06/05/2011 09:21 am ET | Updated Aug 05, 2011

Australia's Best Beaches (PHOTOS)

Nothing like chilling on an Australian beach. The island continent is ringed by a shoreline that is in turns sheltering and forbidding, bordered by both desert and forest. There is something for everyone, but few people around.

The sheer size of Australia, along with its low population density, allows this sunburnt country to be a mecca for beach bums without losing its off the edge of the map appeal. If that wasn't impetus enough, the coldest months always provide Americans with incentive to cross the equator in search of summer sunshine.

Australia is far away, but travelers have numerous options. Flights from San Francisco, Los Angeles and Dallas all fly into Sydney, the country's biggest travel hub.

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