46 of the Best Beaches in Australia To Set Foot On
Australia is home to many incredible beaches, and it’s one of the main reasons why people visit here! From excellent surfing spots to whale watching sights to tropical island life, there’s so much to see and enjoy from one of the best beaches in Australia.
In case you didn’t know, Australia’s coastline stretches for 50,000 kilometers and is linked by over 10,000 beaches. That’s a lot of beaches!
But what are the best beaches in Australia? What can you simply not miss on a trip Down Under? This guide reveals 46 of the best Australian beaches that should not be missed.
Does Australia Have Nice Beaches?
Australia’s landscape is some of the most diverse and beautiful in the world. Sure we have the Outback, cosmopolitan cities, and charming country towns, but it’s the beach lifestyle that sets Australia apart.
It’s the smell and taste of salt water. The sun’s rays on your back. The sand between your toes. The smell of sunscreen being applied to your face. The cool breeze that blows on a hot day. Beach side BBQ’s and picnics on the grass. Reading a book or listening to tunes. Thongs (flip flops) board shorts and a singlet. A towel over the shoulder. A morning walk or a sunset drink. Building sandcastles with the kids. Body surfing and beach cricket. Smiling faces and tanned skin.
After traveling around Australia for 18 months, I have lost count of the amount of Australia’s best beaches I set foot on.
Each and every one of them is special and unique in their own way, but there’s one thing they all have in common – they’re all undeniably beautiful.
The Best Beaches in Western Australia
So without further ado, here are the top beaches in Australia to make sure you visit. Whether you’re looking for somewhere pristine and relaxing, or thriving with marine life, there’s a beach for everyone on this list.
To be honest this list could be HUGE and it’s difficult to narrow down. I haven’t visited South Australia yet and still have the bottom half of Western Australia to go (they will be added later).
1. The Basin, Rottnest Island
No words needed. I mean, just look at that scene! The turquoise water, the corals, and the sand that’s so white it blinds you. And no it’s not the Great Barrier Reef.
Rottnest Island is located 18 kilometers off the coast of Perth, and if you only visit one beach on “Rotto” make it THE BASIN.
Bring your snorkeling gear!
2. Cottesloe Beach, Perth
As far as city beaches go, Cottesloe Beach in Perth is one of the best.
It’s a great place to have an early morning swim, or later on grab some fish & chips and a bottle of wine and take in the sunset.
It’s a very popular spot with locals, so parking can be horrendous. But on a sunny day, it’s a top spot to be!
3. Pinky Beach, Rottnest Island
Another stunning beach on Rottnest Island is Pinky Beach.
Pinky beach is easily accessible from the main town on Rotto and Bathurst Lighthouse makes for a lovely place to relax.
As you can see, it’s a quiet beach with gorgeous white sand and corals near the shoreline. Be sure to pack your snorkeling gear and bring an umbrella, as there is no shade on this beach.
4. Coral Bay Beach
Coral Bay is one of Western Australia’s favourite holiday spots and now I know why.
Grab your snorkeling gear, step off the beach and immerse yourself in the beautiful marine life that lives just meters from shore.
It’s part of the Ningaloo Reef region and is considered one of the best beaches in Australia for snokelling. I mean, of course, it is, it’s in the name!
The town is pretty laid back too, so make sure you spend a couple of days here.
5. Sandy Bay, Exmouth
This beach is pure paradise.
Made up of endless white sand, crystal clear water, and dark blue skies. The shallow waters make it an excellent beach for kids to paddle and play in.
It’s also located in Cape Range National Park, as well as within Ningaloo Marine Park, so you should bring your snorkelling gear and explore the reefs.
Like many beaches in Western Australia, Sandy Bay is picturesque but sparse of shade cover, so bring an umbrella with you to protect you from the sun.
6. Turquoise Bay, Exmouth
Just down the road from Sandy Bay are the stunning waters of Turquoise Bay. Pack your swimming gear and snorkel as you’ll be within metres of the famous Ningaloo Reef.
