australias top 10 safest beaches

15 February 2012 06:27:00 AEDT

Lets take a break from sharks, killer waves and surfing competitions and get back to basics - Australia's safest and most beautiful beaches. From the roughly 21,000 kilometres that make up our coastline we have hand picked 10 of the best places to dream away your next holiday. From the whitest sand in the world to the cleanest air on Earth, the hearts of ancient national parks to the borders of great cities; this top 10 is a tribute to those who have drove as far as they thought they would, looked down at the map and wondered....what's around the next corner?

Hyams Beach, NSW

There are no shortage of beaches claiming to have the whitest sand in the world but at Hyams Beach it's official. This Australian beach has the much coveted Guinness Book of Records entry for the whitest sand in the world. Tucked inside the shelter of Jervis Bay the entire region owes much to it's ancient history for this blessing. Carved out by the slow retreat of glaciers after the last ice age around 15,000 years ago, the high quartz content of the area grants this beach it's stunning luminous white sand. The shelter of Jervis Bay make this beach ideal for everything from swimming, snorkelling and the odd wave every now and then. Where else can you get the kids to build the whitest sandcastle in the world?

Cable Beach, WA

Dinosaur footprints and camel trains may not sound like the makings of a safe beach but on WA's Cable Beach it all comes together. A splendid 25 mile stretch of clear white sand and pristine water have continued to draw families and tourists from all over the world. The surrounding coastline shields the area from major surf which makes this an ideal spot for the kids to stretch their legs in some small trainee waves before they tackle the bigger stuff.

Turquoise Bay, WA

Aptly named Turquoise Bay lies up to the north west near the town of Exmouth - slap bang in the middle of Ningaloo Marine Park. Unlike the reefs off Queensland, the systems here lie in some areas only 20 metres off the beach meaning you can be snorkelling amongst some of the most unspoilt coral reefs in the world in a matter of minutes - no boat rides required. If you time this around Christmas you may catch the transit of the whale sharks, snorkelling amongst these behemoths remains truly one of the most extraordinary experiences you can expect to walk away from in the ocean.

Whitehaven Beach, QLD

200 million dollars of Queensland Tourism advertising..including that annoying guy from the UK that lived here for a year to promote the region must have something solid to back it up right? Well yes. It's pretty hard to go past Whitehaven Beach in your list of safest and most scenic beaches. Incredibly white sand blends with ultramarine water to produce a unique canvas that will have you walking around with your bottom jaw well and truly dragging on the deck. Best seen from the air to appreciate exactly how many shades of blue it is possible to jam into one stretch of coastline.

Bells Beach, VIC

Some people won't agree with this and yes granted, if it's breaking 10 feet in the middle of winter then this may not be the safest place to take the kids for a paddle but on a lazy summer day all of that drifts away. Everyone has heard of Bells Beach and if you happen to be touring the Great Ocean Road you really owe it to yourself to drop in and see what the magic is all about.

Morna Point, NSW

Tucked in the northern corner of Stockon Beach lies one of the true gems of the Hunter Valley, as one of the only beaches in New South Wales that is offshore in summer north easterlies, it's often busy but more manageable than surrounding surf spots. Plenty of peaks to spread out and enjoy if you are seeking a little splendid isolation. If you get a little sick of the waves then there is always the backdrop, some of the biggest open sand dunes in Australia butt right onto the main beach, cascading endlessly inland. An amazing place to go for a wander..just take a compass and plenty of water.

Wine Glass Bay, TAS

Reaching this spot is only half the fun. After you treck through the majestic Freycinet National Park be prepared for a perfect amphitheatre of sand that is routinely voted one of the most beautiful beaches in the world...oh and that air you're breathing down there? Its officially been rated the cleanest on the planet.

Minnie Water, NSW

Just beyond the crowds and madness of Byron lies a true north coast secret. Minnie Waters is nestled within the Yuraygir National Park. Access is a little tricky but worth the effort. Explorers are rewarded with a breath taking expanse of unspoilt coastline suitable for everything from building sandcastles to reading a cheeky novel and even a few waves. Take only photos, leave only footprints - you know the drill.

Smiths Beach, WA

WA's Margaret River is more commonly known for recording breaking big wave competitions these days but Smiths offers a great respite for the family. Home to the famous break of supertubes to the north, the south offers a welcome blend of small waves and clean sand just begging to have a beachtowel thrown on top of it. Great accomodation just on the hill right behind the main break!

Western River Cove, Kangaroo Island, SA

The Southern Ocean can be a cruel mistress and more often than not, South Australi'as Kangaroo Island is smack bang in the middle of her wrath. Western river Cove is one of the more protected spots on the island however and easily one of the most scenic in Australia. It's not an easy trek to get down to Kangaroo Island but definetly worth the effort.

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