In search of a special beach
Top spot: Turquoise Bay.

Every summer, hundreds of thousands of people swarm to WA's famous beaches to escape the heat.

Scarborough. Cottesloe. Cable Beach. Locals love them. Visitors love them.

According to the Tourism WA website, West Australians are not known for their modesty when it comes to discussing beaches.

"Naturally, WA has the world's best beaches - and you wouldn't want to argue with the occupiers of Australia's biggest State, most of whom live by the coast," it says.

"Indeed, it would be rare to find a beach in WA that does not excite all the senses.

"In the capital of Perth alone, there are 19 pristine beaches that never seem overcrowded - even on a busy summer's day with the mercury hovering in the mid-30s.

"Spoilt for choice, surfers and sun lovers weigh up the attractions of the best surf break versus the best swimming areas. Or a seafront restaurant against ease of parking for a quick swim after work."

Beautiful beaches abound along most of WA's 12,000km of coastline. But there are many hidden bathing gems . . . beach havens that are tranquil, safe and - best of all - often unheard of.

The Weekend West has found 10, including one that lies inland.


Castle Rock, Dunsborough

While tourists at Dunsborough's Meelup beach battle for a parking space, a handful of locals take a little-known turn-off towards Castle Rock. With its glassy waters and white sand, it has all the appeal of its popular neighbour, but is far more secluded and peaceful. Lovely for a quiet day with a book or a romantic picnic.


Grannys Pool, Augusta

When the rest of the South West is blowing a gale, you can be sure Grannys Pool is safe. No more than waist-deep and surrounded by rocks and reef, it is sheltered, secluded and loved by families and the elderly stalwarts after whom it may have been named.

Greens Pool, Denmark

Greens Pool, Denmark

When swimming in Greens Pool in William Bay National Park, you can see the Southern Ocean beyond and be sheltered from it. It is beautiful, with smooth rocks and rock pools. On a calm summer's day you can swim, as if in a man-made pool, dry yourself on a rock and swim again. People of all swimming strengths and ages can feel safe. The boulders also make the beach visually stunning and give it a different look compared with Perth beaches, where we see a vast ocean.

Hellfire Bay, Esperance

Hellfire Bay, Esperance

About 60km east of Esperance in Cape Le Grand National Park. It has blindingly white sand, so fine it squeaks underfoot and clear turquoise water. Its isolation is half its beauty. If it were more accessible it would be populated by beach cabanas and ice-cream vendors. As it is, most days you have the beach to yourself.

Mettam's Pool, Waterman

Mettams Pool, Waterman

It is not only the perfect spot for a swim but it is a great place to snorkel. The best thing about Mettams Pool is how clear and still the water is. It feels like you are swimming in a pool - only 100 times more appealing.


North Beach

North Beach's big downside is its lack of parking. But for locals, its shoreline, protected bay and crystal blue waters are magic. There are reefs at either end and a nearby fishing platform, so you can check out what's biting.


Mullaloo beach, north of Hillarys Yacht Club

A series of white, sandy beaches that during the week, you have almost entirely to yourself. Great for relaxing with a book, long walks, kayak paddles and watching horses exercise in the surf.


Turquoise Bay, Exmouth

On the edge of the Ningaloo Reef. The water is so clean you can see every grain of sand on the ocean floor, which slopes gently so that 30m offshore the water is still less than 2m deep. It is a wondrous place for snorkelling with a current that will carry you 400m over the reef before bringing you safely back to the beach. The water is warm and the beach has pristine white sand. But be warned - there is no drinking water, so bring your own.


Yanchep Lagoon

A unique translucent jewel just 45 minutes from Perth. The southern section is a shallow, child-swimmer-friendly formation that drains into the deeper northern pool. Protected from the open ocean by a reef wall, it is dead calm when the summer easterly prevails and still protected when the rougher afternoon sou'wester sets in. Spangled in sunlight, the lagoon turns jade and turquoise as the sun passes, the cloudless sky steep and violet. Patrolled all summer by lifesavers, it's a family paradise. The nearby cafe has a cuppa with a million-dollar Indian Ocean vista.

Big Brook Dam, Manjimup

Big Brook Dam, Manjimup

It's not easy to find but once you make your way through the labyrinth of unsealed roads this magical place is an oasis among the trees - especially on a searing, deep-south summer's day. Just like a real beach there is sand and half-naked folk, but there are no dumping waves, no stingy salt and no sharp-jawed beasties (unless you count trout and marron). The bracing, fresh water is surrounded by majestic karri trees and the birdsong is a beautiful soundtrack to a shady picnic - it's arguably more beautiful than any coastal beach.

The West Australian

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