Torquoise Bay is located in the Cape Range National Park and is a brilliant beach for swimming, snorkeling, or just relaxing.
Try your hand at the popular drift snorkel on the southern end of the beach, and allow the current to wash you north.
7. Cable Beach, Broome
Cable Beach regularly ranks as one of the top 5 best beaches in Australia in top travel magazines. No arguments from me!
Long, flat, picturesque, and perfect for beach cricket and the legendary sunset camel rides. Cable Beach is the perfect place to hang out if you’re visiting nearby Broome.
Go ride a camel or sip on a cocktail in a beach bar and watch the sun go down. Bliss!
8. Town Beach, Broome
Town Beach is located in Broome and is not the best beach for swimming, but its picturesque beauty makes up for it! It’s known for being a pink sand beach with green mangroves, swaying palm trees and stunning turquoise waters.
But I simply loved sitting here one morning at the cafe whilst the kids played in the playground. You’ll find many backpackers and creative types slacklining between the trees.
It’s a great place for people-watching. I mean, look at the VIEW!! And this is the location for the famous “staircase to the moon”.
Best Beaches in the Northern Territory
The Northern Territory is often overlooked as a place for stunning beaches, but there are a few worth checking out. Here are our favourites…
9. Mindil Beach, Darwin
One of the best places in Darwin to see the sunset, as you can see from the amount of people sitting on the beach.
Not a place for swimming due to crocs, but the Mindil Beach markets are also legendary! When in town, don’t miss this spot. It’s one of the best beaches in Australia for sunsets.
10. Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Australian Indian Ocean Territories
Photo Credit: Flickr
The Cocos (Keeling) Islands are an Australian territory in the Indian Ocean, and so many people don’t realize they belong to Australia!
If you want to go scuba diving that’s not on the Great Barrier Reef, then this is the next best place to be.
Consisting of two atolls, surrounded by 27 coral islands, visitors will find themselves completely off the beaten path if they explore here. Of these islands, only two are inhabited, West Island and Home Island, and are home to only 600 people.
The islands were discovered in 1609 by the British sea captain, William Keeling, but it wasn’t settled until the 19th century. It became part of Australia in 1955.
Today, the islands are a blissful paradise with white sand beaches, palm trees, unspoiled natural beauty and thriving marine life. This still remains a hidden gem in Australia.
Best Beaches in Queensland
Queensland is probably the most popular state to visit for beaches. It’s home to tropical islands, the Great Barrier Reef, and pristine national parks.
Here are our favourite beaches in Queensland!
11. Cape Tribulation, Daintree National Park
When you have two World Heritage places smack bang against each other (Daintree Rainforest and The Great Barrier Reef) you know it’s going to be something special.
Take a walk or go kayaking in paradise!
12. Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Islands
Whitehaven Beach is probably my favourite beach in Oz, and has been ranked 3rd BEST beach in the world on Trip Advisor.
It shot to fame when Oprah Winfrey dug her toes into the pure white silica sand on her trip down under.
The view from Hill Inlet of the swirling patterns of turquoise water and white sand is picture postcard perfect.
In fact, Whitehaven Beach is not the only reasons to visit the Whitsunday’s. There are so many stunning beaches in this island archipelago, it deserves a few days of island hopping during your trip to Australia.
13. Agnes Water Beach
This tiny, laid-back beach town of Agnes Water is next door to the super laid-back Town of 1770.
We loved this beach which is surrounded by nature, grassy cliffs, and unspoiled beauty. The waves are gentle by the shore which is great for kids to splash around in.
Further out, the waves are good for surfing. It also has pretty sunsets at night – yep, even on the east coast!
14. Seventy Five Mile Beach, Fraser Island
This beach is not for swimming, but it is the best beach in Australia for adventurers. The 75 mile beach on Fraser Island is famous for being the island’s highway! Fraser Island is an incredibly cool place to visit in Australia, and is the largest sand island in the world.
We had so much fun four-wheel driving on 75 Mile Beach. If you time your visit right, you can see whales swimming just off the shore.
