The supposed top ten beaches in the South Pacific

Online travel website is in the process of releasing its Travellers’ Choice 2011 Awards, as reviewed by its members.  The results are interesting, but are probably a better reflection of where TripAdvisor’s members have stayed rather than a true reflection of what are, genuinely, the South Pacific’s best beaches.

In fact, even the category “best beaches” is a misnomer as many of the winners are not even beaches, and one isn’t even located in the South Pacific.  Of the ten “best beaches” eight are located in Australia.  I’m Australian and I was fortunate to have grown up near the beach, and I do love beaches, but even I wouldn’t say that 8 out of 10 best beaches in the whole of the South Pacific are located in Australia.  In fact, out of the eight that have made the list, two of Australia’s best beaches, Wineglass Bay in Tasmania and Lucky Bay near Esperance, Western Australia don’t even make the cut – and the reason for that is because they are a bit remote, so don’t get a lot of tourist traffic, which is why they are still superb beaches.

According to TripAdvisor the best beaches in the South Pacific (counting down to the best) are:

10           Mooloolaba, on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland – nice beach that is popular because of all the tourist development nearby, but I wouldn’t have thought it was in the top ten for the whole South Pacific (which suggests that the beaches in Fiji, New Zealand, Vanuatu, Samoa, etc are rubbish, which is simply not true).

9              Sydney – Sydney is not a beach!  It does have some very fine beaches and certainly Bondi, Coogee and Manly all get a mention but, as is usual when rating Sydney’s beaches, the really good harbour beaches, such as Balmoral, never rate a mention

8              Broadbeach, on the Gold Coast.  It’s a good beach suburb.  The beach itself is no different from any other Gold Coast beach, but it does have very good shopping, restaurants and cafes nearby and quite a good Sunday market every few weeks.

7              Broome, Western Australia.  Broome isn’t a beach either, although it does have some good beaches nearby, particularly Cable Beach which is definitely one of Australia’s best beaches.  One problem though,     Broome is not in the South Pacific, it is located on the Indian Ocean – so it shouldn’t qualify for this particular award.

6              Port Douglas in Queensland.  The Port Douglas area in Far North Queensland is fantastic but, to be honest, its beach isn’t all that memorable.  People mainly go there for the resorts, so it probably would be         better off being nominated in the “best hotel pool” division, if there is one!

5              Surfers Paradise, Queensland.  I love Surfers Paradise as it is a fantastic place for a vacation.  In terms on good beaches, it is okay but the beach itself is nothing special.  It’s certainly no more special than             Broadbeach.  In fact, if you discard the look of the high rise buildings, you can’t even tell the difference between Surfers and Broadbeach, so why is one nominated at no.5 and the other at no.8?

4              Aitutaki in the Cook islands.  Hooray! Finally a beach that isn’t Australian! I haven’t been there yet, but TripAdvisor describes it thusly: “This small island encased in a triangular barrier reef boasts incredible      lagoons. Relax with an intimate picnic on the alabaster beach of one of Aitutaki’s minor islands, uninhabited and lined with swaying palm trees.” With a description like that I’m not going to argue against it.    

3              Noosa, Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia – they may have got this one right too.  Noosa is one of my favourite beaches in Australia so I can’t bring myself to support an argument against it.

2              Byron Bay, north coast of New South Wales – this is also a genuinely great beach that was discovered by surfers in the 1960s, then by hippies, now it’s quite an upmarket place.  It used to be the beach and great surf which attracted people to the Bay, but now it’s the whole lifestyle thing, and some vacationers may not even get to enjoy the great beach.

1              Bora Bora, French Polynesia.  How much better would Bora Bora be if it wasn’t called French Polynesia?  Surely the days of European colonialism are long past?  Give it back to the Tahitians so that they can proudly proclaim ownership of Bora Bora’s magnificent beaches.

Please feel free to comment about this list or your own particular favourite South Pacific beaches.

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