Thought I’d start off the new year by sharing what we feel are the best beaches in Australia to get you inspired for your own trip Down Under.
It’s the middle of summer in Oz after all and Australia is all about the beaches.
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.
In case you didn’t know, Australia’s coastline stretches for 50,000 kilometres and is linked by over 10,000 beaches. That’s a lot of beaches in Australia.
Whilst I have barely put a dent in that number, after traveling around Australia for the past 15 months I think I’ve set foot on many of Australia’s best beaches.
So it got me thinking what beaches I would recommend if you were visiting Australia?
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).
But, if I had to suggest my favourite beaches in Australia so far that I have personally visited, here they are state by state.
Best beaches in Western Australia
1. The Basin, Rottnest Island
No words needed. I mean, just look at that scene below. And no it’s not the Great Barrier Reef. Rottnest Island is located 18 kilometres 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 a good one.
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. Very popular with locals, 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. Pinky beach is easily accessible from the main town on Rotto and Bathurst Lighthouse makes for a lovely backdrop.
4. Coral Bay
Coral Bay is one of WA’s favourite holiday spots and now I know why.
Grab your snorkeling gear, step off the beach and immerse yourself in the natural beauty just metres from shore. It’s part of the Ningaloo Reef region, and the town is pretty laid back too!
5. Sandy Bay, Exmouth
This beach is pure paradise.
Endless white sand, crystal clear water, dark blue skies. The shallow waters make it an excellent beach for kids. Also located within Ningaloo Marine Park.
6. Turquoise Bay, Exmouth
Dive into the waters of Turquoise Bay and your swimming within metres of famous Ningaloo Reef.
Torquoise Bay in the Cape Range National Park is brilliant beach for swimming, snorkeling or just relaxing.
Try your hand at the popular drift snorkel on the southern end of the beach, then letting the current wash you north.
7. Cable Beach, Broome
Cable Beach regularly ranks as one of the top 5 best beaches in Australia. No arguments from me!
Long, flat, picturesque and perfect for beach cricket and the legendary sunset camel rides. Go ride a camel or sip on a cocktail and watch the sun go down.
8. Town Beach, Broome
Not a great beach for swimming or walking or much else.
But I simply loved sitting here of a morning at the cafe whilst the kids played in the playground. I mean, look at the VIEW!! And this is the location for the famous “staircase to the moon”.
Best beaches in the Northern Territory
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 so when in town, don’t miss this spot. It’s one of the best beaches in Australia for sunsets.
Best beaches in Queensland
10. 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!
11. 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.
12. Agnes Water Beach
The tiny laid back beach town of Agnes Water is next door to the super laid back Town of 1770. Loved this beach surrounded by nature with gentle waves for the kids and pretty sunsets at night – yep on the east coast!
13. Seventy Five Mile Beach, Fraser Island
Had so much fun four wheel driving on 75 Mile Beach, located on famous Fraser Island, the largest sand island in the world.
It’s wild and rugged, apparently good beach fishing, and you’ll see wild dingos roaming AND a shipwreck.
14. Noosa Main Beach, Sunshine Coast
There’s no doubt about it. There’s a reason thousands flock to Noosa each year to surf, swim or walk along Main Beach.
Another family friendly beach and on a sunny day it’s one of the best places to be on the Sunshine Coast.
15. Mooloolaba Beach, Sunshine Coast
We lived in Mooloolaba for 18 months and fell in love with this beach.
As a beach town, Mooloolaba is hard to beat with great swimming, cafes, restaurants, parks, BBQ areas, playgrounds, and one of the best beach-side promenade walks anywhere.
16. Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast
We also lived in Burleigh Heads for 18 months and early morning sunrise at Burleigh Point watching the surfers ride the waves was one of my favourite moments on the Gold Coast.
Burleigh has it all like Mooloolaba – great beach, cafes, bars and promenade.