It’s wild and rugged, apparently a good beach for fishing. It also has some wildlife on the shores, as you’ll see wild dingos roaming around.
One of the most iconic landmarks on the beach is a shipwreck.
Watch our video below to learn more about Fraser Island and all the adventures it offers:
15. Noosa Main Beach, Sunshine Coast
There’s no doubt about it, Noosa is stunning. There’s a reason thousands flock to Noosa each year to surf, swim or walk along Main Beach.
Noosa is a great, family-friendly beach and on a sunny day, it’s one of the best places to be on the Sunshine Coast.
It’s also located in the town so restaurants and cafes are just a stone’s throw away.
16. Mooloolaba Beach, Sunshine Coast
Another great beach on the Sunshine Coast is Mooloolaba Beach. We lived in Mooloolaba for 18 months and fell in love with this beach, not only because of how stunning it is but because of how lively it is.
As a beach town, Mooloolaba is hard to beat. It has great swimming, cafes, restaurants, parks, BBQ areas, playgrounds, and one of the best beach-side promenade walks anywhere.
It’s another one of the top beaches in Australia for families with small kids because the waves are small. And there are lifeguards on duty for peace of mind.
Want to know more about the Sunshine Coast? Check out our video below:
17. Burleigh Heads Beach, Gold Coast
We also lived in Burleigh Heads for 18 months, and nothing beats an early morning sunrise at Burleigh Point watching the surfers ride the waves. It was one of my favourite moments when we lived on the Gold Coast.
Burleigh Heads has it all like Mooloolaba – a great beach, cafes, bars and promenade. It has a lively scene during the day and is popular among locals and tourists alike.
18. Coolangatta Beach, Gold Coast
Ever since Caz and I got engaged on Coolangatta Beach in 2001, it has been a special place in our hearts.
Everywhere you turn people are out and about surfing, cycling, jogging, doing yoga in the beachside parks, hanging in the cafes and children racing around the playgrounds.
It’s one of the best places to surf in Australia and the beach is very clean and well-maintained. The waves are a little strong for children to paddle in, but they will enjoy building sand castles on the beach.
This is a great beach AND town! Plus the sunset views over Surfers Paradise are beautiful!
19. Four Mile Beach, Port Douglas
Four mile beach
Four Mile Beach is a four-mile long beach (duh!) located on the East coast of Australia, just north of Cairns.
It has soft, golden sand and crystal-clear blue water – it’s like a tropical island paradise but on the mainland.
The beach is well maintained and great for families since the waves are more gentle here.
You’ll find palm trees lining the beach and there’s always a gentle, cool breeze.
You can spend your days relaxing, swimming, or sunbathing under the palms. It’s the perfect spot to relax and enjoy being on one of Australia’s top beaches.
New South Wales
Another state with incredible beaches is New South Wales. This state is home to some of the most iconic Australian beaches, including….
20. Byron Bay
Byron Bay is that legendary beach side town on the NSW North Coast that is world-famous for surfing and an alternative lifestyle.
Byron actually has 5 great beaches to choose from, but it’s Main Beach is what sees most of the tourists, who visit to walk the promenade, go swimming and enjoy a beach side BBQ.
It’s also famous for surfing, so if you’re ever looking for somewhere to learn to surf, make sure you learn at Bondi!
21. Wategos Beach
Just around the corner from Byron Bay, is the beautiful Wategos Beach.
Wategos is protected by the headland making it an awesome beach for swimming AND riding a long-board with the gentle waves.
The beach itself is small with a few rocky areas, but it’s clean and often less crowded. There’s a BBQ area that visitors can use, or you can make yourself up a picnic and sit on the beach.
22. Red Rocks Beach, Coffs Coast
Located on the Sydney to Brisbane road trip route, is the gorgeous hidden gem of Red Rock Beach.
One of those hidden gems tucked away. Beautiful sweeping beach with an impressive headland and red coloured rocks that lead you into to the crystal clear water.
The waves here can be quite strong on the main beach, so it’s not always the best place to swim, but near the Corindi River on Little Beach you’ll find a good, protected spot for surfing.
