In an Australian first, an inland ‘beach’ has been judged among Australia’s best as part of the Top 20 Beaches for 2020, coming in at number nine.
The Wagga Riverside Beach, on the edge of the Murrumbidgee River, has been christened as Australia’s first ever officially recognised inland, freshwater ‘beach’.
Tourism Australia Beach Ambassador, Brad Farmer, examined most of the accessible and inaccessible of Australia’s 11,761 beaches to devise the list and believes this was a necessary change.
“It’s time we extended the meaning of a beach given there are so many aquatic environments across Australia’s interior,” he said.
“These water spaces, which often rely on rain and flow, are significant as they socially connect rural and remote communities in often dusty and dry, drought conditions.”
Tourism Australia’s Managing Director Phillipa Harrison supported this move.
“Beaches are part of our DNA and the beach lifestyle is such as fundamental part of the way we enjoy life Down Under,” she said.
Though the move has been seen as controversial, it follows examples of lake and river beaches in Canada, the USA and Europe.
To make the annual list, beaches were assessed against a number of criteria. These included: environment, water-quality, cleanliness, visual amenity, carrying capacity, social history, facilities, international suitability, beach safety, engagement with ‘authentic’ Aussies and more.
Farmer’s research will be used in his drafting of a National Coastal Act, based on the Californian model, which he hopes to introduce to Federal Parliament as a Private Members Bill this year to ensure Australian beaches can be enjoyed for generations to come.