We stayed at Onetangi beach on Waiheke Island for a week in late March, just before the Jazz festival and schools broke for Easter. The beach was deserted and the water was warm. Onetangi Beachfront Apartments were really nice and right on the beach.
Waiheke Island is half an hour on the ferry into the Hauraki Gulf. Fuller Ferries operate a regular service from Auckland's harbourfront;
Mission Bay, St Heliers and Kohimarama are all lovely beaches to swim in, only 10 mins from central Auckland with loads of cafes to relax in afterwards.
Avoid swimming immediately after rain, but these beaches plus the North Shore's Milford and Narrowneck are world class beaches which have nice clean, warm water and golden sand.
Sydney's biggest and most spectacuar city beach is admittedly a 'must see' for many visitors to the city. However, Bondi Beach occupies a huge space and you can avoid the crowds of lobster-red tourists by heading for the quieter north end of the beach, where the locals go. Catch Bus number 380 from Circular Quay, and hop off at the top of Campbell Parade and walk down, taking in some of Sydney's most spectacular beach views as you go.
Bondi Beach, Campbell Parade, Bus 380 from Circular Quay and other stops along the way.
Beware the fierce undertow and crashing surf that can sneak up on you on Copacabana and Ipanema (not to mention beaches farther afield). You really have to watch your footing and pay attention to the lifeguard's flags that indicate when it's safe to go for a dip, or you'll find yourself battling for your life thanks to the steep dropoff and strong rip tides!
One of the most beautiful beaches in England, I think - a perfect, tiny cove, wonderful for swimming, and a little shack selling Cornish pasties and ice cream further up the hill.
Also, an interesting history to the location as the first underwater cables across the Atlantic were laid here and the little cabin where all the cables came above ground is still visible half-way up the cliff.
I stayed in the nearby village of Treen and walked to Porthcurno along the cliff path - a completely magical day.
The whole area of Cornwall west of Penzance is simply beautiful, and many other lovely places to visit - Lamorna Cove, St Just, Sennen Cove, Mousehole, but nowhere has stayed in my heart quite as much as Porthcurno and Treen.
As a true Blue Jackeen (native of Dublin) I love Dublin, but the one thing I always tell visitors (the term "tourist" is very rarely used in Ireland) is by all means enjoy a day and maybe one night in Dublin, have a pint or two in one of the last few remaining decent tradtional pubs (Kehoes, Toners, Dohney & Nesbitts etc) but after that get out of Dublin and head west. Nothing will prepare you for Connemara. The spectacular scenery, the friendly locals, the great pubs and traditional music, fantastic beaches and just a general feeling of being away from it all out on the farthest tip of Western Europe you can get to.
From Galway head for Clifden but make sure to take the road through the Inagh Valley. Spectacular 360 degree walled valley with the beautiful Lake Inagh running through it.
If you have time, take a trip out to Inisboffin Island for a day, wild and unspoilt with two bars and about 80 local residents and a former hideout of the 16th century great Irish Pirate Queen herself Grace O'Malley.
A blue flag beach of nearly two miles of sand and dunes. You can ape Chariots of Fire and go for a run (the opening scene was filmed here) or just have a leisurely walk. Kite flyers are in abundance on windy days, at the point where the beach curves, near the estuary of the River Eden.
Bring your own bucket and spade, however; there's a merciful shortage of tacky beach shops.
The best place in North America to grab an all-over tan and partake in Amsterdam-style smoking.
Trail 6 from the University of British Columbia. Ask anybody how to get there. Locals, police, politicians, artists and visiting Americans all know how to get there.
The most beautiful beach in HK, if not in Asia. Unfortunately, like most good things you have to put in some effort to get there, but once there, you will be glad you did. This is a real rural beach - no buildings to spoil the views and the mountains rolling into the sea. It is great for surfing, but a bit of a hike with the surf-board, but beware of the strong rip-tide (drownings have been common in the past). This is really where the hardy come to enjoy - many people camp out near the beach at weekends, although if you go mid-week you will probably have the place to yourself. Well, you and the wild cows!!
Take the MTR to Choi Hung; then the bus to Wong Shek Pier (only at weekends, weekdays take the bus to Sai Kung and then a taxi to Wong Shek pier), then a little out-board motor boat to the start of the walking trail; from there it's a 45 minute hike over the hill. The path is concreted, so is not too bad. Check out www.hkoutdoors.com/new-territories/tai-long-wan-sai-kung.html
Symi is amazing, however it's overrun by day trips from Rhodes - between 11 and 4 every day.
Luckily, they seldom leave the harbour, so if you catch a water taxi to one of five adjacent beaches (with tavernas) in the morning, and return in the evening, you'd never know they had been.
