Australia comes alive in summer – the water is warm, the sun is (usually) shining, and the lucky ones get a few days extra holiday to explore. We’re girt by some of the best beaches in the world, so why not make a secret beach bucket list and work on your Instagram game in the process!
Sydney: Escape the city
In a crowded Instagram feed, your posts need to be unique to pop – meaning casual Sydney-siders might have to skip the Bondi to Bronte (sorry!) and get a little ‘out of town’.
Take a road trip south and check out some of the isolated waters of the Royal National Park – Garie, Wattamolla, and Marley Beach all offer stunning, uninterrupted vistas less than an hour away. Head a little further to the expansive Seven Mile Beach in Gerroa, or for a real road trip, down to Currarong or Hyams beach, home to the whitest sand in the world.
For those heading north, skip Palm Beach and cross the peninsula to Great Mackeral or Resolute Beaches in the Kuringai-Chase National Park for a secret slice of paradise. If you want to go a bit further, pack the car and head to Tomaree Head (just north of Newcastle) for an elevated beachside hike that rewards your tired legs with a smashing photo opp.
- Shooting a big swell? Try using Burst Mode by holding your finger on the shutter button – you can take a series of photos in rapid succession then pick the best one that perfectly captures the moment (instead of sitting there for hours trying to time the best shot).
- Use Instagram’s Boomerang App to add some motion to your photo. Or if you have an iPhone 6S, 7 or 7 Plus, their ‘live photo’ feature adds a few extra for a really magic effect. You could even try a time-lapse for a unique way to shoot a big space in a small amount of time.
- Avoid clichés – standard ‘standing on beach’ shots aren’t as mesmerizing as an interesting close-up, or an unseen angle. Try experimenting with subjects and horizons to see how you can breathe life into well-veered territory.
- Go underwater: with a plethora of phones now waterproof to depths of up to 10m, and a range of cases for those that aren’t, you can shoot as much as you want under the sea for something users really haven’t seen before.
Tassie’s hidden gems
While the water might be a little cooler, there is no doubting Tasmania is home to some of the most stunning beaches in Australia – and what’s more, they’re rarely crowded.
Professional ‘Grammers would be hard pressed to beat the world-famous Wineglass Bay, but you could have the entire ‘Friendly Beaches’ to yourself if you pull over just a little earlier! Part of the Freycinet National Park and entered by a 10-meter walking track, this endless beach is surrounded by gorgeous bushland, wildlife, and watering holes perfect for any number of shots.
Often overlooked to its more populous North end, Bruny Island’s south side will reward your journey with stunning scenery and (if you camp the night) you can watch the local fairy penguin residents return home to roost for the evening. Closer to Port Arthur and the Remarkable Caves, Crescent Bay’s enclosed white sands make it a perfect spot for an afternoon dip (plus a spectacular photo opportunity). And for a perfect sunset location, the crystal waters and vivid rocks of the Bay of Fires is a stark opportunity for an unbeatable travel post.
- Try shooting in black and white (or converting your colour photos in an app like VSCO afterwards) – the availability of light actually creates a more vivid set of shades and a unique point of difference to your shots
West coast is best… coast
In the realm of ‘eye-popping’ locations, Western Australia faces little competition in the coastal stakes.
Naturally, travellers and locals should bee-line for Turquoise Bay , home to some of the bluest waters in the country with epic snorkelling opportunities. You could wake up with the Kangaroos at Lucky Bay, and there aren’t many places that could beat a glowing waterfront sunset on Cable Beach. Of course, for something a little more unique, head up to the Karijini National Park, where the deep ochre pigments of the watering holes will find you new fans in no time.
- The sun sets in the west, making for a spectacular sunset across the ocean, so be sure to know when the golden hour is and be poised for action when the time strikes.
- You can avoid tricky lens flare by keeping your camera away from the sun. If unavoidable, you can use Snapseed’s ‘healing’ effect to remove it! Google’s free photo-editing app  is a boon for simple, easy to navigate editing and a must for any budding insta-photographer.
- With so much sun, try capturing silhouettes to add some extra punch to your subjects.
- Normally, you would have to choose between exposing the light or dark part of a landscape. Compromise no more: you can face the sun and still shoot the surrounding landscape by turning on your camera’s HDR setting, which allows for both.
Queensland – spoilt for choice
Of course, Queensland is our beach capital, with more photo opportunities than you could…well…poke a lens at. Our picks? Trinity Beach in Cairns, Hideaway Bay on the Whitsundays, and for sheer eye-popping spectacle, the not-so-secret white sand and clear waters of Whitehaven Beach make it a tried and trusted spot for Instagram gold – it was the 7th most Instagrammed spot in Australia in 2015, after all.
- Photo tips: Water makes for a fantastic opportunity to shoot reflections – the symmetry created is tantalising and will stop viewers right in their tracks.
Got a favourite secret beach spot? We’d love to hear it! Leave a tip in the comments.
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