Want to feel the sand between your toes? Us too. It’s the great Australian summer ritual: packing up and heading to the beach. But not all destinations are created equal, some are best for families, some are party central and others are quiet havens to just kick back and relax. The key is finding the summer destination that suits you best.
Here’s our Top 10 Australian Summer Destinations that will have you soaking up the summer sunshine this holiday season.
1. Noosa, QLD
For the ultimate beach-chic destination, it’s hard to go past Noosa for its designer boutiques and top-notch restaurants. First timers will want to stay close to the action on Hastings Street, but if you’re a seasoned traveller to the Sunshine Coast it’s worth checking out the hidden gems of Noosaville. We’re loving Coconut Noosa who have relocated from bustling Hastings St to Gympie Terrace. Go there for a new summer wardrobe and accessories.
Dining: While you’re spoilt for choice on Hastings St, venture to Thomas Corner Eatery for divine riverside dining.
Where to stay: Best for fashionistas, don your movie star shades, settle into a daybed and relax in absolute beachfront bliss at Fairshore Noosa.
2. Byron Bay, NSW
Byron Bay is a unique place; it’s part sleepy coastal town, hippie hangout, backpacker haven and playground for the wealthy, making it an idyllic holiday getaway. As the capital of cool, Byron Bay is home to the all day breakfast with plenty of options to kick start your day, including the relaxed Dip Café.
There’s a buzz surrounding the upcoming launch of The Farm, an 80-acre farm in Byron Bay with restaurant, café and deli run by famed Bronte restaurant team Three Blue Ducks. Spend lazy days at the beach and party all night with great bands, pubs and dining.
Dining: Cicchetti has raised the bar, recently opening a stylish modern Italian restaurant in the heart of Byron.
Where to stay: You can’t beat the quirky, unique and centrally located Atlantic Byron Bay for an affordable and stylish stay.
3. Port Stephens, NSW
The vibe is of the beach holiday you remember from your childhood, endless days enjoying the sun and sea. While high rises and fancy restaurants are gradually coming to this coastal region, it retains the essence of a carefree family getaway.
Dining: Head to Inner Light Tearooms for old-fashioned scones with jam and cream like your Nanna use to make, while taking in the most spectacular view of the Shoal Bay.
Where to stay: Rejuvenate mind, body and soul in the peaceful setting of Shoal Bay at Bali at the Bay. Enjoy lazy days swinging in the hammock under the shaded verandah from your luxury digs.
4. South Coast, NSW
A string of coastal and rural towns including Kiama, Berry and Jervis Bay make up this stunning seaside holiday destination. Kiama is more than just the blowhole, with a thriving café and boutique shopping scene and regular farmers markets. You won’t want to leave this natural wonderland.
Dining: Berry Sourdough Bakery is an institution and for good reason, from incredible baked goods, delicious breakfast and impeccable lunch time dining, it’s not to be missed.
Where to stay: Owned by fourth generation dairy farmers, The Pines is a beautifully restored three bedroom house blending modern comforts and heritage style. The Pines also sell their milk and gelato available at various local cafes and markets.
5. Mornington Peninsula, VIC
Blending fine wine, impeccable dining and a chilled coastal setting, Mornington Peninsula is one stylish wine region. There’s more to see and do than just wine tasting, with walking trails and cycle paths and kids’ tree surfing also popular.
Dining: Book in advance and secure a table at Ten Minutes by Tractor, the two hatted fine diner is worth the trip.
Where to stay: With four boutique villas resting amongst vineyards, onsite bistro and cellar door a stay at Polperro Villas is not to be missed.
Five more for the bucket list:
6. Port Douglas, QLD
Enough luxury lodgings, spas and fine diners to keep you going for weeks and the Great Barrier Reef and Cape Tribulation and Daintree right on your doorstep.
7. Fraser Coast, QLD
Hervey Bay is a great value, family getaway with a stunning coastline of pristine, white sandy beaches and Fraser Island eco-experiences.
8. Gold Coast, QLD
The Gold Coast is more than just Surfers Paradise; escape the crowds and head to the southern end of the Gold Coast for some style and sophistication. Burleigh Heads offers a thriving café culture and home to the award winning Fish House seafood restaurant.
9. Hobart, TAS
Hobart is so hot right now, with outstanding food, wine and culture it’s a mecca for foodies and those seeking a back to nature experience.
10. Margaret River, WA
The Margaret River welcomes guests to experience a region rich with natural wonders and enticing cultural and sophisticated delights. With a breathtaking backdrop of forest, vines and surf, there is an endless amount of fun and indulgence to be had.