Feel the sand between your toes, smell the salt air and relax in the sunshine. Stay at one of these luxurious beachfront properties and enjoy Australia's unrivalled beach lifestyle.
By Mal Chenu
Australia has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, with resorts to match. From five-star hotels to deluxe glamping and idyllic island retreats, there's a beachfront resort that's right for you. Here are 9 of the best.
Sal Salis, Cape Range, National Park, Western Australia
Sal Salis isn't just by the beach. It's on the sand. About 45 minutes drive north of the town of Exmouth (a two hour flight north from Perth on Australia's west coast), this gorgeous wilderness camp is found in a World Heritage-listed landscape among powdery white sand dunes fringed by pale topaz water. There are just 16 semi-permanent glamping (glamorous camping) tents here, and guests dine in style at long, communal tables under an outback starry sky each night. The star attraction is Ningaloo Reef, where you can swim with whale sharks and humpback whales.
Sheraton Mirage, Port Douglas
This five-star resort in tropical north Queensland is located in the stylish seaside town of Port Douglas, an hour north of Cairns. Many suites look out onto Four Mile Beach, so named because you can walk for four miles (6.4 kilometres) without seeing a building. The Sheraton Mirage has two hectares (4.9 acres) of swimming pools, lush tropical gardens, fine-dining and casual restaurants and an 18-hole golf course. The Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest are both easily accessible from here.
The Byron at Byron Bay
This resort and spa complex is found on the fringe of Byron Bay, arguably Australia's most famous surf town. Many Byron Bay locals embrace "alternative" lifestyle movements, and in true local form you can start each day here with a free yoga session, indulge in local, organic produce at the onsite restaurant and go to sleep knowing the resort was sustainably designed. You can also enjoy a sauna, visit the award-winning spa and wander two kilometres (1.2 miles) of rainforest boardwalks. There is a beautiful infinity pool and, of course, a beach.
Southern Ocean Lodge, Kangaroo Island
The amazing Southern Ocean Lodge is set on a cliff on Kangaroo Island, off the coast from the city of Adelaide, in South Australia. The lodge consistently ranks among the world's 10 best hotels, most recently appearing at No.4 in US magazine Travel+Leisure's 2016 World's Best Awards. Its 21 luxury suites overlook the rugged Southern Ocean coastline. Kangaroo Island is home to fur seals, sea lions, koalas, kangaroos, echidnas and seabirds. You can get here by a 30 minute flight from Adelaide or by taking a 45 minute ferry from the mainland township of Cape Jervis, about a 90 minute drive south from Adelaide.
Saffire Freycinet, Tasmania
Tasmania's Saffire Freycinet regularly receives high accolades. In 2014 it was named the world's best boutique hotel at the World Boutique Hotel Awards. You'll find Saffire at Coles Bay on the Freycinet Peninsula, a scenic two hour drive north-east from the Tasmanian capital, Hobart. This is the ideal place to stay if you'd like to experience Wineglass Bay, which, with its white sand and pale sapphire waters, regularly appears on top 10 destination lists around the world.
Qualia, Hamilton Island, Whitsunday Islands
This exclusive luxury resort is tucked into a private cove at one end of Hamilton Island, in Queensland's Whitsundays Islands. Despite Hamilton being the largest and most popular of the islands here, guests at qualia enjoy absolute privacy in large stand-alone villas. Half of these have their own private plunge pools, and all feature expansive views of the surrounding islands and sparkling ultramarine sea. Qualia boasts excellent dining, an opulent day spa, helicopter tours of the Great Barrier Reef and a wonderful private beach. You'll also be given your own golf cart to drive around the resort and the island. You can fly to Hamilton Island from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane.
Pullman Bunker Bay Resort, Margaret River Region
This resort is on Cape Naturaliste, in the world-famous Margaret River wine region, in the south-west corner of Australia. The sprawling property has accommodation for couples and families, a day spa, restaurant and infinity pool. It's a three hour drive south from Perth and the pretty seaside town of Dunsborough is just 10 minutes away. Head to local wineries for tastings and a relaxed lunch (try the marron and truffles). Explore the caves and tall forests or just relax on the beach.
Peppers Beach Club & Spa, Palm Cove
Palm Cove is a small beachside town halfway between Cairns and Port Douglas in tropical north Queensland. The plantation-style Peppers offers deluxe accommodation, a day spa, children's playground and three swimming pools, including a lagoon pool with sandy beaches and swim-up bar. It is an ideal base from which to explore the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest. Wander along the palm-fringed beach and build up an appetite for the many excellent restaurants nearby.
Injidup Spa Retreat, Margaret River Region
This exclusive resort is in the Margaret River wine and food region, a three hour drive south of Perth, the capital city of Western Australia. Perfect for a romantic holiday, the 10 villas all have private verandas, plunge pools and ocean views. Book an indulgent spa treatment and a private four-course dinner served in your villa. Explore the wineries and providores before relaxing on the beach as the sun sets into the water.