There's just something about the beach. It's had a hold on us ever since the first Australians pitched up on our sun-kissed coastal shores.
The surging tides; the sound of crashing waves; the sting of salt water on the tips of our tongues; these are the symbols of summer on coastlines across Australia.
And when the winter chill rolls around, many of us head straight for warmer climes.
Sunny island getaways like the Cook Islands are just a hop, skip and a jump from Australian shores and promise year-round warmth when the temperature s drop back home.
I'm yet to visit the Cook Islands – a destination high on my bucket list – but I have enjoyed plenty of beach breaks in my time.
As a child growing up in the suburbs of Sydney, my Dad would pile my sisters and I into the back of his beloved Ford Falcon en route to far-flung destinations like Nelson Bay and Forster-Tuncurry. Mum's job was to keep us entertained. Dad's job was not to miss the exit. They didn't always succeed on either front.
Yet the thrill of swapping the suburbs for two weeks at the beach remains a vivid and pleasant memory. Just what is it about the lure of sand and surf that holds us in its sway?
These days I take every chance I can get to spend some time in Byron Bay. Just a two-hour drive from Brisbane, it's the perfect place for a relaxing beach break holiday.
With its curving stretch of Main Beach, its sheltered bays and surf beaches and its easy-going vibe, this one-time hippie hangout is my go-to retreat when it comes to getting away for a long weekend.
If I'm not sprawled out on an oversized towel in Byron Bay, I love to head north to the Sunshine Coast and the boutique holiday getaway of Noosa. Boasting a well-sheltered beach and plenty of golden sand to stretch out on, Noosa is also home to some of Queensland's finest dining and shopping.
In fact, this top-end tourist town is one of Queensland's most popular destinations, with holidaymakers happy to stay anywhere from the humble caravan park to the upscale Seahaven Noosa Resort.
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Sometimes the allure of an overseas holiday proves irresistible. That's probably why I've pitched up on plenty of exotic beaches in my time; from the islands of Langkawi to the volcanic sands of the Shonan coastline on the outskirts of Tokyo.
I'd love to one day visit Hawaii – that cluster of eight major islands perched out in the Pacific and renowned for the high quality of its picturesque soft sand beaches.
If a trip to America's 50th State isn't on the cards, perhaps a holiday in one of the South Pacific paradises of Fiji or Vanuatu should be? Both are easily accessible, both are family-friendly and both are home to some of the most pristine beaches this side of the Pacific.
What's more, they're both great places to indulge in some 5-star luxury at affordable prices, making Fiji and Vanuatu ideal destinations for a relaxing family holiday.
Closer to home, Bali and the Gili Islands are as alluring as ever, with the resorts of Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air beckoning holidaymakers with their unspoiled beauty and exotic location off the coast of Lombok.
Equally enticing are the twin Thai hotspots of Phuket and Koh Samui. While the former has a well-deserved reputation as a party paradise, the latter is where plenty of Australian holidaymakers choose to get away from it all.
For a different kind of beach break entirely, why not head to Vietnam? It may be one of Asia's best-kept beach secrets, yet the stunning azure waters and soft white sand stretches of Nha Trang and Mui Ne ensure this fascinating nation won't be overlooked by sun-lovers forever.
The beauty of a beach holiday is that wherever you decide to roll out your swimming towel and thrust your colourful umbrella down into the sand, every destination is different.
With beach holidays a quintessential part of the Australian experience, perhaps it's time to exercise your patriotic duty and indulge in a beach break getaway today. After all, if the world is your oyster, it's only natural you should end up on some sun-kissed saltwater sands.