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Australia's best beaches: Everything you need to know about the Guardian's 2019 best beaches poll

Ask Australians about their favourite beach and you’ll get 11,000 different answers. With 85% of the population living within 50km of the coast, the beach holds a special place in Australian culture, identity and our capacity for endless arguments.

What makes a good beach? Emotions run high and the lists run long. It could be the place your family picked or some half-mythical spot your mates once showed you, that doesn’t really have a name.

Sydneysiders scoff at the cold waters of St Kilda, while Bondi is a hell-hole compared with the serenity of Western Australia and the clear waters of Queensland, as long as you, uh, don’t look at Brisbane’s South Bank.

But who’s right? In an attempt to determine this, Guardian Australia is running a poll so you can pick Australia’s favourite beach.

We spoke to Australia’s beach ambassador, Brad Farmer,who has visited a vast chunk of the country’s 11,761 beaches (including the islands) and reviewed them, and also seen the slow degradation that threatens them. He points out that there’s probably a big difference between Australia’s best beach and an individual’s favourite beach.

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