Cossies Beach, Cocos (Keeling) Islands: Beach expert Brad Farmer names Australia's best beach 2017

It's official: Australia's best beach is …drum roll… probably nowhere you've ever been.

The newly named Cossies Beach in the Cocos (Keeling) Islands has been named Australia's top stretch of sand by beach expert Brad Farmer in his book, 101 Best Beaches 2017, released today.

See also: TripAdvisor names world's best beach

Australia has 11,761 beaches along nearly 60,000km of coastline, and Farmer estimates he has about 4000 Australian beaches under his belt after decades of studied beach bumming. Together with his colleague Professor Andy Short, a coastal geomorphologist, they have trekked the length and breadth of Australia's waters to create their current beach book.

Closer to Jakarta than Perth, Farmer named the country's best beach after the 26th Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove, with permission from Cocos (Keeling) Islands locals. The Australian Territory comprises two atolls and 27 coral islands, including Direction Island, where Cossies is located, and is reached by a 4.5 hour Virgin Australia flight from Perth. Farmer notes that while it may be Australia's most remote beach, "it does have wi-fi".

"It's as near to perfect as a beach can be," says the Farmer, who has been researching and writing about beaches for the past 30 years. Teaming up with Andy Short, they published their first best beaches book in 2012, but left the Cocos (Keeling) Islands off the shortlist due to the distance and politics surrounding them. However, their natural beauty won over Farmer, who is not the only admirer – in 1836, naturalist Sir Charles Darwin landed on the beach, declaring it 'heavenly.'

See also: Don't try and impress us with your beach - the thing Australia does better than anywhere else

The runner-up to Cossies Beach is the far more accessible Nudeys Beach on Fitzroy Island, which Farmer describes as 'a Queensland coastal gem'. The beach is best known as a daytripper's jaunt from Cairns, ideal for travellers seeking a Great Barrier Reef experience on a budget.

Third place goes to Moonee Beach on the Coffs Coast in northern NSW for its easy reach and family-friendly vibe, followed by Western Australia's Turquoise Bay, near Ningaloo Reef. Others in the top 10 include the Gold Coast's Burleigh Beach and Australia's first 'legal' nude beach, Maslin Beach in South Australia. Apollo Bay on the Great Ocean Road, is Victoria's top beach, coming in at No. 10.

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The other shock entry in Best Beaches Top 10 is Dolly Beach on Christmas Island, "set from the pages of Robinson Crusoe," says Farmer. It's in the same neighbourhood as the Cocos (Keeling Islands), connected by a bi-weekly 1 hour, 35 minute flight. "Christmas Island is one of the world's best kept secrets, whose time to shine as an internationally acclaimed ecotourism destination has arrived," says Farmer.

"Our beaches are the world's best and we have so many more outside of just Sydney and the Gold Coast," he adds, noting that in the Top 20, 17 are regional beaches.

Sure to fuel state rivalry, NSW has the most beaches in the top 101, with 23 beaches including Sydney strips of Camp Cove and Garie Beach in the Royal National Park, Newcastle's Mereweather Beach and Hawks Nest Beach, on the Myall Coast.

It streaks past Queensland, with 19 entries including Tea Tree Bay in Noosa, Tangalooma on Morton Island, off the coast of Brisbane and Australia's pin-up swathe of sand, Whitehaven Beach, on Whitsunday Island. Twelve Victorian beaches made the list, including Brighton Beach in Melbourne and the surfing mecca of Bells Beach, on the Great Ocean Road.

The book notes that 90 percent of us live on Australia's coastline, and our beaches are the country's second-highest earner after mining.

Farmer is sanguine that his choice of Australia's best beach will cause waves: our far-flung Australian Territories are known primarily as international detention centres and border patrols, not for their ecological wonders, he says. However, he says visitors are looking for authentic, nature-based adventures – we are over congested theme parks, he adds. "Australia is one of the last countries you can actually go and explore. Go a little further, open your eyes, explore."

"Cossies is Whitehaven Beach plus plus plus," says Farmer, defending his choice. "I have reached the Holy Grail after 32 years of looking at beaches.

"It's Tahiti, it's the Great Barrier Reef, it's the Maldives, all rolled into one. It's incomprehensible that it's Australia," he says.

"I can actually hang up my notebook and boardshorts now after 32 years trying to find the perfect beach".

See 101bestbeaches.com, cocoskeelingislands.com.au, virginaustralia.com.au

THE TOP 20: BEST AUSTRALIAN BEACHES 2017

1. Cossies Beach, Cocos (Keeling) Islands INDIAN OCEAN

2. Nudey Beach, Fitzroy Island, FAR NORTH QUEENSLAND

3. Moonee Beach, Coffs Coast NEW SOUTH WALES

4. Turquoise Bay, Coral Coast, WESTERN AUSTRALIA

5. Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast, QUEENSLAND

6. Maslin Beach, Adelaide, SOUTH AUSTRALIA

7. Dolly Beach, Christmas Island, INDIAN OCEAN

8. Shelly Beach, Nambucca Coast, NEW SOUTH WALES

9. Boat Harbour Beach, North West Coast, TASMANIA

10. Apollo Bay, Great Ocean Road, VICTORIA

11. Horseshoe Bay Beach, Capricorn Coast, QUEENSLAND

12. Garie Beach, Royal National Park, Sydney, NEW SOUTH WALES

13. Merewether Beach, Newcastle, NEW SOUTH WALES

14. Long Beach, Great Keppel Island, Capricorn Coast, QUEENSLAND

15. Hawks Nest Beach, Myall Coast, NEW SOUTH WALES

16. Camp Cove, Sydney, NEW SOUTH WALES

17. Broken Head Beach, Byron Coast, NEW SOUTH WALES

18. Narrawallee Beach, Shoalhaven Coast, NEW SOUTH WALES

19. Dynamite Bay, Coral Coast, WESTERN AUSTRALIA

20. Ellis Beach, FAR NORTH QUEENSLAND

See also: Why Australia's best beach is still a mystery

See also: Lonely Planet names the world's best sandy beaches

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