You can snorkel around the rocks or drift snorkel on the inflowing tide, or paddle in the bay of Little Beach.
23. Palm Beach, Sydney
If you’re visiting Sydney, you need to make a day trip over to the northern beaches. Palm Beach is Sydney’s most northern beach and possibly our favourite beach in Sydney.
You don’t have the crowds you get at say Bondi or Manly Beach, and in the winter it’s the perfect place to spot migrating humpback whales.
Plus it’s clean and a good spot for swimming.
24. Bronte Beach, Sydney
image via Shutterstock.com
There are many great beaches in Sydney, but another fave is Bronte Beach.
It’s a beautiful beach with a small main street with a great vibe. We always stop here when we do the legendary Bondi Beach to Coogee coastal walk.
The rock pool is awesome for the kids to see small marine life, and the HUGE grass and BBQ area is great for gatherings.
If you’re looking for beaches in Australia with a lively atmosphere, this is one of the best.
25. Bondi Beach, Sydney
Bondi Beach, Sydney’s most famous beach. Image: Shutterstock.com
I hesitate to put Bondi Beach on any list because it’s not one of my favourite beaches in Australia, but hey it’s Bondi and one of Australia’s most famous beaches – so you need to go there at least once if you’re visiting New South Wales.
I don’t think you could get any more Australian than learning to surf at Bondi.
And the views from Bondi Icebergs as you sip on an afternoon beer are spectacular.
Be warned though, as the most famous beach in Australia, it can be incredibly busy. Get there early to find a spot.
26. Hyams Beach, Jervis Bay
Hyams Beach is in the Guinness Book of Records for having the whitest sand in the world, and it’s blinding! (in a good way).
It’s fine, soft, and WHITE – just look at the picture. Located in the Jervis Bay region just 180km south of Sydney, and is makes for a great day trip from Sydney.
It’s a great family beach and doesn’t have the highrise development like many north coast beaches.
27. Green Patch Beach, Jervis Bay
When I first set eyes on Green Patch Beach I was blown away. I felt it was just as spectacular as Hyams Beach in nearby Jervis Bay.
The water was clean and clear and the sand was soft and beautiful to walk on. Plus the waves were gentle and the water was crystal clear.
We spent two nights camping in the campground right on the beach.
28. Greenfield Beach, Jervis Bay
Greenfield Beach is another pristine beach in the Jervis Bay region with that beautiful white powdery sand.
It’s a family-friendly beach that’s perfect for swimming with clear aqua water and small waves. Plus the shoreline slopes gradually so small children can paddle easily.
It’s a top spot for a beach side BBQ.
29. Pebbly Beach, Murramarang National Park
Located in Murramarang National Park on the NSW south coast, Pebbly Beach is most famous for being the place to see wild kangaroos hopping around on the sand.
There are very few beaches where you can share the beach with Australia’s most unique wildlife.
They are used to human interaction and there’s a chance you can get up close and personal. Our kids loved it.
Watch our video below of us hanging out with the kangaroos in NSW!
Heading further South, we have the state of Victoria. Victoria is home to Melbourne and the Great Ocean Road, where the scenic landscape continues…
30. Squeaky Beach, Wilsons Promontory National Park
I’d never heard of Squeaky Beach before visiting, but let me tell you – it’s all pristine, mind-blowing goodness.
Located in equally mind-blowing Wilsons Promontory National Park, just north-west of Tidal River, this was a highlight of our visit to Victoria and one of the best hidden gems in the state!
The beach gets its name because the sand squeaks underfoot as you walk on it. It also has pristine white sand, unique rock formations and great surf in crystal clear waters.
31. St Kilda Beach, Melbourne
I know, compared to the other beaches on this list it’s not that great of a beach, but it’s on the tram route so it’s really easy to get to.
Because it’s close to the CBD, many people visit here. It’s good for people-watching, penguin spotting, and cooling off on those scorching summer days.
At least go for the sunsets and the AMAZING cake shops!