17. Coolangatta Beach, Gold Coast
Ever since Caz and I got engaged on Coolangatta Beach in 2001 it has been special 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.
Great beach AND town and sunset views over Surfers Paradise!
New South Wales
18. Byron Bay
Byron Bay is that legendary beach side town on the NSW North Coast famous for surfing and an alternative lifestyle.
Byron has 5 great beaches to choose from, but it’s Main Beach which sees most of the visitors walking, swimming and enjoying a beach side BBQ.
19. Wategos Beach
Just around the corner from Byron Bay, is 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. There’s a BBQ area to enjoy or make yourself up a picnic and sit on the beach.
20. Red Rocks Beach, Coffs Coast
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.
21. Palm Beach, Sydney
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 winter it’s the perfect place to spot migrating humpback whales.
22. Bronte Beach, Sydney
There are many great beaches in Sydney, but another fave is BronteBeach.
A beautiful beach with a small main street giving it 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 and the HUGE grass and BBQ area is great for gatherings.
23. Bondi Beach, Sydney
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 – go there at least once.
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.
24. Hyams Beach, Jervis Bay
Hyams Beach is in the Guinness Book of Records for having the whitest sand in the world.
It’s fine, soft and WHITE. Located in the Jervis Bay region just 180km south of Sydney, it’s a great family beach and doesn’t have the highrise development like many north coast beaches.
25. Green Patch Beach, Jervis Bay
When I first set eyes on Green Patch Beach I was blown away and felt it just as spectacular as Hyams in nearby Jervis Bay.
The water was clean and clear and the sand soft and beautiful to walk on. We spent two nights camping in the campground right on the beach.
26. Greenfield Beach, Jervis Bay
Greenfield Beach is another pristine beach in the Jervis Bay region with that beautiful white powdery sand.
Another family friendly beach perfect for swimming with clear aqua water and small waves, and it’s a top spot for a beach side BBQ.
27. Pebbly Beach, Murramarang National Park
Located in Murramarang National Park on the NSW south coast, Pebbly Beach is most famous as the place to see wild kangaroos hopping around on the sand.
They are used to human interaction and there’s a chance you can get up close and personal. Our kids loved it.
28. Squeaky Beach, Wilsons Promontory National Park
I’d never heard of Squeaky Beach until last year, but let me tell you it’s all pristine, mind blowing goodness.
29. St Kilda Beach, Melbourne
I know, it’s not that great of a beach, but it’s a Melbourne beach and on the tram line and close to the CBD and 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!
30. Elwood Beach, Melbourne
My favourite beach in Melbourne and a popular bayside beach and great for families.
Not as accessible from the city as St Kilda (you need a car) but the water was clean and popular for windsurfing, cycling, playing cricket and walking.
31. Bells Beach, Great Ocean Road
One of Australia’s most famous and best surfing beaches. Bells Beach holds the annual Rip Curl Pro Surfing Competition and is the powerful point break of folklore.
Heard of the movie Point Break? That’s our Bells! Must visit on the Great Ocean Road.
32. 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 walk down Gibson Steps to get up close and personal with mother nature.
Just be careful of the tides so you don’t get trapped.
33. 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 a highlight of visiting the Great Ocean Road.
34. 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 sea plane from Hobart.
35. Bay of Fires
The Bay of Fires is situated on the north east coast of Tasmania, and is a region of white beaches, blue water and these incredible rock formations made of orange-hued granite.
36. Binalong Bay
Situated at the southern end of the Bay of Fires (can that place get any better?). Take a walk here then finish off with a great coffee and view from the Binalong Bay Cafe.
37. 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’ll will find yourself all alone on famous Wine Glass Bay. Imagine having this place to yourself? We did.
38. Bicheno Beach
I wish we spent more time in Bicheno instead of just a lunch break on one of our driving days. Located on the east coast of Tasmania this beach and small town was very inviting and hard to leave.
Need more tips for Australia travel?
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What do you feel is the best beach in Australia? Share in the comments below!