Are These Australia's Best Beaches?
Pack your cossies and your beach towel because nothing says ‘getaway’ like a trip to the beach.
With more than 10,000 sandy stretches spread around Australia’s coastline, there is a shore with your name on it. Take your pick between tucked-away coves with rock pools, endless strips of white-blonde sand or strands that have been luring beach-seekers in for generations. While we’ve yet to come across a beach we don’t like, some are simply a cut above the rest. And on that note, we’re sharing our list of 18 of Australia’s best beaches. Just don’t forget to slip, slop, slap.
Whitehaven Beach, Whitsundays QLD
Image: Jules Ingall; Tourism and Events Queensland
It is hard to imagine a beach being more picture-perfect than Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsundays. This seven-kilometre stretch of sandy bliss is as pristine as beaches come, and is a constant fixture in lists naming the worlds’ best beaches. This bleach-blonde beauty is protected by the Whitsunday Islands National Park, and can be accessed by high-speed catamaran, helicopter or seaplane.
Turquoise Bay, Coral Coast WA
Image: Tourism Western Australia
Turquoise Bay on WA’s Coral Coast is no stranger to featuring on best beaches lists. Located in the Cape Range National Park and fringed by Ningaloo Reef, Turquoise Bay is all white sand and too-blue water. The snorkelling is excellent. Wade into the bay at the beach’s southern end and let the current carry you over the reef. The beach is not patrolled and currents can be strong, so remember to take care.
Wineglass Bay, Freycinet Peninsula TAS
Image: Mark Chew; Tourism Australia
Perhaps Tasmania’s most famous beach, Wineglass Bay is ensconced within the beautiful landscape that is Freycinet National Park. To reach the lookout point requires a bit of huffing and puffing up a hill but the view makes a worthy reward. Once you’ve snapped a couple of photos, follow the downhill path until you step out onto iconic curved coastline. Rest a moment on the powdery white sand, or shimmy into your swimmers and take a dip in the clear water.
Hyams Beach, Jervis Bay NSW
Image: Discover Jervis Bay
Head to Hyams Beach on the NSW South Coast to walk along some of the whitest sand in the world. The calm swells make the water perfect for swimming, snorkelling and stand-up paddleboarding. Eager anglers can cast a line, and parents can watch children splash about from a beach towel on the sand. Hyams Beach is a stop along the White Sands Walk.
Ninety Mile Beach, Gippsland VIC
Image: John Krutop; Visit Victoria
Ninety Mile Beach is one of the longest uninterrupted beaches in the world, and the list of reasons to love Ninety Mile Beach is almost as long as the coastline itself. Stretching from Port Albert to Lakes Entrance, Ninety Mile Beach feels like a never-ending strip of unspoilt golden sand. From swimming and surfing to beachcombing and dolphin-spotting, Ninety Mile Beach offers something for every beachgoer.
Long Beach, Robe SA
Image: Adam Bruzzone; South Australia Tourism Commission
There are no prizes for guessing where Long Beach on SA’s Limestone Coast gets its name. Coming in at 10 kilometres, Long Beach stretches past Guichen Bay and Mount Benson all the way to Robe. The clean sand is a magnet for families and picnickers, plus visitors can also drive onto certain sections of the sands. Long Beach has good breaks for surfers, and a jetty is great for anglers looking to catch their dinner.
Bondi Beach, Sydney NSW
Image: Destination NSW
When a beach pulls enough rank to warrant its own TV show you know it has to be good. Sydney’s Bondi Beach is far from a well-kept secret (it is one of the busiest in the country), but with its gently curving shoreline and turquoise waters it has an undeniable pull for locals and out-of-towners alike. Summer sees beach-goers battling it out for prime position on the sand, and in winter the beachfront is almost exclusively yours save for surfers, joggers and brave swimmers.
Binalong Bay, East Coast TAS
Image: Graham Freeman; Tourism Australia
Sitting at the southern end of the Bay of Fires lies Binalong Bay. Much like other shorelines along the Tasmanian East Coast, Binalong Bay boasts beautiful blue water and clean white sand. What sets it apart however, are the clusters of orange-tinged boulders sprinkled along the coast. In season, whales, seals and sea eagles can be spotted from the shore.
