Beaches and seascapes are high on everybody's list. After a first version of my Top Ten beaches a couple of years ago I took the opportunity to update this blogpost after my sabbatical. Be prepared for beach beauty from Australia, Fiji, Iceland, New Zealand, South Africa and the USA.
De Hoop Nature Reserve, South Africa
De Hoop is a nature reserve 230 km east of Cape Town at the Southern coastline of South Africa. Named after the farm "De Hoop" this place turned into a state-run nature reserve in the late 1950s. The reserve has 45 km coast line and is one of the most beautiful places that I have seen in South Africa. Find out about all the De Hoop beauty and our trip in March 2016 in my blogpost. The beach front at De Hoop is called Koppie Alleen Beach. It is also part of the nature reserve and not a classic beach for a day trip. Nevertheless, it easily made my Top Ten beaches.
Diamond Beach, Iceland
During my first trip to Iceland in 2007 I payed a visit to the famous Jökulsarlon glacier lagoon but I missed on its Diamond Beach. And it wasn't until my 2016 Iceland trip that I realised what marvelous spot I accidentally skipped. Diamond Beach is one out of two beaches south of the Jökulsarlon lagoon where its icebergs meet the ocean. The opposing Jökulsarlon Beach features quite some large pieces of ice and is pretty packed with them on its shoreline. Diamond Beach instead holds only smaller pieces of ice that look like diamonds (although they are quite a bit larger). It is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world facing crashing waves towards melting pieces of ice on a black lava beach. I shot this picture as a long exposure on my tripod and managed to give it a blurry look. Make sure to check my Iceland Top Ten pictures and my Iceland Gallery if you enjoy this.
Whitsunday Island and Whitehaven beach, Queensland, Australia
The Whitsunday Islands are a very special place in Australia. Almost every tourist knows about it and its on many people's bucket list. This is an aerial of Whitsunday Island, the most prominent of the many Whitsunday Islands, with its long and pure white Whitehaven Beach to the very left. The sand is really that white due to 98 % pure silica. After visiting the beach by boat in the days before I surprised my wife with this birthday flight around the area. It lasted for an hour and we flew over the coastal national park, several of the Whitsunday Islands, the open sea and finally the part of the Great Barrier Reef that includes the Heart Reef. But this view was definitely the highlight of the flight. I mean, the colors of the inlet mixing with the white sand - marvelous! Don't forget to check my other Australia Top Ten pictures and my Australia gallery!
Cape Tribulation beach, Queensland, Australia
This was my first proper sunrise at the beginning of my six months sabbatical. We went straight up north from Cairns with our campervan for the pristine Cape Tribulation, took the Daintree river ferry and ended up here. It immediately felt like paradise. Just a few steps away from our Campervan at Cape Tribulation camping was the magnificent Cape Tribulation beach. It is packed with mangroves at the shoreline. They grow in tropical coastal saline or brackish water and are a good indicator for an intact ecosystem. If you haven't checked my Australia Top Ten pictures and my Australia gallery - now is the time!
Naukacuvu Island, Yasawa Islands, Fiji
In between our time in New Zealand and Hawai'i we choose a South sea stopover connection with direct flights to both of the islands. We spent eight days in Fiji and did three of these on Naukacuvu Island, one of the many Yasawa Islands that are so iconic to the South sea dream and postcards of Fiji. We got upgraded to a beach front bungalow and this was out beach. With its eastward position we were up for some very nice sunrises. We even managed to see the thousands of fruit bats coming home to the island before sunrise after filling their little bellies with fruit and nectar. The sunsets also made for a very nice tint in the sky as you can image here. Many parts of the island easily work for your postcard backdrop that this beautiful area of the world is so known for. You can see more Fiji beauty at my gallery.
Walker Bay Nature Reserve, Western Cape, South Africa
Walker Bay is a nature reserve east of Capetown along the Garden Route. It is an untouched beach between the whaling hot spot Hermanus in the west and Gansbaai in the east. When visiting first in 2014 we stayed at Grootbos Private Nature Reserve sitting on top Walker Bay. This beach will always be special for us since we got engaged here back then. On top of that Walker Bay was also home to middle stone age people that lived in the Klipgat caves. During the South African summer month the bay is also a whale watching arena. If you ever have a chance to see that place, drop by! Check here for my South Africa work.
Scotts Beach, Karamea, South Island, New Zealand
Back in 2001 I have been in Australia and New Zealand with a field trip of 27 geographers. We started our journey of the South Island of New Zealand with a drive up the West Coast towards Karamea. After parking the car you follow the long Heaphy Track for 90 minutes and you end up at Scotts Beach. They used part of the area to film Jurrassic Park back in the days. It is quite a remote place and still not as touristy as many other beaches on the South Island. I don't know if the small seal colony is till there, but I saw some fur seals that day. Since I used slide film in 2001 and I scanned them just a few years ago you can see the age of the pictures by its colour and tint. I can also see that my photography changed a bit since then. If New Zealand is your thing don't forget to check for my Top Ten New Zealand pictures as well as my New Zealand gallery.
Waiʻānapanapa State Park, Maui, Hawai'i, USA
Every tourist on Maui knows about the Road to Hana and most of them drive this very nice and long road from somewhere in the west of the island to the very east to the little town of Hana. Eventually you will also pass by the Waiʻanapanapa State Park in the northeast of the island. This park features stunning black lava beaches, sea arches, palm trees and is a spot you will never forget. The greens of the plants in this park are so rich that every image looks like a photoshop accident. They give a very intense contrast to the deep blacks of the lava rocks on the beach. So if Waiʻanapanapa State Park wasn't a stop on your Road to Hana list before, do yourself a favour and put it on. Don't forget to check my other Hawai'i Top Ten pictures and my Hawai'i gallery!
Reynisfjara black sand beach, Iceland
When you hardly get any sunrise or sunset during a 10 day trip to Iceland a sunset like this is special anyway. We got lucky to get a sunset like this at the beautiful Reynisfjara black sand beach west of Vik in South Iceland. With this shot I was facing towards the Dyrhólaey rock and the setting sun. I waited until the photographer we met in the nearby cave went and made for a perfect silhouette with his tripod and camera shouldered. Be careful, this beach is really dangerous and people die here regularly due to the very strong tide and waves! Make sure to check my Iceland gallery.
Muizenberg Beach, Western Cape, South Africa
Muizenberg is a beach-side suburb of Cape Town and situated at the west side of the False Bay coast. it is considered as the birthplace of surfing in South Africa and hosts a vivid surfing community. Muizenberg is most known for its colorful beach houses. They stand in line of the flat and wide beach along the water that generally is calm. The wooden houses are regularly painted in green, red, blue and yellow and make for contrasty leading lines at the beach. Make sure to also check my blogpost about the Muizenberg beach houses along with my South Africa collection.