Bonza beaches

It’s official, the Gold Coast’s Burleigh Beach rates in the top handful of Australia’s 101 Top Beaches!

Australia’s best beach isn’t Bondi, Surfers Paradise or Whitehaven. No, it’s quirkily named Nudey Beach on Fitzroy Island in Tropical North Queensland. That’s the verdict from beach expert, Brad Farmer, who has just released his annual 101 best Australian beaches list.

But names can be deceiving! Nudey Beach is not a clothing optional stretch of sand! “The only thing stark-naked at Fitzroy Island’s Nudey Beach is her offering of pure tropical assets,” said Farmer. “Just off Cairns, it’s a perfectly chilled island environment like few others, offering a truly great Barrier Reef immersion.”

The best thing about the beach is anybody can access it via ferry transfers from Cairns, which costs $78 for adults, and Nudey Beach is just a short hike from Fitzroy Island Resort, which offers accommodation starting from $35 a night.

Gold Coasters can be proud that Burleigh Heads made the cut, coming in 5th on the list and praised for its “coastal-cosmo village atmosphere and superb National Park.

Farmer, who has spent more than 20 years studying Aussie beaches, spent the past seven months travelling thousands of kilometres around the Australian coastline to make the most up-to-date assessment for the 2018 list.

He says it’s no surprise that his best beaches for 2018 are ones probably most have never heard of, given Australia has 11,761 to choose from.

This year’s list focuses on new criteria, with the highest ranked beaches meeting the “triple A” rating of being affordable, accessible and authentically Australian.

“My new ranking reflects a real salt and sand approach, less scientific and stuffy,” Farmer says.

Farmer has been supported in his quest to identify the nation’s top beaches by Tourism Australia.

“Australia is fortunate enough to be spoiled for choice when it comes to truly world class beaches,” Tourism Australia managing director John O’Sullivan says.

“Brad Farmer’s 101 Best Beaches puts the spotlight on just one percent of Australia’s beaches but, ultimately, this is a list that celebrates our unique coastal lifestyle and with it every kilometre of the 50,000km which make up our country’s spectacular coastline.”


  1. Nudey Beach, Fitzroy Island, Queensland

Nudey Beach on Fitzroy Island.

Picture: Brendan Radke

  1. Horrocks Beach, Western Australia

On WA’s Coral Coast, north of Geraldton, Horrocks Beach “feels like a beach that time forgot, brimming with crays, countryside character – and salty old Aussie characters aplenty.”

  1. Dreamtime Beach, NSW

Just south of Coolangatta, Dreamtime Beach is “one of the nation’s best sun-blessed stretches of undeveloped coast”.

  1. Cossies Beach, Cocos (Keeling) Islands

Named after Sir Peter Cosgrove, Cossies is the most remote beach on the list, but is “incomparable to any other Australian mainland or island beach”.

  1. Burleigh Heads, Queensland

“With its coastal-cosmo village atmosphere, a World Surfing Reserve and glorious national park (Burleigh Heads) is a genuine aquatic theme park requiring no commercial entry tickets.”

  1. Seal Rocks, NSW

A few hours north of Sydney, Seal Rocks is described as a gem “where seals sunbake, surfers camp up and fishermen still winch their wooden boats ashore”.

  1. Bay of Fires, Tasmania

“This sublime coastal stretch fuses radiant white sands with clear aqua waters dotted with many large orange lichen granite forms, giving it a surreal feel.”

  1. Quobba – Red Bluff, WA

Another highlight of WA’s Coral Coast, Red Bluff “is a rugged and rewarding discovery for those who like their beaches served ‘secluded and simple’.”

  1. Dolly Beach, Christmas Island

“Sir David Attenborough loved it, so will any authentic traveller.”

  1. Second Valley, SA

South of Adelaide on the Fleurieu Peninsula, Second Valley boasts a “lost in time” seaside setting, and, “like so many beaches in South Australia, its sheer beauty is underrated nationally”.


For Australia’s best beaches and all their virtues visit

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