by Ben Groundwater

The idea is paradise: white sand lapped by turquoise waters; palm trees swaying in a light breeze; someone in a floral shirt handing you a never-ending supply of cocktails with little umbrellas in them.

Sadly though, beach holidays don’t always work out that way. The dream doesn’t always match up with reality. In fact, if you visit certain beaches at the wrong time of year, or are unlucky enough to encounter a freak mishap at any time, then your slice of paradise might just turn into the gates of hell…   

Jellyfish in Queensland

It seems a painful irony that the very time you would really like to go for a swim in far-north Queensland – summer – is also the time you’re not allowed to. There’s good reason for that ban, too: summer is stinger season, when the warm, calm oceans play host to the potentially lethal likes of box jellyfish and Irukandji.

What to do: It is possible to swim in summer as long as you’re wearing a “stinger suit”, a sort of lycra cover-all to protect from jellyfish. Otherwise, hit the many public pools, or wait until the cooler months, when the ocean is still pleasant enough for a dip.

Monsoon in the Maldives

There’s little point visiting tropical paradise if you’re going to find yourself trapped indoors all day by torrential downpours. That’s something that can happen to visitors in the Maldives if they choose to time their trip with the annual monsoon season, which hits from May to November, and is at its peak in July and August.

What to do: You may choose to visit during monsoon anyway, as prices are generally lower, and most storms hit in the afternoon and evening. If, however, you want reliable sunshine with low humidity, it’s best to visit from December to April.

Cold in Costa Brava

Too hot to go to the beach? It sounds crazy, but in the United Arab Emirates it’s true. In summer in Dubai the average high temperatures hit around 40 degrees, which can take visitors by surprise: it’s far too hot to do anything except lounge around in the air-conditioning.

What to do: If you really want to hit the beach in Dubai, consider visiting in winter. The average high temperatures in December are 26 degrees – perfect for working on that tan without roasting like a chicken.

Sunburn in Tasmania

You would think, given you’re in Australia’s southernmost state, that sunburn wouldn’t be much of an issue in Tasmania, when you hit the golden sands of Wineglass Bay or Hazards Beach. However, you would be wrong. Despite the cooler temperatures, UV levels in Tassie are roughly the same as the rest of Australia, which means sunburn is a major concern for budding beachgoers – and it often catches people out.

What to do: Cover up. Or wear sunscreen, the same factor 50+ you would be slathering on and reapplying in the likes of Sydney or the Gold Coast. Another option is to wait until winter to hit the beach, but we wouldn’t advise that: Tasmania gets very cold. 

Strong winds in Vanuata

Vanuatu is a stunning country, a series of tropical islands that vary in their degrees of development, from the bustle of Port Vila to the isolation of Tanna. The country is also, sadly, prone to major cyclones, which can – and have – put a very swift end to dream beach holidays as destruction is wreaked.

What to do: Cyclone season in Vanuatu is November to April, when strong winds are more than likely to hit. Visit outside of those months and you’ll get cooler weather, less humidity, and far less chance of having to hunker down in a safe space when cyclonic winds blow in.

Eruptions in Bali

Nothing ruins a beach holiday quite like not being able to make it there in the first place, and that’s what has happened to some travellers in the last few years hoping to make their way to Bali. Mount Agung is a very active volcano in the east of the island, and when there’s ash in the air, flights are grounded.

What to do: There’s no predicting what Mt Agung might do, which means the only course of action if you want to fly to Bali is to cross your fingers. That’s worth doing though, because statistically speaking, your chances of being delayed are still slim and tropical, laidback Bali is worth the risk. 

Sharks in NSW

Beautiful Byron Bay is heaven for those who like sand, sun, and a little hippie flavour to their holiday experience. Unfortunately, however, the northern NSW coastline is also a favourite destination for sharks – large, hungry sharks, who have been responsible for 27 attacks in the Byron region in the last 30 years.

What to do: Bear in mind that, statistically, shark attacks are still very rare, even in this part of the world. If you’re not a surfer, and you aren’t heading into the ocean at dawn or dusk, then you have an even lower chance of running into trouble.

Heat in the UAE

Too hot to go to the beach? It sounds crazy, but in the United Arab Emirates it’s true. In summer in Dubai the average high temperatures hit around 40 degrees, which can take visitors by surprise: it’s far too hot to do anything except lounge around in the air-conditioning.

What to do: If you really want to hit the beach in Dubai, consider visiting in winter. The average high temperatures in December are 26 degrees – perfect for working on that tan without roasting like a chicken.

Location

Tom & Teddy, 7 Southfield Road,Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol, BS9 3BG

Contact

Tel: 0117 908 6023

contact@tomandteddy.com