5. Byron Bay, New South Wales
Best Beaches: Main Beach, Belongil, Wategos, Cosy Corner, Broken Head, Whites Beach, Seven Mile Beach.
From secret beaches at the end of winding dirt tracks where a ten-minute walk through coastal scrub brings you to horseshoe bays of squeaky, white sand with not a soul on them; to the hedonistic playground of Main Beach – where $500 designer bikinis and Europe’s most taut and terrifi c bodies compete for attention - Byron Bay is one of the world’s sexiest beach towns – full stop (few would dare to dispute this, surely).
There’s over 15 incredible beaches to choose from, and that’s just the ones on the map; if you take the time to look around, you’ll find empty beaches even locals haven’t heard of, where total privacy means clothes are optional (there’s also one of Australia’s most famous nude beaches – the Belongil). These days Byron Bay is one of the world’s coolest surf towns, Elle Macpherson learnt to surf at Wategos Beach while Coldplay’s Chris Martin prefers The Pass. There’s a rustic cafe on every popular beach, each ideal for romantic meals and sunset drinks. Then, of course, there's Australia’s most iconic surf bar, The Beach Hotel, just above Main Beach which buzzes with fashionable types day and night. Or try Ben Harper’s favourite, Broken Head, or Cosy Corner, whose name says it all really.