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  • Palm Beach (NSW): At the end of a string of beaches stretching north from Sydney, Palm Beach is long and white, with good surfing and a golf course.
  • Hyams Beach (NSW): This beach in off-the-beaten-path Jervis Bay is said to be the whitest in the world. You need to wear sun block if you decide to stroll along it, because the reflection from the sun, even on a cloudy day, can give you a nasty sunburn. The beach squeaks as you walk.
  • Four Mile Beach (QLD): The sea is turquoise, the sun is warm, the palms sway, and the low-rise hotels starting to line this country beach in Port Douglas can't spoil the feeling that it is a million miles from anywhere. But isn't there always a serpent in paradise? In this case, the "serpents" are north Queensland's seasonal potentially deadly marine stingers. Come from June through September to avoid them, or confine your swimming to the stinger net the rest of the year.
  • Mission Beach (QLD): Azure water, islands dotting the horizon, and white sand edged by vine forests make this beach a real winner. Although battered by Cyclone Yasi in early 2011, Mission Beach's natural beauty still wins through, and the bonus is that it's far from the crowds. Cassowaries (giant emu-like birds) hide in the rainforest, and the tiny township is almost invisible behind the leaves. Visit from June through September to avoid marine stingers.
  • Mission Beach (QLD): Azure water, islands dotting the horizon, and white sand edged by vine forests make this beach a real winner. The bonus is that hardly anyone comes here. Cassowaries (giant emulike birds) hide in the rainforest, and the tiny town of Mission Beach makes itself invisible behind the leaves. Visit from June through September to avoid marine stingers.
  • Whitehaven Beach (QLD): It's not a surf beach, but this 6km (3 3/4-mile) stretch of white silica sand on uninhabited Whitsunday Island is pristine and peaceful. Bring a book, curl up under the rainforest lining its edge, and fantasize that the cruise boat is going to leave without you.
  • Surfers Paradise Beach (QLD): Actually, all 35 of the beaches on the 30km (19-mile) Gold Coast strip in south Queensland are worthy of inclusion here. Every one has sand so clean that it squeaks, great surf, and fresh breezes -- turn your back on the tacky high-rises. Surfers will like Burleigh Heads.
  • Cable Beach (WA): Is it the South Sea pearls pulled out of the Indian Ocean, the camels loping along the sand, the sunsets, the surf, or the red earth meeting the green sea that gives this Broome beach its exotic appeal? Maybe it's the 26km (16 miles) of white sand. The only recommended time to swim here is May through September, when marine stingers are largely absent.
  • Cottesloe Beach (WA): Perth has 19 great beaches, but this petite crescent is the prettiest. After you've checked out the scene, join the fashionable set for brunch in the Indiana Tea House, a mock-Edwardian bathhouse fronting the sea. Surfers head to Scarborough and Trigg.
  • Wineglass Bay (TAS): This spectacular crescent of pristine beach in Freycinet National Park regularly makes lists of the world's top beaches. Find out why.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.