Surfers Paradise Beach, Gold Coast QLD
Image: Tourism & Events Queensland
No visit to the Gold Coast is quite complete without seeing – be it for the first time or otherwise – the Surfers Paradise beach. This golden beauty features on postcards and tourism campaigns, and is one of Australia’s most recognisable shorelines. Surfers Paradise beach plays host to swimmers, surfers and walkers no matter the season. Lifeguards also man it year-round.
Mindil Beach, Darwin NT
Image: Allan Dixon; Tourism Australia
Home to Darwin’s famous Mindil Beach Sunset Markets, this pretty beach earns its place on this list thanks to its buzzing atmosphere and snap-worthy sunsets. The foreshore is sprinkled with coconut palms, and a heady perfume of spices fills the air on market nights. Grab a plate from one of the food stalls and move towards the beach. Kick off your shoes and tuck into your spread while watching the sunset.
Wategos Beach, Byron Bay NSW
Image: Destination NSW
Wategos Beach delivers everything Byron Bay is known for: sun, sand and surf. Located on the north side of Cape Byron and sitting just below the famous lighthouse, Wategos is a sheltered, blue-water destination. It is a magnet for surfers, swimmers and those with a packed picnic lunch. It is popular with the local bottlenose dolphins, too.
Lucky Bay, Golden Outback WA
Image: Rich Keam; Tourism Australia
Have you ever seen a photo of kangaroos lazing about on a amazingly-white beach? Chances are it was shot at Lucky Bay, a pristine slice of Cape Le Grand National Park. The water is a brilliant turquoise and great for swimming, and the sand is the perfect softness for squelching with your toes. Two camping areas are available, and there are a network of coastal tracks around the bay for those that tire of beach walks or gazing out to the horizon.
Vivonne Bay, Kangaroo Island SA
Image: Duy Dash; South Australian Tourism Commission
Located on the southern coast of Kangaroo Island, Vivonne Bay is all brilliant blue water and pristine white sand. While it isn’t exactly off-the-beaten track, it is secluded and offers private perches for picnics, sunbathing or reading. Cray fishing is big here, and you’ll regularly see boats bobbing on the horizon or coming and going from the town’s jetty.
Cable Beach, The Kimberley WA
Image: Tourism Western Australia
This 22-kilometre long beach boasts a gorgeous shoreline and picture-perfect breaks, and is named after the telegraph cable that first connected Broome and Java in 1889. It is Cable Beach’s sunsets that are the real spotlight-stealer though. Crowds gather just before dusk, either on a sandy spot or on the back of a camel, to watch the sun sink into the horizon and set the sky alight with reds, pinks and oranges. Spectacular.
Burleigh Heads Beach, Gold Coast NSW
Image: Tourism & Events Queensland
Burleigh Heads is the cool middle child that sits prettily between its neighbours: Surfers Paradise in the north, and Coolangatta to the south. Families, swimmers and surfers love this shoreline equally, drawn to the wide section of sand and the protected waters. The foreshore is lined with Norfolk Pine trees, and the Burleigh Heads National Park is located towards the southern end of the beach.
Greens Pool, South West WA
Image: Greg Snell; Tourism Western Australia
Tucked away in William Bay National Park is Greens Pool, a secluded cove home to calm waters and excellent snorkelling. Sloping boulders that have created smaller rock pools, ideal for wading and paddling, fringe Greens Pool. There is even a square-topped boulder sitting in the middle of the Pool – the perfect platform for adventurous types to jump of off.
Noosa Main Beach, Sunshine Coast QLD
Image: Tourism and Events Queensland
Gentle breaks, a north-facing aspect and year-round surf lifesaver patrols are just part of why Noosa Main Beach makes this list. The beach is a favourite with families and visitors but also ranks highly among Noosa natives. The waters are perfect for leisurely paddles or jumping waves, and budding surfers can try their luck hanging ten.
Norman Beach, Gippsland VIC
Image: Jeff Drewitz; Tourism Australia
Wilsons Promontory in Victoria isn’t short of gorgeous beaches but Norman Beach is one of the best. To the northern end of the beach is Tidal River, and the Oberon Bay Walking Track is located at the southern point. Norman Bay is patrolled by lifesavers during summer and offers a safe swimming spot. Surfers can head out with their boards south off the beach’s fifth access ramp.
Hero image: Image: Tourism and Events Queensland