TOWNSVILLE has long known it has the best beach in Australia but now the rest of the country knows it too.
The Strand was yesterday named Australia's Cleanest Beach as part of the Keep Australia Beautiful Australian Clean Beach Challenge.
The award, which put Townsville City Council "over the moon", took into account how effectively the community used the space, levels of visitor friendliness and hospitality, plant and wildlife management, activities for youth and conservation measures.
Keep Australia Beautiful board chairwoman Molly Robson said The Strand's status as a Townsville icon at the heart of civic and community activity had helped it clinch the title of Australia's Cleanest Beach.
"The Strand has become a major, all-age recreational focus for close to three million visitors each year," she said.
"It offers excellent visitor hospitality with its day and evening use facilities which include four beaches, two surf lifesaving clubs, freshwater swimming pool, a water play area and children's playgrounds.
"These and many other features make The Strand a deserving winner of the Australian title."
Deputy Mayor Ann Bunnell was in Redcliffe yesterday to accept the award.
"I'm over the moon," she said. "We see The Strand as the people's place of Townsville so this is really telling the rest of the country this is the best beach in Australia."
Cr Bunnell said she thought The Strand's conservation management, recycling, disability access, declared turtle nesting site and free waterpark helped it stand out.
The Strand's fitness trail, jetty, basketball court, amphitheatre, restaurants, kiosks and artwork and clear signage also received accolades from the judges.
Cr Bunnell said the council was still working on ways to make The Strand better, which included reducing the number of cigarette butts being discarded on site.
Sixty-nine per cent of the beach's three million visitors are locals.