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Brochures of Australia are filled with snaps of Whitehaven Beach, Bondi Beach and The Twelve Apostles. If you want to have the same experience as everyone else, the same photos of everyone else and spend your time in crowded and expensive destinations, then by all means, follow the suggested itineraries in the brochures. If you’re after a more intimate experience with the Australian coast, if you want to actually meet some locals and enjoy long unspoiled beaches to yourself, then read on excited traveller. You might want to get out a map of Australia and mark these gems down!


Springs Beach, Agnes Water, Queensland

Hidden on a dirt track that is not signposted, you will find yourself on a secluded beach dotted with round rocks at the edges and nothing but crystal clear water and small waves breaking in the middle. The back of the beach is lined with nothing but bushland and it really gives you that ‘edge of the world’ feeling. To get to this pristine wilderness, head out of the township of Agnes Water on Springs Rd, after about 4kms you will see a sign for the Paperbark Trail on the right hand side of the road. Directly opposite this is a dirt track, turn into this. It is fine to drive with a conventional vehicle. Follow the dirt road until the end. There is parking space for about 5 cars in the shade just before you make your way down to the beach on foot.


Horseshoe Bay, Bowen, Queensland

You probably have Airlie Beach written down as a must-see on your trip. Well, scratch it out, and write ‘Bowen’ instead. Just an hour up the road, Bowen is the lesser-known, more honest and hard-working sister-town to Airlie Beach. At Airlie Beach you will find backpackers from all over the world cramming their hung-over selves onto a couple of small and man-made beaches. The view from the beaches at Arlie is of marinas and million dollar yachts docked in the bay. Not my idea of paradise. Bowen however, has seven naturally forming beaches the pinnacle of which is Horseshoe Bay. There is a small hike to a lookout at Horseshoe Bay from which you can take in the full glory of this beach, before you spend the rest of the day lounging between the sand and the water’s edge.


Fairy Cove, Wilsons Promontory, Victoria

When at Wilsons Promontory the majority of tourists will flock to Tidal River, Whiskey Bay and Squeaky Beach. I can understand this. It is somewhat of a drive just to get to here and any additional effort can seem like overkill. However, I urge you to be different, step away from the pack and head to Fairy Cove. There is one hitch to this one though, there is a 9.4km (round-trip) walk involved, but it is worth the hike. The walk should take you 3-4 hours dependant on your speed and fitness. You will cover some of the most beautiful terrain in Victoria. Forget the Great Ocean Road, this is where its at. The unspoilt nature of Wilsons Promontory (The Prom to the locals) is almost unrivalled in Victoria. You can depart from the Darby River or Darby Saddle carparks and walk the Tongue Point waling trail for breathtaking views across beaches, untouched Australian wilderness and mountain ranges.


Pilots Beach, Dunbogan, New South Wales

Pilot Beach is protected by breakwalls on both sides, so the rough currents that can occur in New South Wales are no issue. It features golden sand, blue water and backs onto a hidden park with free BBQs, picnic tables and bathrooms. Sounds great right. Well it is! What makes this place even better is that it seems to have be left off every tourist brochure for the area. I’m sure that this was a ploy by the locals (sorry guys!), but the secret is out now.

If you happen to take our advice and head to Pilot Beach, here’s an extra tip. There are two lookouts nearby that will knock your socks off: The Charles Hamey lookout and the North Brother Mountain lookout. Both will knock your socks off.



Tallows Beach, Byron Bay, New South Wales

Byron Bay is a spectacular, booming, hippie, coastal township in New South Wales. It is in the far north of the state and enjoys much the same weather as southern Queensland. Byron Bay’s Main Beach and Clarkes Beach are jam-packed full of people at any given point in the year. Seriously, even in the middle of winter this place is pumping! However, there is another beach, much larger and more deserted than these. It is Tallows Beach and is home to some killer surf. Here you can throw down your towel and enjoy the sunshine with a good book and without the noise of kids, boozehounds or tour groups to distract you from your beach-zen. A quiet moment is rare in Byron Bay, so be sure to check this one out. If it’s a bit windy, there is Cosy Corner on the north end of Tallows Beach that will shelter you from the wind too.


St Andrews Beach, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria

The Mornington Peninsula is a tourist mecca, with Melbournians and travellers alike flocking to the shores of this idyllic landmass in summer for their own slice of sunshine and beach time. It can be difficult to get away from the crowds and we would certainly not recommend trying to drive on the Peninsula in summer. A 10km trip can take you hours! There is one untapped area however: St Andrews, located on the Bass Strait side of the Mornington Peninsula. St Andrews is off the tourist path and not even mentioned on some maps. This local’s paradise has long beaches, with great surf breaks and very few people. There are no big shopping malls, no ice-creameries and no nightlife. This is just a surf town the way surf towns ought to be. Quiet, with a local fish and chips shop/general store and above all, a chilled out vibe.

 Cape Tribulation

Cape Tribulation, Queensland

Cape Tribulation is by no means a secret beach, it is on the cover of most FNQ (Far North Queensland) tourism brochures. The secret though, is that nobody ever goes there! Everyone I know who has been there has had the whole beach to themselves – every time This was certainly our experience when we were there in peak season in few years back. Cape Tribulation in the north east of Australia, it’s about as far north as you can drive with a conventional vehicle along the coast. If you want to go further north, you need an all-terrain vehicle and backup fuel, a satellite phone and a lot of experience in the Australian bush.

Cape Tribulation is right in the middle of what we like to call ‘croc country’, so have your whits about you. There is no need to be scared, they’re not going to attack for no reason, but just be aware that they are there. Cape Tribulation is a magical part of Australia and it baffles me that more tourists do not visit it. Get yourself to Cape Tribulation!


Cape Hillsborough Beach, Mackay, Queensland

We were caught completely by surprise by Cape Hillsborough. We knew nothing about the place before arriving except that you can see kangaroos on the beach at sunrise. That was enough of a drawcard for us and I’m sure it has your attention too, however when we arrived we were completely blown away by the grandeur and sense of isolation that Cape Hillsborough emits. The beaches are dotted with red volcanic rocks and the tropical colours of the water compliment the yellow shelly sand. It really is a mystical place. After lying down our towels on the beach for some serious sunbathing and relaxation, we found that we were joined by hundreds of bright blue butterflies. They came over the beach in waves and landed on the tress around us momentarily before moving on again. We looked around to see if anyone else saw it, but of course, we were alone on the beach. This happened time and time again, so we’re sure we did not hallucinate them! As I said, Cape Hillsborough is a mystical place.


Apollo Bay, Great ocean Road

Apollo Bay, Great Ocean Road, Victoria

Just over one hour away from the famed Twelve Apostles is Apollo Bay. For some reason this small town is often overlooked on visits to The Great Ocean Road with the hoards preferring Torquay and Lorne. This is however a bonus for secluded-beach seekers like ourselves! You can throw your towel down almost anywhere along Apollo Bay and not be disturbed all day. There maybe some locals walking along the water’s edge, and a few sailboats out on the horizon, but that is all. We camped in Apollo Bay in February and had a week of the beach all to ourselves… and what a beach it is. This is the Great Ocean Road after all.



Monique Thorpe /

Hi travellers! I am Monique. My partner and I sold all of our belongings, purchased a car and tent and set out to travel Australia. We are documenting our travels, our money saving tips and campsite reviews on our travel blog, and hope that these articles will make your life and travels a little happier, easier and cheaper!

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