32. Elwood Beach, Melbourne
My favourite beach in Melbourne is Elwood Beach. It’s a popular bayside beach and great for families looking for a beach their kids can paddle in.
Because it’s not as accessible from the city as St Kilda (you need a car), it’s much quieter.
The water is clean and clear, and is popular for windsurfing, cycling, playing cricket, and walking.
33. Bells Beach, Great Ocean Road
Bells Beach – credit Clogwog
One of Australia’s most famous and best surfing beaches is Bells Beach on the Great Ocean Road.
This is where you’ll find the annual Rip Curl Pro Surfing Competition which is a powerful point break of folklore.
Heard of the movie Point Break? That was filmed on Bells!
If you’re not a professional surfer, don’t attempt the waves here as they are massive! But you should still visit here to see the professionals at play.
34. Gibson Steps, Great Ocean Road
I have no idea if this beach even has a name, but when you drive the Great Ocean Road to go see The 12 Apostles, you get to it by walking down Gibson Steps. So that’s what we’re going with!
This is a great beach for getting up close and personal with mother nature. You can see the impressive rock formations from a whole new perspective, which is what makes this coastal region so famous.
Just be careful of the tides so you don’t get trapped.
35. Loch Ard Gorge, Great Ocean Road
Again, I don’t know if this beach within the Loch Ard Gorge has a name, and the water was COLD and not the safest place for swimming, but it was really gorge-ous!
It’s located in a bay and is surrounded by huge rocky cliffs. Just being in the gorge felt awe-inspiring. This was definitely a highlight of visiting the Great Ocean Road for us.
The island of Tasmania is one of the best places to visit in Australia if you’re a fan of nature. And especially if you’re a fan of beaches!
36. Hazards Beach
Located in Freycinet National Park (our favourite place in Tassie), we fell in love with Hazards Beach.
Base yourself in Coles Bay and combine it with the walk to Wine Glass Bay. Or, do it in style and take a seaplane from Hobart.
The sand is fine, the water is blue, and the waves are soft. You can swim here, but they are unpatrolled so swim with care.
37. Bay of Fires
The Bay of Fires is situated on the northeast coast of Tasmania and is a region of white beaches, blue water, and these incredible rock formations made of orange-hued granite.
The bay was named in 1773 by an adventurer named Captain Tobias Furneaux, who saw the fires of Aboriginal people on the beaches.
If you’re lucky, you might even see the seals in their natural habitat. There are also camping grounds and hiking trails in the nearby national park.
This is a beach you could spend a full day exploring and not see it all.
38. Binalong Bay
Situated at the southern end of the Bay of Fires is Binalong Bay, which has a small town with quaint cafes and boutique B&Bs – the Binalong Bay Cafe has great coffee. It’s also a great place to go camping.
Nearby you can go kayaking, hiking or mountain biking. If you have a fishing license, this is a great spot to go fishing, too.
If you like snorkelling, swim around one of the numerous rock pools and you’ll be amazed by the amount of marine life!
39. Wineglass Bay
You must visit Freycinet National Park, the home of Wineglass Bay, it’s our favourite place in Tasmania.
Make the effort to get up at first light to do the walk and you will find yourself all alone on famous Wine Glass Bay. Imagine having this place to yourself? We did.
It’s a bit of a hike to visit Wineglass Bay but it’s totally worth it. The view is stunning and it’s certainly one of Tasmania’s most pristine beaches. The hike is mostly uphill so pack plenty of water. It only takes about an hour each way.
40. Bicheno Beach
I wish we spent more time in Bicheno as there are several small beaches here where you can swim and enjoy being on the Tasmania coast.
Located on the east coast of Tasmania, is Waubs Beach. It’s located in the small town of Bicheno and was very inviting and hard to leave.
The beach is small but it has beautiful clear water and is a great spot for a swim! It’s surrounded by rocks which are a great place to snorkel around with care.
If you’re lucky, you might even see some penguins come to shore at night time.
