Secret beaches of Queensland
Author: Lee Atkinson
Tallebudgera Creek, Gold Coast
Queensland's Gold Coast is home to some of the most popular beaches in the country, so if you've come looking for an empty beach, you've come to the wrong place. While it's not exactly deserted, Tallebudgera Creek - just off the Gold Coast Highway between Burleigh Heads and Palm Beach - is your best bet to escape the crowds. There's no surf and lots of shade so it's also a good pick for a family. If you're after waves, the surf beach is just across the road. It's about as secret a patch of sun-kissed sand as you'll find on the Gold Coast's glitter strip.
Alexandria Bay, Noosa, Sunshine Coast
Noosa's beaches are undeniably lovely, but deserted they are not. Take a walk through Noosa National Park at the end of the Hastings Street café strip, though, and you'll stumble upon the Sunshine Coast's secret swimming spot, Alexandria Bay, on the eastern side of the headland. It's so secluded that it's clothing optional, so don't go if you're likely to be offended by the occasional nudie. Luckily, no-one seems to mind when you keep your cossies on as long as you don't mind when they don't.
Agnes Water, Capricorn Coast
If your idea of the perfect beach includes rolling surf, you don't want to miss Agnes Water, Queensland's most northern surf beach, around 485km north of Brisbane and roughly halfway between Bundaberg and Gladstone. The town of Agnes Water is a twin of 1770 - James Cook came ashore here in May 1770, inspiring the town's unusual name - and it's one of Queensland's best-kept secrets. If you like laid-back places where there's little more to do than throw out a fishing line, take long beach walks, watch the sun set or simply settle in under a shady tree to read a good book, then this is the place for you.
Dingo Beach, Whitsundays
No visit to the Whitsundays is complete without a trip to Whitehaven Beach, which claims to have some of the finest, whitest sand in the world. The trouble is, you can only get there by boat, and everyone goes there. For a much quieter day at the beach, try Dingo Beach on Edgecumbe Bay at Cape Gloucester. It's about a 50km drive north from Airlie Beach, and the only way to get there is with your own set of wheels, so you won't be overrun with backpackers and fly-in-fly-out tourists.
Ellis Beach, Tropical Far North
Less than 50 people live at Ellis Beach, a five-kilometre stretch of usually deserted beach 20 km north of Cairns, so you're never going to have to battle it out for space. Shaded by coconut trees, it's picture-perfect, and there is a stinger net from November to May. Getting there is half the fun: the Captain Cook Highway from Cairns to Port Douglas is one of the country's best coastal drives, hugging the coastline with magnificent views where the rainforest spills down the mountain side to meet the sea.