Australia is the biggest island in the world and when it comes to great beaches, we’re pretty lucky … or are we?
These strange beaches around the world touch on the bold, the bizarre and the beautiful – and all are easily findable on your travels!
Where: Near Esperanza, Puerto Rico
When you see this beach, you’ll be forever grateful for bioluminescence. These glow-in-the-dark phytoplankton frequently line the beaches of Mosquito Bay in Puerto Rico – and the effect is so common that the beach has been named ‘Bio Bay.’ You’ll find a similar bio beach in the Maldives, too.
Where: MacKerricher State Park, US
If you’re up on the northern coast of California, a stop by Glass Beach is a must. These colourful shores, which are lined with pebbles of glass, have eventuated thanks to the tonnes of rubbish that was dumped into the ocean from around 1906 to 1967. Note, however, that if you do choose to visit Glass Beach, you’re not allowed to remove any of the glass.
Where: Just north of Liverpool, UK
Who’s that out there in the water? Despite the fact that they look hauntingly real, the 100 inhabitants of this beach are the famed cast iron sculptures of Another Place by artist Antony Gormley. For safety reasons, no swimming at this beach is allowed, so you’ll have to be content with viewing this beach and its artwork from the shore.
Where: Exuma, the Bahamas
Could this truly be a utopian version of Orwell’s Animal Farm? Pig Beach is rife with wild pigs that love to swim and frolic in the ocean – and as you can imagine, they attract plenty of tourists. No one knows how the pigs actually got there, but even so, there are lots of boat tours that can take you out to this pig-tastic island beach.
Where: Marieta Islands, Mexico
Its official name is Playa Del Amor, but mostly, it goes by ‘Hidden Beach.’ Set on the islands off Puerto Vallarta, Hidden Beach was once a place where the Mexican Government tested their military bombs (and rumour has it that a bomb may have even led to the formation of this beach). Today, the island is test-free, uninhabited, and one of the most gorgeous places to visit in the archipelago.
Where: Vik, Iceland
Located in the southernmost village of Vik, this beach consists of black basalt sand due to the volcanic ash and lava characteristic of Iceland. Steep, surrounding cliffs, the opportunity to see puffins, angry ocean waves (swimming is not recommended) and magnificent coastal views all make a visit to this beach worthwhile.
Where: Llanes, Asturias, Spain
Ever heard of a beach that’s not on the coast? Playa de Gulpiyuri, as it is formally called, is a strange inland beach set around 100 metres inland from the ocean, but with real sand, real waves and real tides. The beach is actually a sinkhole that’s connected to the ocean by a series of underground caves. You’ll find this neat little beach on the northern coast of Spain.
Green Sand Beach
Where: Near South Point, Hawaii
There are only four green sand beaches in the world and this one in Hawaii – which is officially known as Papakōlea Beach or Mahana Beach – is one of them. The green sand here is caused by the mineral olivine, which exists in the volcanic cinder cone around it.
Hot Water Beach
Where: North Island, New Zealand
Forget swimming! How about a spa instead? You’ll find Hot Water Beach just up from Pumpkin Hill and down from Mercury Bay, on the north-eastern coast of New Zealand’s North Island.
Why go here? At this popular beach, you can dig your own spa hole right next to the Pacific Ocean and bask in the hot spring waters that rest under the sand! Hiring a shovel is a good idea and you’ll need to dig your spa within two hours either side of the low tide.