Agios Marina is the best for swimming and food, but it’s not as quiet as some of the others, which may or may not be a good thing.
On return to the harbour, sit for an hour outside Oranges & Lemons and watch the ridiculously expensive looking yachts return. The harbour's busy then, but in a good way. Easily the best part of the day.
The harbour's tiny and the taxi boats are obvious.
Oranges & Lemons is on the Old Town side, opposite the clock tower (where the Catamaran is often moored).
Perhaps best known as the location for the TV soap "Home and Away", Palm Beach, an hour and a half's bus ride from the city centre offers stunningly beautiful scenery. Pastel yellow soft sand, surrounded by high cliff tops and the deep blue Tasman Sea.
Hour-and-a-half bus ride from the bus station outside Sydney Central Station.
Nice was far too expensive, and I refuse to be ripped off. So instead of going to the clubs, we went to the beach. Busy with young Italians predominantly; the place is buzzing.
Buy a beer from the guys strolling along with coolboxes ... they sell more than just beer. Chill out and watch the skinny-dippers taking on the sea.
This became a nightly thing to do for us. And the highlight of the night: the ferry coming into port every 11pm. Watch, smile and say nothing as the big waves clear the front of the beach quick-smart. Classy.
I am not sure if it's actually illegal but it's certainly frowned upon. You can wear what you like, as small as you like, as long as there is something there preserving your modesty, even if very little is left to the imagination. As I understood, from good carioca (people from Rio) friends, it's very 'low class' to be topless and have a 100% tan. That's something for the ladies of the night...
Tucked into a secluded corner of beautiful Parasporos beach, is a rare treat. A restaurant serving top quality international and Greek dishes sourced entirely from local produce. The menu changes seemingly daily, (at least it did every time we visited), so there is always something for even the most jaded of palates, and with the wide selection of beers and wines it's easy to spend the whole afternoon eating, whilst drinking in the view of the sea as it laps at the edge of the beach, mere feet away.
Shirley Valentine would love it!
To the side of the big beach bar at the northern end of Parasporos Beach approx 2km from Parikia.
Either go by foot along the road to the airport and take the turning for Delphini beach, and keep going alomg the track for another 500m or so, or take a cab (about 5 euro from Parikia)
Best beach in the north-west. Make sure you check for a low tide or call the Wirral Ranger service.
Set out from the marina from West Kirkby towards Big Eye (a small island off the coast) - wellies or bare feet best, and then walk towards Little Eye. On arrival is a small beach that is almost always sheltered from the wind, with caves and beautiful sandstone rocks.
It is the ideal place for a picnic and little children can play here for hours - just remember to leave on time before the high tide arrives! Of course you can always saunter on to Hilbre and look at birds, seals and the lifeboat station. A great day out for the kids!
You can walk from West Kirkby Merseyrail station to the marina, where you will see the three islands out in the Dee estuary. Just make sure to walk to Big Eye first rather than towards Hilbre, thereby avoiding any deep water. The picnic can always be picked up at the supermarket next to the marina as well!
On the coast south of Edinburgh, the beaches of East Lothian are wonderful. Choose from Aberlady Nature Reserve (bird watching), Gullane (also good for golf), Yellowcraigs, Tyninghame and the John Muir Country Park at Dunbar. Lovely dunes, yellow sand, interesting bird life and lovely small villages and towns with excellent coffee shops and home baking!
The main East coast rail line runs through East Lothian.
While in Auckland city:
If you'd like to see some beautiful old villas wonder in the suburbs of Herne Bay, Ponsonby, Grey Lynn, Parnell and Mt. Eden. All these places offer a great mix of clothes' shops and cafes especially Ponsonby Road and Jervois Road.
If it's a fine day, get on the ferry to Waiheke island [only takes 20 minutes], and visit some of the famous vineyards [Stoneridge is one of my favourites]. Have lunch at spectacular Te Whau restaurant.
On a weekend, head North of Auckland and visit Warkworth, Matakana and Leigh. There is a farmers' market in Matakana on Saturday mornings from 8am - 1pm and plenty of small vineyards producing excellent wine. Stop and eat at the Sawmill Cafe in Leigh and burn it all off afterwards with a long walk on breathtakingly beautiful Pakiri beach.
Newport is a small town. There is a beautiful sandy beach and a lovely stony beach with magnificent views and rock pools with fascinating insects in them. If you dont feel like swimming at either of the beaches then you can take a walk and collect unique shells and stones. There are lovely places to stay in Newport. I hope it will burrow deep into your memory forever afterwards. Enjoy your stay!
Newport, Pembrokeshire, Wales
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