While Australian beaches really are the best in the world, sometimes the two-metre surf really isn't the best for your bub, and it tends to make your holiday much less restful. Here's a handful of calm sandy spots around Australia that are suitable for baby's first beach days.
Main Beach is ideal for little ones, as it faces north. This position creates a softer wave, and if you carry your tot into the water on your hip, the waves will break very gently around you both. Main Beach is also a well-known family holiday destination, so there are plenty of other children making play on the sand. Plus there are some rock pools around the shoreline for the more curious beach babies.
Rainbow Bay sits hidden behind the windswept headland of Point Danger on the coast between Coolangatta and the top end of NSW. This picturesque spot is sheltered from fierce winds and hazardous currents, and it's popular with families. Pandanus palms provide some shade on the hill above the beach.
Located just outside Terrigal, Forrester's Beach on the NSW Central Coast is a one-hour drive from Sydney
. There's limited access to this beach, so it never becomes too crowded. The gentle swells, shallow water and sheltered rock pools all combine to create the perfect setting for splashing around with an inquisitive toddler.
Horseshoe Bay in Bermagui on the NSW South Coast is north-facing and offers some of the safest swimming conditions in the region. Tiny waves lap gently at the shoreline and these crystal clear waters are patrolled throughout summer.
Just 16km from Melbourne
's city centre on Port Phillip Bay is Hampton Beach, a relatively secluded beach set between Brighton and Sandringham. This long sandy beach is calm and quite shallow, making it ideal for paddling tots. Plus there are barbecue and picnic facilities available for public use.
East Gippsland is home to some of Victoria's most scenic stretches of coastline and a number of peaceful beaches, which are suitable for young families. Although Shallow Inlet Beach is not patrolled during summer, the waters here are sheltered and calm. The area plays host to plenty of migratory birdlife, which is an interesting talking point for youngsters.
Henley Beach in Adelaide
is abuzz with young families during summer. The surf is relatively gentle, the sand is soft, plus there's a range of vibrant cafés and takeaway spots nearby in the town square if everybody gets hungry.
Just 15 minutes from central Perth
and on the way to Fremantle is Cottesloe Beach, which is widely considered Perth's safest beach. The surf here is, for the most part, gentle and without rips, although sensible caution should still be exercised. There's plenty of shade up on the grassy area, plus cafés and kiosks serve mid-afternoon snacks and frosty drinks.
Lauderdale Beach, Tasmania
The southern end of Lauderdale Beach
near the airport in Hobart
is the locals' top pick for a day out with the little ones. The sheltered conditions and low breeze keep the waves to a minimum, while the tree-fringed sand is a great retreat spot, when the mid-afternoon sun is at its fiercest.
It's important to remember that even if a beach is generally known to be calm and peaceful, conditions can alter quickly. Keeping an eye on the ocean, the sky and the children's activities will help to ensure that you and your family have a safe and enjoyable day at the beach.
All kinds of fun family tours and activities can be booked around the country, using Ninemsn's activities pages.
Got any other toddler-friendly beaches to add to the list?