5 Killer Beaches in Australia, from Your Toes to the Coral Reefs

Mermaid Beaches

Sand, Rain Forests, and Coral Reefs, Bucket List Material

Australia’s eastern coastline is filled with some of the most well-known beaches and vacation spots in the world. The most popular destination on Australia’s east coast is of course, the world-famous Great Barrier Reef -home to nearly three thousand coral reefs. You never know what you may encounter from its diverse marine life. The turquoise waters of the Coral Sea are home to many beaches some famous, some hidden gems (click here for facts on the coral reefs). That’s why we chose Australia’s east coast and its surrounding islands as some of our favorite mermaid beaches.

Mermaid Beaches

What is a mermaid beach you ask? A Mermaid Beach is a natural, untouched beach with stunning coastlines that are rich in wildlife. You know the kind where you may find a mermaid, or two! Finding mermaid beaches can take you off the beaten path, but your adventure will always be exhilarating.

Starting our road trip out in Queensland, our first Mermaid Beach is just north of Mackay. There are two budget car rental locations in Mackay, one at the Mackay Airport if you are flying in or one in Mackay’s city proper. Having your own car means that you can explore and discover your Mermaid Beaches adventure yourself, without the restrictions of tour guides, times, and itineraries. Our five Mermaid Beaches of Australia’s East Coast include: Smalleys Beach in Cape Hillsborough National Park, the beaches of Fitzroy Island, Cape Tribulation near the Daintree Rainforest, and Lizard Island off the coast of remote Far North Queensland.

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Smalleys Beach Cape Hillsborough National Park

Smalleys Beach is located in Cape Hillsborough National Park just north of the vacation mecca of Mackay. Mackay is known for its beaches and amazing tourist destinations. Cape Hillsborough National Park is a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and the touristy crowds. The coastline of the national park boasts some amazing views of the rugged features that have been carved into the coastline over the last 13 million years. In addition to captivating beaches like Smalleys Beach, Cape Hillsborough National Park features rain forest, eucalyptus forest, and volcanic rock formations. Camping facilities are available so that you can stay in the park and try to catch a sunrise glimpse of the kangaroos on the beach.

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Mermaids Beach on Daydream Island

Our next stop is the magnificent Whitsunday Islands, off the coast of Queensland. The Whitsunday Islands are filled with beautiful, white sand beaches. One such beach is Mermaids Beach on Daydream Island, a small island just off the mainland coast and part of the 74 islands that makeup the world’s largest Archipelago. The islands are considered part of the Great Barrier Reef. There is a ferry that can take you to Daydream Island which is home to a resort and several beaches, including Mermaids Beach. Wallabies roam on the island while the waters are host to thousands of marine creatures, plants, and corals including 1,500 species of fish, 30 species of whales, dolphins, and porpoises, and about 5,000 species of mollusks, just to name a few. The entire Great Barrier Reef is a World Heritage Area and is protected.

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The Beaches of Fitzroy Island

Fitzroy Island is just 20 km from the coast of Cairns. Cairns is one of the most popular port cities for Great Barrier Reef excursions. The city of Cairns is a little over 600 km north of the Whitsunday Islands. Fitzroy Island is accessible by ferry. You can spend the day or a whole vacation on the island, which is home to a boutique style resort allowing you to stay right in the Great Barrier Reef. The resort has different accommodation choices including cabins, luxury suites, or apartments. While on the island, enjoy the white sand beaches; or book a snorkeling, scuba diving, or kayaking adventure in the Coral Sea. Other possibilities include relaxing cruises or glass bottom boat rides. While on the island, you can also take a walking tour and explore the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Center to learn about the island and its efforts to help sea turtles and other marine life.

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Cape Tribulation

From here our next Mermaid Beach is Cape Tribulation. This is where the ocean and the Great Barrier Reef meet the world’s largest and oldest living rain forest. Certainly this is a mystical and magical spot! In addition to Cape Tribulation Beach, there are several other beaches to explore here including Cape Kimberley, Cow Bay Beach (the most secluded), Thornton Beach, Coconut Beach, Myall Beach, Emmagen Beach, and the remote and wild Cowie Beach. Besides lounging or walking the beaches and playing in the water, there are nearby river cruises and rain forest tours that you can seek out and explore.

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Lizard Island

Lizard Island is the northernmost Mermaid Beach on our road trip. It’s in the Far North of Queensland an area that is definitely remote and the road less traveled. Lizard Island is 27 km off the coast and is only reachable by private plane charter. On the island is a luxury resort which is the northernmost place to stay on the Great Barrier Reef. The island is very secluded with 24 white sand private beaches and lovely picnic spots. Off the island is some of the best snorkeling, reef diving, and scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef.

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About Christa Thompson

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Christa Thompson is the Founder and Senior Editor of The Fairytale Traveler. Christa has been traveling the world since 2003 when she attended a summer abroad study at the University of Cambridge in England. Since then, her wanderlust has been fierce. Her three passions in life are her son, traveling, and being creative. The Fairytale Traveler brand gives Christa the opportunity to do all of these things and to live intentionally every day. "It's never too late to believe in what you love and to pursue your dreams." -Christa Thompson

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