Rhonwyn Newson

Weekend editor of the Herald Online and writer of The Herald List

The world's 10 best beaches

Clear water, white sands and abundant marine life are some of the things on offer at the beaches named by TripAdvisor as the top 10 in the world. Photo / Thinkstock
Clear water, white sands and abundant marine life are some of the things on offer at the beaches named by TripAdvisor as the top 10 in the world. Photo / Thinkstock

The sun may be shining, but there's no doubt winter is here. To take your mind off the wind, ice and snow here is a list of the world's top 10 beaches, according to TripAdvisor.

1. Baia do Sancho, Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

The archipelago of Fernando de Noronha is a World Heritage Site with a delicate ecosystem. Visitors are restricted, it is largely unspoilt and the lucky few are rewarded with unrivaled beaches and soothing warm waters filled with dolphins and sea turtles.

***

2. Grace Bay, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos

White powder beaches and turquoise water makes Grace Bay the perfect beach holiday destination. Snorkeling and diving a must as miles of coral reef, easily accessible from the shore, provide amazing sea-life. The upscale resorts and captivating beachscapes of Grace Bay make it a popular choice for waterfront escapes.

***

3. Flamenco Beach (Playa Flamenco) Culebra, Puerto Rico

A sheltered cove with clear, still glassy water make this beach something special. The beach is long and wide, surrounded by greenery. Fishing is prohibited, so fish swim right up to the edge of the water, which is waist deep for quite a stretch and has crystal clear visibility underwater.

***

4. Rabbit Beach, Lampedusa, Islands of Sicily

Italy's southernmost island, Lampedusa, lies between Malta and Tunisia and is geographically part of the African continent. The largest of the Pelagian Islands, Lampedusa is arid and gets its only fresh water from rainfall. Lampedusa is treasured for its fine white sandy beaches, clear turquoise waters and excellent scuba diving.

***

5. Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Island, Whitsunday Islands

Queensland's Whitehaven Beach is a must-see in the Whitsundays. The crystal clear waters and pristine silica sand of Whitehaven stretch over seven kilometres along Whitsunday Island , the largest of the 74 islands in the Whitsundays. It defines nature at its best and provides the greatest sense of relaxation and escape.

***

6. Playa de Ses Illetes, Formentera, Balearic Islands

Formentera is a beautiful, unspoilt island lying just to the south of Ibiza. It is the smallest of the Balearic Islands and can be reached only by ferry from Ibiza. This island is the Mediterranean's best kept secret...until now.

***

7. Anse Lazio, Praslin Island, Seychelles

One of the Seychelles' most popular destinations, Praslin is home to fantastic beaches and intimate hotel. Divers love the ancient coral reefs off Praslin's shores, and birdwatchers will enjoy the very rare bird species that dwell on Praslin, including the Seychelles bulbul and the black parrot.

***

8. Lanikai Beach, Kailua, Hawaii

Oahu's Kailua, meaning "two seas" or "two currents," is named after either the two lagoons located on the island or the two currents that run through Kailua Bay. Steady trade winds make Kailua Beach ideal for windsurfing and kite-flying. Kailua Beach Park features pristine white sand and views of the offshore island known as Moko nui or "two islands."

***

9. Rhossili Bay, Swansea, United Kingdom

Rhossili is a small village and community on the southwestern tip of the Gower Peninsula in Swansea. It is within an area designated as the first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the United Kingdom. Rhossili Bay curves along an arc running northwards from the village.

***

10. Playa Norte, Isla Mujeres, Mexico

Snorkel with tropical fish amid coral reefs, skim the blue waters by kayak or boat, or windsurf along the shores of soft, sandy beaches.

***

Surprisingly none of New Zealand's beautiful beaches made it on to TripAdvisor's list. However, three New Zealand beaches made it onto CNN's Top 100 list in April.

They were:

38. Karekare, West Auckland
68. Kaiteriteri Beach, Nelson
94. Hot Water Beach, Coromandel Peninsula

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf04 at 26 Dec 2014 11:31:29 Processing Time: 534ms