Beach Breaks: Lesser Known Stretches Of Sand

23 March 2016

Beach breaks are often Aussies' go-to getaway. Laidback vibes, glossy rolling waves and white sandy shores; our love affair with the beach knows no bounds. But if you're looking for a slice of paradise that's all your own, there's no need to discount the popular holiday hotspots. You need only swap like for like outside the tourist hubs to find something new to write home about.

Vanuatu

Swap Efate for Tanna

Travel Inspiration From sparkling coves to an active volcano, Tanna has it all

While there's much to see and do on the main island of Efate, there are also another 79 isles begging for your attention. From technicolour snorkelling spots to ancient marvels, Tanna has all the makings for the quintessential island getaway without the Port Vila crowds. The island is home to Mount Yasur, widely considered as one of the world's most accessible (and active) volcanoes – you'll reached the crater rim in an easy 10-minute walk. Once conquered, you can immerse yourself in a local culture largely unaffected by Western influences.

Mauritius

Swap your resort for a southern sojourn

Travel Inspiration Enjoy sandy stretches like this all to your own!

Of course, a drop and flop holiday comes easily at the many oceanfront resorts of Mauritius, but you shouldn't spend all your time at the pool bar. If you don't want to stray too far from beachfront bliss, head to the south east. Here you can discover quieter beaches, along with a bounty of historical sites to break up sunbathing sessions. If you're into wildlife, visit Ille Aux Aigrettes, a park filled with endangered species, such as pink pigeons and Alabra giant tortoises.

Thailand

Swap Phuket for Koh Chang

Travel Inspiration Koh Chang; like Phuket, but without the crowds

Trat province on the Andaman coast has islands aplenty. 52, to be exact, Koh Chang is the second largest Thai island after Phuket, and retains a mostly remote feel, despite attempts to transform it into to the next holiday hub. Sweeping bays offer a mix of white sand and pebble beaches, which enclose lush rainforests and underwater treasures. Enjoy the ruggedness of the island, or use Koh Chang as a launch pad for further explorations in Mu Ko Chang National Marine Park.


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Bali

Swap Seminyak for Lovina

Travel Inspiration Try Lovina instead for a dose of sun, surf, sand (and spas!)

Often overlooked, northern Bali – specifically Lovina – has much to offer those seeking sun, surf and sand. Lovina is a nature lover's paradise, where you can do everything from dolphin watching to scuba diving at Puri Jati. Out of the ocean, you can indulge in day spa treatments; savour island fare at atmospheric eateries; or simply while away your days in your own private pool at luxe escape, The Damai.

Fiji

Swap Denarau for the Yasawas

Travel Inspiration Drop anchor in the Yasawas  for epic snorkelling

Here's a fun fact: Denarau isn't a 'real' island. Well, at least part of it was man made to accommodate the Denarau Golf and Racquet Club. For the 'real' Fiji, head south to the Yasawas. You won't find any banks or shops, but instead, grass-covered peaks, porcelain beaches and only a sprinkling of accommodation options. With snorkelling, sailing and swimming opportunities galore, the Yasawas are perfect for backpackers and luxury seekers alike.

Hawaii

Swap Oahu for Molokai

Travel Inspiration Ecotourists: Molokai is calling

Seeking breathtaking beauty and adventure pursuits and prepared to sacrifice the modern 5-star comforts commonly found across Oahu for it? The island of Molokai has been largely untouched by tourism developments and many consider it as an island frozen in time. There are only 8,000 residents, no traffic lights and buildings can't be taller than a coconut palm tree. You can also send yourself a coconut in the mail – it's called 'Post-A-Nut'. Oh, and Paphaku Beach (Hawaii's longest) will probably only have your footprints left on it.

Cook Islands

Swap Rarotonga for Mitiaro

Travel Inspiration Do your bit for the environment by planting a tree in Mitiaro

Mitiaro is where you can live out all your Robinson Crusoe fantasies. Never mind luxury resorts, enjoy the serenity of an island with just 180 residents. Ecotourists rejoice! Homestays are the only accommodation option here, which wholly benefits the local community, and visitors are encouraged to plant a tree during their visit. Mitiaro is also renowned for its subterranean limestone pools, a unique alternative to the many lagoons found elsewhere in the Cook Islands.


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Anna Howard

Give me street food over Michelin stars, cellar doors over wine bars and small towns and wide open spaces over big cities any day. Travel for me means ticking off the 'to eat and drink' list one regional flavour and wine bottle at a time.