08/15/2011 12:02 pm ET Updated Sep 20, 2011

Destin-Nation Australia: Beach Bonza Bummin' Down Under (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.

Cathay Pacific offers comfortable seats and the sorts of amenities that make the 7,500 mile flight over the Pacific less taxing. Another option is to fly into the north of the country through hubs in Asia, including Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. The country's roads are well-maintained and often scenic, making car rentals an attractive (if occasionally harrowing) option.

Nearly all of Australia's population centers are on its coasts, so visitors are rarely far from the shore. What every beach in Australia will have in common: Friendly locals and that feeling of being both far from from home and far from foreign.

Photo: roberypaulyoung/Flickr

Australian Beaches