3. Sunshine Coast & Fraser Island, Queensland
Best Beaches: Main Beach Noosa, Alexandra Headland, Sunshine Beach.
With the exception of world–famous chic beach town, Noosa, the Sunshine Coast manages to fly under the radar of many holiday– makers – which leaves much of it empty for those who do go. There are over 100 kilometres of beaches on this strip of Queensland coastline – when you add Fraser Island’s sandy coast you get 224 kilometres of beaches from which to choose. Beaches range from wild, open strips of sand that continue on for more than 20 kilometres with no break; to sheltered tiny bays inside national parks and World Heritage–listed zones.
Noosa is the area’s main drawcard and it’s a subtly sexy beast boasting the perfect geographical setting – it sits below a mountainous, green hinterland and is fringed by national park and a stunning coastline. Noosa combines nature’s best attributes with a street scene that radiates restrained sex appeal. Alongside tranquil Main Beach, Hastings Street is perhaps Australia’s hippest seaside address with its atmospheric cafes, restaurants and bars and boutique shopping opportunities. But there’s so much more for couples; Mooloolaba’s Esplanade precinct is stylish and romantic, while beaches like Alexandra Headland offer quiet lazy days of sunbathing. Or if you’d prefer total isolation, take a boat ride to the world’s largest sand island – Fraser Island – where over 200 kilometres of waterways stretch out in sweeping bays to the north and along wide, open beaches that stretch on beyond 50 kilometres to the south (and double as a highway).