It’s official. Australia’s Best Beach for 2023 has been announced, and it’s right on our doorstep.
Stokes Bay on Kangaroo Island’s North Coast has taken out the coveted position after a visit by Australia’s official beach Ambassador, Brad Farmer AM in November last year.
Mr Farmer, who for over four decades has researched and visited firsthand most of Australia’s accessible beaches, describes Stokes Bay as “uniquely Australian and a new national treasure.”
The beach is full of contradictions – accessible with a sealed road from Parndana, good visitor facilities, a relaxed beachside cafe, and, surprising for many on arrival, a rocky and often seaweed-strewn shoreline.
That is the magical part of Stokes Bay – an adventurous tunnel carved out of massive limestone boulders leads to the beach. The meandering path has beach-goers ducking and twisting between the rocks and, finally, with a dramatic reveal, emerging to a beautiful white sandy beach with turquoise water. The rocks through which the tunnel travels morph into a low cliff that provides nest sites for Australian Kestrels, a dramatic backdrop to the beach, and welcome shade late on a hot summer day.
A curving barrier of rounded black and ochre boulders arcs around, protecting a natural rockpool that teems with marine life. The rockpool provides a perfect place for young families to enjoy the water, and for novice snorkellers, it is a safe yet exciting place to explore.
Stokes Bay is also the perfect spot for much of Australia’s wildlife that frequent the shores. Hooded Plovers are often seen nesting on the beach, and Wedge-tailed Eagles soar high overhead. The steeply dipping red rocks that form a dramatic headland to the east offer an elevated perch for White- bellied Sea-Eagles that hunt over the protected North Coast waters. It’s also home to Kangaroo Island’s kangaroos, wallabies, koalas and a host of birds, including the endangered Glossy Black-Cockatoo.
Managing Director of Exceptional Kangaroo Island Craig Wickham is proud that his childhood playground has received the ‘Best Beach’ title.
“A vibrant community around Stokes Bay has driven its’ protection and careful development as a favourite place for visitors and locals alike. We look forward to continuing to share its beauty and experiences with our guests,” he said.
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