12. Sydney’s Northern Beaches, New South Wales
Best Beaches: Whale Beach, Palm Beach, Bungan Beach, North Curl Curl.
Mick Jagger leased a holiday home here, Bono booked a long-term stay and Elle Macpherson prefers to stay here over summer. There’s a reason why celebrities – who can clearly afford to stay anywhere in the world – choose to stay here: Sydney’s northern beaches make you feel like you’re 500 kilometres from the nearest town, not an hour’s drive from Australia’s biggest city. Sure, they can get crowded at holiday time, especially on the southern perimeter of these beaches at Manly, but complete privacy is often just a quick stroll away.
Take Whale Beach, for instance, leave the beach behind and walk past the rock pools of the beach’s rugged headland, out beyond fishermen casting from the rocks and you’ll enjoy complete privacy in your own tiny cove. Even on Palm Beach – immortalised as Summer Bay in Home & Away – it takes just a five-minute walk away from the patrolled swimming area and you’ll have the orange-tinged sands to yourselves. For more action, the beaches around Manly radiate with summer fun.