Best Beaches in South Australia
If you’re heading to the South of Australia, you should definitely check out these stunning South Australia beaches!
41. Fishery Bay
If you’re visiting South Australia, you must drive out to Fishery Bay. We had a thrill driving out to Fisheries – a kangaroo came bounding beside us to drag race us. Boy, can they jump fast! We were driving about 40km/hr, and it managed to stay up with us for a good minute or so.
Fishery Bay would easily make our top beaches in Australia list. It’s stunning – powdery white sand that curves around in the bay, crystal clear turquoise water, rolling waves, and not a soul to be seen.
Fishery Bay is a surfing beach. As a local told us, it’s also known for its Great White Sharks out beyond in the channel. So swim carefully and close to shore.
42. Coffin Bay Peninsula
It might sound like a morbid town, but picturesque Coffin Bay is anything but.
The town was not named after wooden boxes built for the afterlife, but after a friend of explorer, Matthew Flinders. Coffin Bay is famous in Australia for the oysters that grow in its waters.
I’m not a devoted oyster lover; I can have one or two, and that’s enough. I could have easily sat down and eaten a dozen of the oysters from Coffin Bay. In fact, we ate a couple dozen during our time in the region.
Coffin Bay oysters are outstanding and the best I’ve ever eaten.
Coffin Bay is only 46km from Port Lincoln so you can easily visit on a day trip. We visited in the morning on the way to Elliston.
43. Western River Cove
Western River was my favorite beach on Kangaroo Island
Western River Cove was one of the most beautiful beaches on Kangaroo Island for us. It’s a little off the normal tourist trail, but well worth fitting it into your Kangaroo Island road trip itinerary.
The drive to the beach through rolling green farmlands is spectacular and so different from the rest of Kangaroo Island.
Driving back out of Western Cove the scenery turned to red clay and quite Outback looking showcasing the diversity of the island and why you want to spend some time driving around it.
44. Emu Bay
Beach driving on Emu Bay
We almost didn’t go to Emu Bay. It was the last beach on our list to see and we almost said, “Oh, it couldn’t be better than what we’ve seen.” I’m so glad we brushed that thought aside.
Turquoise water and a huge beach of hard white sand is perfect for beach driving! Way to change up the level of your road trip on Kangaroo Island.
It’s one of only two beaches on the island you can drive on – the other is Snellings Beach. It’s as hard as a road so no need to let the pressure out of your tyres. We had a little cruise up and down.
45. Vivonne Bay
Vivonne Bay – one of the best beaches in Australia
Vivonne Bay is often said to be one of the best beaches in Australia. It is spectacular, although I was expecting a little more Wow. Although, I don’t think we visited in the best weather or time of day, which we all know changes things.
One of the best vantage points is from the westernmost point near the jetty looking back on the beach. If you have time, there is also a small sheltered beach that may be good for swimming. Do check with the locals though for the best spots.
46. Port Willunga
Port Willunga is just a 45 kilometre drive from Adelaide and a must-visit in the Barossa Valley.
What makes this beach unique, is the series of hidden caves. These caves were cut into the cliff walls by fishermen to help protect their boats and nets.
If you love photography, you’ll love the photos you can take down here of the cliffs and caves looking in and out. Port Willunga used to be a grain port, the only sign of that now is a few jetty pylons, which adds a beautiful foreground element.
Sunsets here are meant to be magnificent. We had an overcast day so did not get the full splendor of the watercolor, but it was beautiful even in its greyness.
Before You Go
So there you have it, those are 46 of the most beautiful beaches in Australia, and as you can see, there are plenty of beaches to see!
Whether you’re looking for somewhere to dive, or just somewhere with gorgeous scenery, there’s a beach in Australia for everyone.
Before you go, make sure you pack accordingly when you visit the beach. The sun can be very strong in Australia, so wear sun protection. Be sure to wear “reef safe” sun cream, so your sun scream doesn’t hurt the marine life while swimming.
Please also remember to pick up your rubbish and keep these stunning beaches looking stunning.
“Take only photographs, leave only footprints.”
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