Natalie Gruzlewski and Dermott Brereton were given the task of exploring Queensland
's beaches and there wasn't a complaint from either of them. The Queensland coast is just one long stretch of beach and sand so Natalie headed to Airlie Beach and Port Douglas and Dermott hit the Gold Coast
Okay, Natalie is a true-blue Queenslander, but she promised to give an unbiased overview, starting with telling us that Whitehaven might just be the best beach in the entire world. It did
win the Keep Australia Beautiful award for Queensland's Cleanest Beach, so she could be right.
Covering 7km of Whitsunday Island, Whitehaven Beach is pristine silica white sand, lapped by aqua water. At its northern end is Hill Inlet where the tide shifts the sand and water creating a wonderful fusion of colours. There are dozens of walking tracks but Hill Inlet is the most popular place for stunning views.
It can all be experienced a number of ways. The most popular is a day visit on anything that floats. Ferries and cruises run from Airlie Beach and nearby islands. There are no resorts and very limited camp sites.
Seaplanes and helicopters let you see its beauty from above.
Natalie joined an adventure with Ocean Rafting in one their three 11 metre semi-rigid inflatable vessels. They run full day adventure tours from Airlie Beach to the Whitsunday Islands. They are fast, furious and lots of fun, so hang on tight!
Four Mile Beach, Port Douglas
Further north is Four Mile Beach, a wide stretch of hard sand perfect for walking, jogging and cycling on. Fortunately there are stinger nets, which are a must between October and June. The best views are from Flagstaff Lookout, reached by a climb up steep stairs at the north end. It's worth the climb and you can take as long as you like to do it.
Five-star Coconut Grove Resort Apartments are a six-minute walk away. The 33 fully self-contained one-, two- and three-bedroom accommodation have barbecues, and penthouses have a plunge pool and spa. For a fun night a teppanyaki chef will prepare a meal in your accommodation. All that chopping, flipping and throwing is great fun and the end result is a very satisfying meal.
It wasn't an easy task for Dermott to pick one of the best beaches on the Gold Coast
. There are 21 of them. Main Beach at the northern end of 57km of beaches has clean, squeaky sand and comfortable water temperatures. And while it's around four minutes from the centre of Surfers Paradise, it has a community feel about it. It has all the good things without the Cavill Avenue lights and tourists.
Main Beach's main street, Tedder Avenue, is leafy and stylish with great boutiques and al fresco dining. It has a surf club and parkland for picnicking.
For shopping and other dining options, Marina Mirage is the place to go.
Adventure Duck is a land and water experience the whole family can enjoy. It travels along the roads of the Gold Coast, Surfers Paradise beachfront and the waterways offering a "splashtacular" ride of fun and excitement.
Nestled between Coolangatta and Tweed Heads Rainbow Bay has something for everybody. It is patrolled so safe for swimming in a semi-sheltered little cove.
Rainbow Bay and Snapper Rocks are home for professional surfers Mick Fanning and Stephanie Gilmore and the surf breaks attract keen boarders from all over.
Ocean Deck Restaurant & Bar at the Rainbow Bay Surf Life Saving Club is the number one spot for food and views. Open every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner it's a top place for starting and ending your day.
In the bay next door to Rainbow is Reflection on the Sea which takes holiday accommodation up a level. Stylish luxury appointments and furnishings, lots of glass and air-conditioned comfort welcome you to your two- or three-bedroom apartment or SkyHome.
There's a 25m heated lap pool, spa, gym, steam room, sauna, Zen garden, movie theatre, guest lounge and teppanyaki grill. They have thought of everything.
North Queensland and the Gold Coast
Ocean Rafting out of Airlie Beach costs $115 for adults, $75 for children and $345 for a family of two adults and two children. Pickup, snorkel instruction, reef and island naturalist talks, guided national park walk, snorkel floatation devices and equipment, and cake and tea or coffee are included.
Coconut Grove Resort Apartments in Port Douglas start at $162.50 per person a night for one-bedroom apartment, $108.75 per person in a two-bedroom apartment, $91 per person in a three-bedroom apartment. Penthouse rates start at $217 per person twin share, $136 per person quad share and $110 per person six share.
Reflection on the Sea in Coolangatta has one-bedroom accommodation starting at $189 a night with a three-night minimum stay; two bedrooms for $230 a night with a seven-nights minimum; three bedrooms for $285 with a seven-night minimum; a three-bedroom SkyHome is $370 a night for a seven-night minimum; and a three-bedroom executive SkyHome is $430 a night with a seven-night minimum.
Prices correct at May 21, 2009.
For further information
PO Box 106
Ph: (07) 4946 6848
Coconut Grove Resort
56 Macrossan Street
Port Douglas 4877
Ph: (07) 4099 0600
Fax: (07) 4099 0699
74 Seaworld Drive
Main Beach 4217
Ph: (07) 5555 6400
Fax: (07) 5555 6444
74 Seaworld Drive
Main Beach 4217
Ph: 07 5531 1201 or 1300 556 697
Fax: 1300 556 933
Ocean Deck Restaurant & Bar
Rainbow Bay Surf Life Saving Club
2 Snapper Rocks Road
Ph: (07) 5536 6390
Reflection on the Sea
120 Marine Parade
Ph: 1800 623 401
Fax: (07) 5536 7755