Unusual beaches to discover
Imagine this. You're on a well-deserved beach vacay with an ice-cold drink in hand as you wriggle your toes into the warm, fluffy sand. Now, gaze down at your feet. What colour is the sand? Green? Red? Black? Sounds outrageous? Well, it isn't. The good folk over at Hotels.com show us five of the most exotic beaches they've chanced upon.
Black is the new black
Located just 40 minutes from the city centre, New Zealand's Muriwai Beach is a sight to behold with its stark black sand and unobstructed views of the rugged west coast. The beach owes its striking dark colour to a mixture of iron, titanium and other volcanic materials from the Kaipara Volcano which erupted millions of years ago. Today, the beach is a popular spot for surfers from across the globe looking to ride its powerful waves. Not an adrenaline junkie? There are plenty of other activities you can enjoy at Muriwai beach. Take a dip, enjoy a casual stroll or just soak up the wild atmosphere of the beach. The Muriwai beach is home to New Zealand's largest onshore gannet colony so if you're an avid bird-watcher, stay at the Bush Sand and Sea guesthouse and if you're lucky enough, you may catch sightings of these birds as they nest on the mainland.
Colour me pink
Closer to home, Komodo Island, Indonesia is home to the Pink Beach with sand so uniquely coloured that you might confuse it for a science project. Under the sunlight, the sand at Komodo Island blushes a spectacular shade of pink. The snazzy colour comes from a mixture of white sand and red coral fragments that make for a truly Instagram-able sight. Komodo Island is an hour's boat ride away from the nearest town. The fairly isolated location of the beach means that you will not be left sharing the beautiful scenery with hordes of tourists. Snorkelling is a must at this beach where the underwater corals and fish are so strikingly coloured against the crystal clear waters. It is no wonder that the waters of Komodo National Park are known to be amongst the best diving spots in the world.
The town of Gozo, Malta, is home to one of the world's most unique beaches. The sand at this beach is a distinct rusty orange colour that cannot be found anywhere else. The beautiful contrast of the bright blue waters of Ramla Bay beach against the orange sand is in itself an experience of a life-time. The orange pigment comes from the high levels of naturally-occurring iron in the sand. The Orange Beach is unique not only for its brightly coloured sand but also for the Roman ruins scattered around the area. Visitors to the beach will find that the close-by Calypso Cave is home many fascinating ancient Roman ruins, including a statue of Virgin Mary that was erected in 1881. The surrounding landscape adds to this art work of a beach with rocky cliffs following the curve of the bay. Put up at the close-by Ramla Bay Beach Resort so you can take a quick walk down to the waters whenever you're in the mood.
Green with envy
The Papakōlea beach located in the Kaū district of Hawaii is a rare geologic phenomenon. The sand at this beach has an amazing green tinge to it thanks to something called 'olivine' (whatever that is!). The beach itself has quite a backstory. It's in a bay cut by the ocean created thousands of years ago from a cinder cone eruption. It can be reached easily by car but locals will tell you that the best way to get there would be by hiking along the shore. Don't worry, the hike is quite short and very worth it. Apart from the breath-taking views of the shoreline, hiking beachgoers will also get to explore the many ancient sites peppered along the route. Remember to stay as close as possible to the coast while hiking. If the spectacular views don't knock you off your feet, the strong winds might.
The Red Beach is arguably one of the most famous beaches of Santorini. Loved by locals and tourists alike, the vibrant hue of the sand will be sure to leave your eyes confused. Located near the ancient site of Akrotiri, the volcanic lava red rocks, pebbles and sand make for a rare scenery that you won't find anywhere else in the world. Temperatures at Santorini can reach scorching levels in the summer months. The best way to cool down? Jumping into the invitingly cool waters of course! You'll find that the crystal clear waters of the Red Beach make it a perfect spot for snorkelling so don't forget to come prepared for an afternoon of exploring the waters.