Australia is renown for its beaches and with a huge 37,000 km of coastline, it has more than any other country. A whopping 11,011 significant beaches to be exact. The coastline extends through a wide range of climates from tropical in the north to temperate in the south. Eighty percent of Australians live in a coastal strip that extends from Cairns down to Adelaide and inland for only 50 kilometres.
Highlights of the Australian coastline are to many to list here. Significant features include the Great Barrier Reef, Fraser Island, The Twelve Apostles, and Ningaloo Reef.
The Great Barrier Reef, is the largest reef on Earth extending for over 2000 km. This is about the same size of the USA's eastern coastline. The Barrier Reef is actually made up of approximately 3000 individual reefs and is a World Heritage Area as well as one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World. The reef encompasses nearly 1000 pristine tropical islands.
Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world and another World Heritage site. The island runs close to and parallel to the Queensland coast and is 144km long and between 25 to 50km wide. Sandhills rise nearly 240m in places and there are over 100 freshwater lakes. Some of these lakes are among the cleanest in the world and have pure white sand beaches. In addition to the lakes, there are pockets of rainforest that grow on top of sand.
The Twelve Apostles, are unusual rock formations which rise out of the ocean and stand up to 100m above sea level. They are located along Victoria's southern coastline in Port Campbell National Park.
Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia is a must see destinations for those who love scuba diving or snorkelling. Near the small town of Exmouth, this pristine reef though not as big as the Great Barrier, rivals it for coral quality and unusual fish species. It is also famous for the appearance of the enormous whale shark. Other creatures include manta rays, dugongs, and humpback whales.
Statistical breakdown of the Australian coastline in km.
Australia (total) 36,735km Western Australia 12,500km Queensland 7,400km Northern Territory 6,200km South Australia 3,700km Tasmania 3,200km New South Wales 1,900km Victoria 1,800km ACT (inc Jervis Bay) 35km