Five of the world’s best wild beaches
Original Article by Kevin Rushby for The Guardian
Chesterman Beach, Vancouver Island
You could almost pick any beach off the ocean side of Vancouver Island, but Chesterman has the edge. It’s the kind of place where you might see kids pedalling along barefoot with a surfboard under one arm. With a bit of luck, and keen eyesight, you might spot orcas out beyond the breakers. Easier to find is the Carving Shed, where local craftsmen turn out exquisite sculptures and traditional canoes. At low tide a sandspit, the Tombolo, gets you out to Frank Island, with great views back to the beach.
• The Wickaninnish Inn at the north end of the beach is famous, with summer prices to match (from £260). Or Chesterman Beach B&B has a cottage for four from £162 a night in summer
Monach Isles, Scotland
You might roam the globe for years and never find better beaches than those of the Scottish western isles, and none of them would ever be crowded. Gigha has its fans, Harris too, but real lovers of solitude should try this one on the island of Ceann Ear in the small group known as the Monachs, eight miles off the coast of North Uist. The soulful songs of the seal colony will haunt your trek across the white sands – that is assuming you can get there: there are no ferries, no flights, no people. A boat is first requirement. Fortunately Hebridean Cruises does take in the Monachs on several of its voyages, spending a night offshore and ferrying guests ashore to wander around the beaches and explore crofts that were finally abandoned in the 1930s.
• A 10-day remote island tour with Hebrides Cruises costs from £1,895pp all-inclusive
Nemto Island, Papua New Guinea
A four-day kayak paddle will get you to Nemto from Nusa Island off the north coast of New Ireland, 600 miles east of Papua New Guinea. It is an astonishing journey, taking in fine beaches, sunken second world war planes and pristine reefs. But Nemto is the big treat: an island with the population of two, surrounded by white sands shadowed by palms that cackle with parrots. The reason this island is untouched lies with local superstitions about strange beasts that inhabit the interior. And if that sounds like King Kong and it means nobody comes near the place, all the better.
• Nusa Island Retreat (nusaislandretreat.com) offers scuba, surfing, diving and kayaking. A nine-day Tigak sea kayak trip with No Roads costs £1,785pp all-inclusive, though flights are extra noroads.com.au
Jagodna Bay, Hvar Croatia
A single-file tunnel through the mountain takes you to Jagodna Bay, a different world from the swankier east side of Hvar, where those rare migrants, billionaires with good taste, hang out. Near Kamp Lili, a tightly packed but friendly campsite, a footpath leads to a beach barely bigger than a tennis court. It is, however, a jewel: clear water with plenty of fish, rocks to dive off and swim out to, and other coves to explore further along the coast. Above the beach, in the pines, there is a small restaurant-bar.
• Kamp Lili has pitches from €7 a night, and apartments for two from €40 in summer
Vanua Balavu, Northern Lau, Fiji
A private yacht would be handy for getting here. Failing that, take the weekly flight from Fiji’s capital, Suva, to this craggy, elongated pinch of paradise. There are a few gorgeous sandy stretches, and if another visitor appears, you’d be very surprised. The population is just 1,200 and, in a good year, they get about two dozen visitors. Picnic on the sand, snorkel on magnificent reefs where sea shells the size of Bluebeard’s treasure chest gape up at the rays and sea snakes. As you’d expect, local cuisine relies on seafood, including a giant crab that cracks coconuts as if they were hazelnuts.
• Moana Guesthouse has cabana-style accommodation next to the beach. Dinner is in the family kitchen, family room £30 a night