves, there really is fun for the whole family.
#3 - Everywhere on Rottnest Island, WA
A true island paradise. Our short time here was amazing, with the entire coastline providing stunning vistas. Places to surf, swim, snorkel, all just a short walk, bike ride or bus trip from accommodation. Amazing rocky outcrops and a number of shipwrecks provide homes for much marine life, and the clear waters make exploring these ocean dwellings easy.
#2 - PORT NOARLUNGA, SA
Based on our day tip here, I think I could very happily move here in a heartbeat. It's not too far from the civilisations of Adelaide, and offers a unique waterfront experience. We spent the day right where the river mouth meets the ocean, floating downstream, in the gushing currents, only to be met by the waves, clambering out, walking back along the shore and repeating the whole experience again. However, Port Noarlunga also offers a surf break, with surf club, and a jetty which leads out to a huge rock reef, perfect for snorkelling. You can really enjoy any type of water based activity, right here in one location.
#1 - Hellfire Bay, Cape Le Grand National Park, WA
This has been my favourite spot of the whole trip. I'm not really even sure why. I didn't swim here. We only visited for a short time. But I just found it captivating. Rather than me trying to explain what it was like, I'll just leave you with these images, as you know, a picture is worth a thousand words.