Once again New Zealand and Australia have been snubbed by the 'World's top beaches' list.

Australia's surf beaches might be feeling a little salty about failing to make the top 20 - particularly with chilly stretches and Scotland and England outranking anything in the Antipodes.

Outer Hebrides: Luskentyre in the Isle of Harris, Scotland. Photo / Andrew Buchanan, Unsplash
Outer Hebrides: Luskentyre in the Isle of Harris, Scotland. Photo / Andrew Buchanan, Unsplash

However this was hardly the only surprise on the annual rankings compiled by TripAdvisor.

The World's Top 25 Beaches is part of the website's traveller's choice awards and is compiled using reviews and ratings left on the world's leading travel website for 2019.

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At the top of the sand castle was Brazil's Baia do Sancho. Located on the island of Fernando de Noronha 350km off the north western cape, Sancho is no overcrowded pleasure beach and a far cry from the Copa Cabana.

Australian beaches failed to find favour in this year's Traveller list. Photo / Unsplash
Australian beaches failed to find favour in this year's Traveller list. Photo / Unsplash

"As you walk through a small trail, you can't imagine what awaits you," reads one of the reviews left by an adventurous traveller. "The heavenly view seems like a mirage."

Kiwi beaches are used to being overlooked, and however there seems to have been a sea change in what travellers are looking for.

Is this the world's best beach? Baia do Sancho on Fernando de Noronha, Brazil. Photo / Linoleum, Unsplash
Is this the world's best beach? Baia do Sancho on Fernando de Noronha, Brazil. Photo / Linoleum, Unsplash

Fluffy sand and beach-side bars are a thing of the past, as people are looking for more deserted spots to get away from their fellow beachgoers.

Luskentyre on the Isle of Harris in the Scottish Hebrides and the black sand beach of Vik in Iceland were among the beaches rising in the rankings.

Travellers are looking for something different in their beaches: The Black Sand Beach in Vik Iceland. Photo / Chris Ried, Unsplash
Travellers are looking for something different in their beaches: The Black Sand Beach in Vik Iceland. Photo / Chris Ried, Unsplash

While the visitor numbers might have helped propel the Icelandic beach ahead of New Zealand's own black sand beaches - it's a sign that travellers are less interested in bathing in either sun or surf and instead are looking for beaches that make for stunning photos. #BeachesOfInstagram might be partly to blame.

In a separate regional ranking of beaches in New Zealand and Australia - Mt Maunganui came out tops for its family friendly surf beach. It was 10th overall in the South Pacific region.

Oriental Bay in Wellington was voted New Zealand's top urban beach.

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New Zealand's best beaches*

•Mount Maunganui, New Zealand

"Nice, safe north facing beach. Easy surf."

The Mount: Tauranga claimed New Zealand's top spot for international beach lovers. Photo / Unslpash, Koon Chakhatrakan
The Mount: Tauranga claimed New Zealand's top spot for international beach lovers. Photo / Unslpash, Koon Chakhatrakan

•Piha, New Zealand

"Best day out in Auckland "

•Pilot Bay, Mount Maunganui
•Ohope Beach, Whakatane
•Whangamata Beach
"Beautiful beach "

•Ninety Mile Beach
"Great Route via the beach to Cape Reinga"

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•Oriental Bay, Wellington
•Kaiteriteri Beach
"One of NZ's best beaches"

*according to TripAdvisor rankings

25 best beaches for 2020

1. Baia do Sancho, Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

2. Grace Bay Beach, Turks and Caicos

3. Playa Paraiso, Cayo Largo, Cuba

4. Spiaggia dei Conigli, Sicily, Italy

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5. Prainhas do Pontal do Atalaia, Arraial do Cabo, Brazil

6. Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman

7. Eagle Beach, Aruba

8. Flamenco Beach, Culebra, Puerto Rico

9. Varadero Beach, Cuba

10. Kleftiko Beach, Milos, Cyclades, Greece

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11. Siesta Beach, Siesta Key, Florida, US

12. Radhanagar Beach, Havelock Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India

13. Luskentyre, Isle of Harris, Lewis and Harris, Outer Hebrides, Scotland

14. Playa de Ses Illetes, Formentera, Balearic Islands, Spain

15. La Concha Beach, San Sebastian, Donostia, Spain

16. Saint Pete Beach, Florida

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17. Playa Norte, Isla Mujeres, Mexico

18. Maho Bay Beach, Cruz Bay, St John, Virgin Islands

19. Bavaro Beach, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

20. Woolacombe Beach, Devon, UK

21. Elafonissi Beach, Elafonissi, Greece

22. Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Islands, Queensland, Australia

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23. Cala Mariolu, Baunei, Italy

24. Balos Lagoon, Kissamos, Greece

25. Black Sand Beach, Vik, Iceland