Australia's best beach isn't Bondi, Whitehaven or Noosa
The tourist masses have got it wrong. Australia's best beach isn't Bondi, Surfers Paradise or Whitehaven.
The beach that's just been judged Australia's best is unknown to most Aussies, let alone overseas visitors.
Nudey Beach on Fitzroy Island in Tropical North Queensland is officially the nation's No.1.
That's the verdict from Australia's top beach expert, Brad Farmer, who has just released his annual 101 best Australian beaches list.
Before you get too excited and start stripping off for your visit to the new No.1, be warned: The name Nudey Beach isn't actually an invitation to bare all.
"The only thing stark-naked at Fitzroy Island's Nudey Beach is her offering of pure tropical assets," says Farmer.
"Sitting just off Cairns, it's a perfectly chilled island environment like few others, offering a truly great Barrier Reef immersion."
Perhaps the best thing about the beach is you don't have to be a luxury traveller to get there. Return ferry transfers to Fitzroy Island from Cairns cost $78 for adults, and Nudey Beach is just a short hike from Fitzroy Island Resort, which offers accommodation starting from $35 a night.
Farmer, who's spent more than 20 years studying Aussie beaches, spent the past seven months travelling thousands of kilometres around the Australian coastline to make the most up-to-date assessment for the 2018 list.
He says it's no surprise that his best beaches for 2018 are ones probably most have never heard of, given Australia has 11,761 to choose from.
This year's list focuses on new criteria, with the highest ranked beaches meeting the "triple A" rating of being affordable, accessible and authentically Australian.
"My new ranking reflects a real salt and sand approach, less scientific and stuffy," Farmer says.
And he says, these days, social media has emerged as one of the biggest influences in his beach selection.
"Social sharing is now an economic phenomenon, where people are travelling and exploring to experience real difference, either through their fingertips or literally on the road less travelled - something which my 2018 list reflects in buckets - and spades!"
Farmer has been supported in his quest to identify the nation's top beaches by Tourism Australia.
"Australia is fortunate enough to be spoiled for choice when it comes to truly world class beaches," Tourism Australia managing director John O'Sullivan says.
"Brad Farmer's 101 Best Beaches puts the spotlight on just one per cent of Australia's beaches but, ultimately, this is a list that celebrates our unique coastal lifestyle and with it every kilometre of the 50,000km which make up our country's spectacular coastline."
AUSTRALIA'S TOP BEACHES FOR 2018
1. Nudey Beach, Fitzroy Island, Queensland
2. Horrocks Beach, Western Australia
On WA's Coral Coast, north of Geraldton, Horrocks Beach "feels like a beach that time forgot, brimming with crays, countryside character - and salty old Aussie characters aplenty."
3. Dreamtime Beach, NSW
Just south of Coolangatta, Dreamtime Beach is "one of the nation's best sun-blessed stretches of undeveloped coast".
4. Cossies Beach, Cocos (Keeling) Islands
Named after Sir Peter Cosgrove, Cossies is the most remote beach on the list, but is "incomparable to any other Australian mainland or island beach".
5. Burleigh Heads, Queensland
"With its coastal-cosmo village atmosphere, a World Surfing Reserve and glorious national park (Burleigh Heads) is a genuine aquatic theme park requeiring no commercial entry tickets."
6. Seal Rocks, NSW
A few hours north of Sydney, Seal Rocks is described as a gem "where seals sunbake, surfers camp up and fishermen still winch their wooden boats ashore".
7. Bay of Fires, Tasmania
"This sublime coastal stretch fuses radiant white sands with clear aqua waters dotted with many large orange lichen granite forms, giving it a surreal feel."
8. Quobba - Red Bluff, WA
Another highlight of WA's Coral Coast, Red Bluff "is a rugged and rewarding discovery for those who like their beaches served 'secluded and simple'."
9. Dolly Beach, Christmas Island
"Sir David Attenborough loved it, so will any authentic traveller."
10. Second Valley, SA
South of Adelaide on the Fleurieu Peninsula, Second Valley boasts a "lost in time" seaside setting, and, "like so many beaches in South Australia, its sheer beauty is underrated nationally".