Off The Beaten Track: 7 Queensland Beaches To Visit This Summer

© CC- BY 2.0 Leonard J via Flickr

Queensland has some of the best beaches in the country. With a coastline of almost 7,000 kilometers including The Great Barrier Reef, it is no wonder that this region is one of the favourite summer destinations in Oz.

However, you may have already been to these beaches, especially the popular ones like Palm Cove and Whitehaven Beach in Whitsundays Islands. If you’re searching for new places to spend the summer, here are seven hidden Queensland beaches that you should visit this season:

1. Dingo Beach, Whitsundays

Whitehaven is the star of the Whitsundays, but on the northern side of the island lies the serene stretch of Dingo Beach. The beach has a public boat ramp that allows access to the island’s best spots for snorkeling and big game fishing. Its waters have stinger net for the safety of swimmers, especially during summer.

Its beachfront is also pristine and quiet, which is better appreciated when one is cooking barbecue and just enjoying the view from its picnic tables under shady trees. There are also plenty of beachfront pubs and resorts where you can dine and enjoy a cold beverage.
This part of the Whitsundays can only be accessed by car. If you didn’t bring your own or rented, you can hire one along the outlets in Airlie Beach.

"08_dingo beach boating" by Allan Henderson available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/allanhenderson/4255835073 under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0. Full terms at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

CC_Attribution BY Allan Henderson

2. Orchid Beach, Fraser Island

Accessible only by a high-clearance 4-wheel drive vehicle, the northern-laid Orchid Beach is still worth the long journey. It has a peaceful atmosphere devoid of tour buses and day trippers in Fraser Island. The bay is also one of the best alternatives to  southern resort settlements. Children can safely swim in its low tide gutters and shallow lagoons.

Fishing and trekking are permitted on the island. There are also picnic tables, toilets, water and washing-up sinks. Fires are prohibited in Fraser Island’s Recreation Area with the exception of QPWS-provided fire rings in Waddy Point and Dundubara. Visitors are required to bring their own untreated timber mill-off cuts as firewood.

The Government of Queensland requires camping fees, camping permits and vehicle access permit fees to be paid before entering the island. Here is a guide on Fraser Island fees. You also need to check with your motorhome rental company, for regulations and safety information on driving 4WD vehicles on these remote beaches. 

3. Monkey Beach, Great Keppel Island

The Great Keppel Island is surrounded by 17 picture-perfect beaches and one of them is Monkey Beach. So, what makes this one different from the rest? In one spot you can find Aboriginal shell middens.

Monkey beach is also the island’s best reef snorkeling spots where you can enjoy its spectacular marine life. If you avail the Shotover cruise ($99 per person) you’ll be taken to the best spots to see manta rays, giant turtles, dugongs and hammerhead sharks.
To get to this stunning destination, ride a $55 boat trip from Rosslyn Bay, Pier 1. From the drop-off point, it only takes a short walk to reach Monkey Beach.

4. Cylinder Beach, North Stradbroke Island

“Straddie”, as the island is fondly called,  is known for its powder white sand and azure waters. Its main beach is also a haven for many surfers. However, if you want a tranquil ambiance simply head to the north facing part of the island and immerse  beauty of Cylinder Beach.

Its quiet waters are perfect as a paddling pool for families. Fishing and snorkeling are also allowed on the island. Lifeguards patrol the beach making it safe even for children to swim.

Carparks are also situated near the beach. It also has a shady camping ground where you can spend the night in tents. For cheap eats, make your way to Point Lookout Bowls which is less than 2-kilometers from Cylinder. Their barefoot-bowls are only $10 for adults and $3 for children.

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"Sraddie160102_ 011" by Brian Hurst available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/hurstb56/24115065616 under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0. Full terms at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0.

"Sraddie160102_ 011" by Brian Hurst available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/hurstb56/24115065616 under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0. Full terms at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0. BY Brian Hurst

5. Cape Hillsborough Beach, Mackay

The rock-strewn Cape Hillsborough Beach is about 20-kilometers north of Mackay. It is sandwiched between two rocky headlands which make it unknown to many, but in truth, it is still part of the Cape Hillsborough National Park. The nearby national park has numerous facilities like BBQ, car park, tour desk and conference rooms.

At low tide, the beachfront can get up to 200 metres wide. Walk on its 1.2-kilometre Yuibera trail to see Ulysses butterflies and a wide range of colourful birds and insects. During sunrise and sunset, you can interact with wallabies and kangaroos as they find food at the water’s edge.

6. Rainbow Beach, Fraser Coast

The shoreline of Rainbow Beach is like nature putting up a mosaic of its own.  Leached vegetable dyes and deposits of iron oxide from 400,000 years ago give the beach its multi-hued sand. You can also appreciate it’s nearby rainforest, freshwater lakes, and heathlands. Fraser Island is also known for dolphin watching, paragliding and skydiving activities.

Go to Carlo Sand Blow to take great photos and a chance to slide down using your boogie board. The sunset on this side is also majestic. Several tours also offer a wide range of activities including beach horse rides for $120 and 4WD expedition for $135 and up.

7. Radical Bay, Magnetic Island

For the adventurous beach hunter, Magnetic Island is a hidden gem worth visiting. The best spot, Radical Bay, is accessible only by foot or  4-wheel drive vehicle. The place is old-fashioned and does not have your usual bright lights and buildings. If you want to come here be prepared to bring an esky and some grub. In return, you will be rewarded with a memorable snorkeling and fishing experience.

Magnetic Island is also great for sunbathing. On average, it has 320 days of sunshine in a year. The nearby national park is also home to rock wallabies, koalas, possums and a variety of wildlife.

To reach Magnetic Island, you need to ride a 20-minute ferry from Townsville. The ferry service has 14-return trips daily. For cheap accommodations book at Foresthaven Tropical Resort which charges $80 per night for 1 bedroom.

Going  to these Queensland beaches will take some effort, especially if you plan on commuting to get there. Instead, you can rent a campervan or motorhome for a worry-free travel with your family. To get the best deals on these vehicles, visit Salamanda Travel’s price comparison tool today.


Before renting any 4wd vehicles, we recommend you carefully read the terms and conditions to check if you are allowed to drive the vehicle on your intended travel route, especially on rugged terrains.
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