Interview Today show, Nine network
Clint Stanaway, host: Australia's beaches are without a doubt the best anywhere in the world. From beautiful white sands to crystal clear waters, our coastline is truly unmatched.
Jayne Azzopardi, host: Now, after some very careful consideration, beach expert Brad Farmer has unveiled his annual list of the best Aussie beaches. And I'm pleased to say he joins us now, along with Tourism Minister Don Farrell in Melbourne. Good morning to you both. Brad, drumroll please, what is the number one beach for 2024?
Brad Farmer: The number one beach is, drum roll, Squeaky Beach in Victoria. Victoria has never taken out the title. Apparently, Squeaky Beach is very well known in Victoria, but outside that state, it's relatively unknown. So, congratulations Victoria.
Jayne Azzopardi: Beautiful beach. But I just have a query, does water temperature not matter when you're doing the list of best beaches?
Brad Farmer: Well, the water temperatures are rising, so it's all relative.
Jayne Azzopardi: That's true.
Brad Farmer: But, yeah, it'll be a brisk swim. But interestingly, not everyone goes to the beach to take a swim these days. So, people will go to places like Squeaky just to hear the music of the sand between their toes. So, you know, things are changing in the Australian beachscape.
Clint Stanaway: These northerners, they're always complaining about the water temperature.
Jayne Azzopardi: You couldn't get a Queenslander to swim in that.
Clint Stanaway: Victoria, absolutely number one.
Jayne Azzopardi: It is beautiful.
Clint Stanaway: Okay, so you had to pull through almost 12,000 contenders to make this list. What else made the list?
Brad Farmer: Do you know, some really interesting choices. And there are a lot of lists going around and they're the same old recycled favourites you've heard of. So, my list is highly curated. So, take number five, for example, the Cocos Keeling Islands, which is part of Australia, where Pulu Blan Madar Island is Malaysian, named Bahasa, is in the Cocos Keeling group, you know, right off the coast of Australia below Singapore. And it's a slice of the Maldives or the Caribbean on our doorsteps, part of Australia. So, Australians really have to embrace that we have the best beaches in the world and the most diverse beaches in the world.
Jayne Azzopardi: Don Farrell, as Tourism Minister, that must make your job pretty easy, I've got to say. You've got every state and territory with a beach on the list. I mean, you don't have to do much to sell our country, do you?
Minister for Tourism, Don Farrell: No, and Jayne, one of the reasons people come to Australia, international tourists come to Australia, is to visit our beaches. We've got the finest beaches in the world. And of course, Brad's got a terrific job of going around visiting them all. One of the ones in the top ten today, of course, is Long Beach in Robe in South Australia, where I go every Easter. So, it doesn't matter which state you're in or what part of the country you're in. We've got magnificent beaches and obviously, Australians like visiting their beaches, but more importantly, international visitors are coming back in very large numbers and one of the reasons they're coming here is to visit these iconic beaches.
Clint Stanaway: Well, your constituents will be very happy with that shout out. Is that your favourite? Have you declared your hand there, Don?
Minister for Tourism: Look, I was a bit lucky last year when Brad announced the list. It was Stokes Bay on Kangaroo Island. I don't want to promote South Australia too much, but we do have some beautiful beaches. They are on the cold side, I'm afraid, Clint, but they're wonderful places to visit. And I'm going back to Stokes Bay the week after next just to have another visit, just to make sure it is still a very beautiful beach.
Clint Stanaway: And Brighton beach didn't make the cut, but it's still very beautiful where you are this morning.
Jayne Azzopardi: It sure is. And, Brad, I just want to - like, locals can get very protective about their particular beaches and you are unveiling what some might say, are some hidden gems of Australia. Do you find locals are pleased you've put them on the list, or do you think they're like, "no, we don't want anyone else to know".
Brad Farmer: They come around to being very pleased because it's a sense of pride and part of this list is about the theme of Australians taking greater ownership of their beaches. Australians love their beaches and that's a fantastic thing. So, if you've been honoured by in this year's best official Australian beaches, take it as a badge of honour and take ownership of the beaches, particularly to protect them, and we'll make sure that the visiting carrying capacity is managed properly, and make friends with people that visit your beaches. Australia is a friendly country and there's no friendlier place in Australia than on the sand.
Jayne Azzopardi: And tell the tourists to swim between the flags.
Clint Stanaway: And does Squeaky Beach really squeak?
Brad Farmer: It's like a symphony. I can tell you, it's a silicon quartz sand, the silicon quartz sand it's just - go yourself. Go a weekday, though.
Clint Stanaway: Thanks so much. Appreciate your insight.
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