Our new best beach?

Western River Cove. Picture: Quentin Chester
Western River Cove. Picture: Quentin Chester

The man credited with naming Vivonne Bay “the best beach in Australia” 10 years ago hasn’t even included it in his new book “101 Best Australian Beaches”.

Two Kangaroo Island beaches have made the cut – Snellings Beach and Western River Cove – both on the North Coast.

Brad Farmer and Professor Andy Short visited more than 11,700 beaches around Australia to find their top 101, listed in alphabetical order.

Prof Short is the one credited with naming Vivonne Bay the best beach in Australia more than a decade ago but there’s a twist in the tale.

As a marine scientist specialising in coastal geomorphology at University of Sydney, Prof Short had been pressed by a young Adelaide journalist to name the nation’s best beach. He said that Vivonne Bay met all the criteria for a top beach. He was slightly misquoted and the legend began from there.

Prof Short has always been a big fan of Kangaroo Island and has visited half a dozen times. His youngest daughter is named Vivonne, so why does Vivonne Bay now not make even the top 101?

“We had two eyes looking at the beaches this time and it was more scientific. When I named Vivonne last time, it wasn’t part of a national survey,” Prof Short said.

“The whole island is special. Vivonne has had its time in the sun. It’s time to promote the rest of the island,” Prof Short said. 

Prof Short said the criteria included public accessibility, that it was representative of the coastline, well managed and of course, the X-factor. You can see more about the book at 101bestbeaches.com.

Writer and photographer Quentin Chester said the two beaches selected were “beauties”.

“But there are dozens of others. My favourite is my home beach at Antechamber Bay - it’s a beautiful historic bay with views across Backstairs Passage to the foot of the Fleurieu,” Mr Chester said. He has recently published his book Coast to Coast, a pictorial essay of Kangaroo Island’s coastline. Go to http://quentinchester.photomerchant.net/

Michelle Peacock at Vivonne Bay Store said the “best beach” tag had been a bonus for the local tourism industry but also the whole island.

“People always come in here asking the way to the best beach in Australia. We still reckon it’s the best,” Ms Peacock said.

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