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Which of Australia’s 11,761 beaches topped the 'best of' list?



Environment Updates

Foreign Minister Announces ‘Six Sexiest Surfing Breaks’ for 2018 now officially ranked among the Nation’s Top 10 Beaches

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 29 December, 2017 - The best of Australia’s 11,761 beaches has been officially announced by Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs at Perth’s iconic Cottesloe Beach. Surf tourism is in sharper focus.

The tanned beach going Foreign Minister Hon. Julie Bishop MP and Australia’s leading beach expert Brad Farmer identified from the Top 10 Best Australian Beaches for 2018 – six are unique surfing breaks in pristine condition – and ‘should stay that way’.

The new rankings include a fresh ‘Triple-A’ criteria: Affordable, Accessible and Authentically Australian, encouraging beach and surfing tourists to explore more of our vast coastline. The updated list includes some unexpected and underrated beaches which tourists won’t find in glossy brochures, but in the new sector of beach ‘discoveries’ – social media.

“The increasing prevalence of sharks in Australian waters has also become part of the criteria for recommending beaches,” Farmer said.

The winner of the coveted title of Best Australian Beach for 2018 is Nudey Beach just off the coast Cairns in Far North Queensland, the runner-up is little known Horrocks Beach in Western Australia, becoming the nation’s best mainland beach.

Hidden Horrocks is the home of three Indian Ocean reef breaks at Bowes River Mouth, Camels and Tractors.

The other five surf breaks announced within the Top 10 are: Dreamtime Beach (#3) in northern NSW; Cocos Keeling Islands (#4); Burleigh Heads (#5); Seal Rocks (#6) NSW and Quobba-Red Bluff (#8) better known as ‘Camp of the Moon’ located in far north west Western Australia.

From the unbeatable to the unknown, Australia has so many beaches it’s no surprise that our parade of best beaches for 2018 are ones probably most have never heard of – and there’s good reason for it in an ‘industry’ worth a whopping $103b to the Australian economy.

“Social sharing is now an economic phenomenon, where people are travelling and exploring to experience real difference, either through their fingertips or literally on the road less travelled - something which my 2018 list reflects in buckets – and spades!” Mr Farmer said.

Australia may not be the most visited destination in the world, but in social media circles, Australia is No.1.  Tourism Australia holds the title of the world’s most followed national tourism organisation with 8 million Facebook fans and 2.8m Instagram followers.

“Every beach nook and cranny, even our ‘secret’ beaches are now just a tap way”.

Speaking at the official launch of Australia’s Best Beaches 2018 with Ms Bishop, Mr Farmer believes that social media is increasingly becoming a ‘game-changer’ when travellers plan and decide on where to holiday and to surf.  In a sector worth many billions to the national economy, this presents significant opportunities for showcasing and developing markets outside the traditional key gateways, seeing a dispersal of tourists to struggling regions, along one of the world’s longest and most diverse coastlines.

“My new ranking reflects a real salt and sand approach, less scientific and stuffy,” Farmer states, “it’s a newly developed Triple-A criterion; Affordable, Accessible and Authentically Australian,” in his long-standing role in what has been described as the best job in the world.

With 70% of international tourists choosing ‘Beaches’ as the No. 1 reason to visit Australia and even a higher number of domestic travellers (we Aussies) choosing to holiday at - or near the beach (~90%) it is crucial, Farmer says “to ensure our coastal assets are well managed and protected.”

This year, Mr Farmer who has been investigating Australian beaches since his first beach book in 1985, believes a change is coming in how we judge and choose best beaches based on a sense of adventure and discovery.

Mr Farmer’s passion for beaches is supported by John O’Sullivan, Managing Director of Tourism Australia.  “Brad Farmer’s 101 Best Beaches puts the spotlight on just one per cent of Australia’s beaches but, ultimately, this is a list that celebrates our unique coastal lifestyle and with it every kilometre of the 50,000 kilometres which make up our country’s spectacular coastline,” he said.

Mr Farmer concluded in saying “It’s unquestionable that we have the best beaches in the world and its showing as tourism is growing at three times the rate of the Australian economy,” cautioning that “If Australia wanted to continue with beaches being the greatest generator of pleasure and profit, strict development controls at a Federal level must be enshrined to ensure coastal assets are protected at all costs and not left to the states.”

Mr Farmer, who has been recognised by Tourism Australia as a ‘Friend of Australia’ and ‘Australia’s Beach Ambassador’ has been researching, writing books and reviews about beaches since 1985, including in that year the first ‘Surfing Guide to Australia’ of 1200 beaches.


THE ‘TOP 10’ and ‘20’ BEST AUSTRALIAN BEACHES 2018  (Surfing *)

1               Nudey Beach (QLD)

2               Horrocks Beach (WA) *

3               Dreamtime Beach (NSW) *

4               Cossies Beach (CKI) *

5               Burleigh Heads (QLD) *

6               Seal Rocks (NSW) *

7               Bay of Fires (TAS)

8               Quobba - Red Bluff (WA) *

9               Dolly Beach (CI)

10            Second Valley (SA)

11            Neds Beach (LHI)

12            Little Beach (WA)

13            Wineglass Bay (TAS)

14            Moonee Beach (NSW) *

15            Cottesloe Beach (WA)

16            Agnes Waters - 1770 (QLD) *

17            Horseshoe Bay (QLD)

18            Kitty Miller Bay (VIC)

19            Mindil Beach (NT)

20            Cylinders (QLD) *


Snapshot of Australian Beaches:

10,654 mainland beaches, 11,761 in total (including 30 large islands of a total of 8,222 Australian various islands/cays and isles).
Only 16% of Australian beaches are accessible by conventional road, a further 12% are accessible via unsealed roads, 29% by 4WD and 43% are inaccessible (Source: Prof. A. D. Short)
Australians are the foremost beach going nation in the world.
Australia has the third largest marine zone in the world.
Australia has the most varied and diverse coastline in the world.
Beaches are a major economic driver for the Australian economy, second only to mining.
Australians began ‘sea bathing’ in 1906.
Australia is ranked at #1 for aquatic wildlife, remote coastal beaches and aquatic locations, and developed coastal and beach locations on average across all markets.
The greatest drivers of international visitor demand specifically to Australia are coastal (including beaches) and aquatic.
Australia’s beaches are ranked first as the most appealing Australian attraction among international consumers. The Great Barrier Reef, unspoilt natural wilderness, Australian coastal lifestyle and island experiences also comprise the top ten.
For Australians, the most important elements of aquatic and coastal experiences encompass tropical islands, followed by remote coastal, beach and aquatic locations, tied with beaches right near cities, and trailed by marine wildlife.

Tourism / Beaches Snapshot:

70% of international visitors enjoy aquatic and coastal experiences as part of their trip to Oz.
$41.2 billion international spending, up 6% / $53 billion direct tourism GDP, up 7%
580,200 direct employment from tourism, up 1%
Tourism is one of the largest services export making up 11% of all Australian exports.
Growing 3 times faster than Australian economy

* Brad Farmer is also the founder of Surfrider Foundation Australia, Ocean Care Day and the National and World Surfing Reserves movements among some of his not-for-profits initiatives.  Brad is a passionate advocate for our Australian coastline and beaches and he self funds the 101 Beaches initiative each year, receiving no funding or incentives from any commercial operator in this endeavour. 



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