The team at Exceptional Kangaroo Island are excited that Australia’s official beach Ambassador, Brad Farmer, AM, has announced Stokes Bay on Kangaroo Island’s North Coast as Australia’s Best Beach for 2023.
Stokes Bay tops the list for this year following a visit by Mr Farmer in November 2022. The comprehensive assessment process draws on his 40-year immersion in Australia’s coastline and beach destinations.
Stokes Bay is a consistent winner in the eyes of our guests who experience the diversity of Stokes Bay on a range of our private and small group tours. The beach is full of contradictions – accessible with a sealed road from Parndana, good visitor facilities, a relaxed beachside cafe, and, surprising for many on arrival, a rocky and often seaweed-strewn shoreline. “Where’s this great beach?”
That is the magical part of Stokes Bay – an adventurous tunnel carved out of massive limestone boulders leads to the beach. The meandering path has beach-goers ducking and twisting between the rocks and, finally, with a dramatic reveal, emerging to a beautiful white sandy beach with turquoise water. The rocks through which the tunnel travels morph into a low cliff that provides nest sites for Australian Kestrels, a dramatic backdrop to the beach, and welcome shade late on a hot summer day.
A curving barrier of rounded black and ochre boulders arcs around, protecting a natural rockpool that teems with marine life. The rockpool provides a perfect place for young families to enjoy the water, and for novice snorkellers, it is a safe yet exciting place to explore.
Outside the rockpool, surfers often find a welcome wave, particularly in summer when the constant sou-easterly winds provide a perfect offshore breeze. Our guests often see Hooded Plovers that nest on the beach or Wedge-tailed Eagles soaring high overhead. The steeply dipping red rocks that form a dramatic headland to the east offer an elevated perch for White-bellied Sea-Eagles that hunt over the protected North Coast waters.
Lathami Conservation Park protects a significant part of the bushland around Stokes Bay. This and large tracts of private land in the surrounding area provide a home to Kangaroo Island Kangaroos, Tammar Wallabies, Koalas and a host of birds, including the endangered Glossy Black-Cockatoo.
Exceptional Kangaroo Island Managing Director, Craig Wickham, said “we are proud that Stokes Bay is Australia’s best beach for 2023. Personally, it is a lot of fun to share what was literally my childhood playground and it was also a special place for our family as our children grew up. A vibrant community around Stokes Bay has driven its’ protection and careful development as a favourite place for visitors and locals alike. We look forward to continuing to share its beauty and experiences with our guests.”