With summer just around the corner, this is a guide to the very best beach towns on Australia’s east coast. It is the fantastic Australian summertime ritual: packing up and heading to the coast. However, not all of coast cities are created equal, some are fab for households, or areas that party all night long; others are big on relaxation and low on action. Find the one which matches you with our handy guide to the finest beach cities along the east coast, just in time for summer.
Best for Twentysomethings: Sorrento, Victoria
Vibe: Do not be tricked by the heritage buildings. Sorrento offers a beach vacation with a buzz.
Attractions: Swim with all the fur seals at Chinamans Hat along with the dolphins in the bay. If you are feeling less active stroll the Sorrento-Portsea Artists Trail, go gallery hopping or cruise the shops along Ocean Beach Road. After dinner, catch a band playing at the local Sorrento Bar.
Best for Couples: Killcare, NSW
Vibe: Aside from the bustle, this forest-fringed escape is a good spot to indulge in good food, a place of shopping and some quality relaxation time.
Attractions: Take it slow on the walking paths through the Bouddi Peninsula national park, laze on the seven fairly beaches (which include Pretty Beach) or check out the fashion, art and homewares on display in stores such as Moochinside.
Best for Nature lovers: Kingscliff, NSW
Vibe: Golden beaches flanked by hinterland rainforest imply there’s always something new to explore.
Attractions: The walking track to Protestors Falls meanders past bangalow palms, buttress-rooted figs, maiden’s blush, elkhorns and staghorns. Serious hikers will want to handle the 4.4-kilometre scale up Mount Warning, while the Casuarina Sculpture Walk provides a pretty foreshore trail.
Best for foodies: Mooloolaba, Queensland
Vibe: Norfolk pines flank the long strip of shore covered with crunchy sand, but there’s plenty to tempt you away from the water.
Attractions: Action lovers adore the Sunshine Coast Kite Surfing Academy, children love Australia Zoo and food lovers are going to want to register for a few of the area’s excellent cooking classes. Try out The Long Apron at Spicers Clovelly or How to Cook Kitchen at Cotton Tree.
Best for do-it-yourselfers: Port Macquarie, NSW
Vibe: If you would rather catch your own dinner than dine out, Port Macquarie is the type of place. Try your hand at catching mud-crabs, or go fishing on a barbecue boat.
Attractions: Notice how many of the 165 species of wildlife and birds you can see at Kooloonbung Creek Nature Park, admire the indigenous blossoms at Kattang Nature Reserve’s Flower Bowl Circuit, or kayak through the mangroves.
Best for families: Torquay, Victoria
Vibe: Victoria’s surf capital is a hit with families that make the most of the water sports on offer, from swimming at the sheltered Front Beach to snorkelling at Point Danger (do not fear, it is far less scary than the name implies).
Attractions: After hanging out at the world-famous Bells Beach, surfers will want to check out the world’s biggest surf museum, Surfworld. Wannabes can begin at Go Ride a Wave surf school. If you prefer to keep on dry land get some earthbound exercise on among this area’s many golf courses.