Cape Schanck , Mornington Peninsula, Victoria © Mornington Peninsula Regional Tourism
Chris Hemsworth’s top 5 Australian beaches
Chris Hemsworth recalls a childhood spent surfing the waves at Phillip Island and more recent days enjoying the crystal clear waters of Byron Bay with his family.
Across Australia's expansive beaches, secluded bays, sheltered reefs and revered surf spots you will find some of the most memorable coastal experiences in the world. Chris Hemsworth shares a few of his favourite beach holiday destinations.
"[Australia’s] beaches are so pristine. We have some of the whitest sand, the bluest water. Our air is unpolluted and people feel free in Australia. It’s a place to relax. Feel the sand between your toes and get as close to nature as you can."
Cape Woolamai, Phillip Island
"One of my favourite spots to surf. I spent a lot of my childhood there and have great memories growing up with my brothers." – Chris Hemsworth
Cape Woolamai is Phillip Island’s highest point and is heralded as one the best spots to catch a wave in Victoria. Located 90 minutes out of Melbourne, Cape Woolamai is the perfect place to either start your Phillip Island adventure or simply visit for a day.
When you're not surfing at some of Australia's best surf beaches, get the ultimate view of the island's rocky pinnacles, the Cape Woolamai Lighthouse, Swan Lake and Pyramid Rock along a coastal walking track. As the sun goes down, you won't want to miss the Penguin Parade on Summerland Beach.
Cape Schanck, Mornington Peninsula
"(I love Cape Schanck) for its raw and rugged coastline, paired with some of the most incredible bush walks you'll ever experience." – Chris Hemsworth
Cape Schanck is located at the southern tip of the Mornington Peninsula, just over a one-hour drive from Melbourne. The cape fronts onto the waters of the Bass Strait, and sitting atop the rocky point is the Cape Schanck lighthouse. Here, there is a variety of scenic walks, from a short loop of the lighthouse reserve to a 26km (16mi) long trail through the Mornington Peninsula.
The nearest seasonally-patrolled surf beach is Fingal Beach, a beautiful stretch of sand right along the coast leading to Gunnamatta Beach. Soak up the best of Cape Schanck as you spend the afternoon relaxing in the natural thermal mineral springs of Peninsula Hot Springs or if you're feeling active, take a scenic walk through the Mornington Peninsula National Park.
Julian Rocks, Byron Bay
"It's a protected marine park so there's an abundance of sea life for divers to experience." – Chris Hemsworth
Byron Bay, reached via a 1.5-hour flight from Sydney, abounds in natural beauty, some of which is hidden below the water's surface.
Julian Rocks is situated 2.5km (1.5mi) off Byron Bay's shoreline, and is one of Australia's most unique marine reserves. Remains of a 20 million-year-old volcanic eruption offer shelter and food for more than 500 species of fish, making diving at Julian Rocks one of Byron Bay's biggest highlights.
Join a diving experience to see turtles, blue-lined octopuses, schools of white spotted eagle rays and an array of tropical fish, as well as the grey nurse sharks and leopard sharks that often pay the rocks a visit, or rent kayaks from Cape Byron Kayaks and try to spot dolphins, turtles and whales.
Currumbin Alley, Gold Coast
"Perfect for families, it's where a waist deep, crystal clear coastal estuary meets the ocean. This beach is kid heaven." – Chris Hemsworth
The Gold Coast is renowned for its sun-drenched surf beaches, and if you like to catch a wave, you've really hit the jackpot. Situated a little further down the coast near the New South Wales border, Coolangatta Beach is a go-to for surfers who want to ride a few powerhouse waves.
For non-surfers, the safest area for a swim is at Currumbin Creek Estuary, which flows out on the north side of the point. It offers calm conditions in the inlet and low waves out toward the point.
Mallacoota, Croajingolong National Park
"This place is responsible for my love of the ocean. I camped here every Christmas with my family and it has everything; white sandy beaches, crystal clear water, great surf and an abundance of wildlife.” –Chris Hemsworth
Mallacoota is a pretty coastal town located six hours out of Melbourne in the far southeastern corner of Australia. Mallacoota's secluded beaches are surrounded by the 87,500ha (216,217ac) Croajingolong National Park, making it the perfect quiet escape from the city.
You'll find wildlife (especially koalas and kangaroos) in abundance. Whales and dolphins can be seen along the coast, and you can hire a boat or kayak and journey up the Genoa or Wallagaraugh rivers to Gipsy Point to picnic with kangaroos. Gabo Island (just offshore from Mallacoota) is also home to one of the world's largest known colonies of penguins.