Surrounded by more than 60,000 kilometers of sun-drenched coastline, Australia is known for its spectacular beaches. Many of these stunning beauties list the best beaches in the world, and with over 10,000 beaches in Australia to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect stretch of coastline for your favorite activity, whether it’s surfing, snorkeling, swimming or sunbathe.
Nature lovers will find nirvana on pristine stretches of sand and sea hidden in the wilderness. Surfers seek out glittering green-loop breaks and city dwellers love a beautiful beach with easy access to restaurants, shops and attractions. From coral-fringed bays in Western Australia and blonde bombshell beaches in New South Wales and Queensland to a curvaceous bay in Tasmania, and even a tropical island fantasy in the remote Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Australia has an attractive sand and sea range to to amaze even the most jaded beach lovers.
Read also: Top Beaches in Sydney, Australia
1 Whitehaven Beach, Queensland
Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsunday Islands along the Great Barrier Reef is not only one of Australia’s top stretches, it often ranks on lists of the best beaches in the world. The seven-kilometer-long arc of powdery white sand is actually silica, a silky-soft substance that creates a striking contrast with the tropical turquoise sea and emerald green headlands. Best of all, the beach is located within a national park on Whitsunday Island , ensuring that it remains protected and pristine despite the many day trippers who land on these shores.
Tongue Bay is a popular anchorage for bareboats and from Tongue Point you can take a 10 to 15 minute walk to the lookout point for breathtaking views over Hill Inlet , where striking shades of turquoise and blue mingle with the snow-white sand, creating a marbled mosaic when the tides shift. Camping is allowed on the south side of the beach.
If you’re short on time, hop aboard a seaplane and soar over the swirling seascape in an airplane. Most tourists visit the beach on day trips from Airlie Beach, Shute Harbor or one of the Whitsunday Island resorts.
Hamilton Island is a great base for exploring Whitehaven Beach and the Great Barrier Reef. The island offers a wide range of accommodation, from luxury resorts such as Beach Club and Qualia to the mid-range Whitsunday Apartments.
2 Turquoise Bay, West Australia
One of the most ravishing beaches in Western Australia, pristine Turquoise Bay, about 60 kilometers south of Exmouth in Cape Range National Park , is true to its name, with luminous blue-green water. It is also one of the few beaches on the mainland where you can snorkel on colorful coral reefs from the shore. World Heritage Ningaloo ReefAustralia’s largest fringing reef is just steps from the sand, with more than 250 species of coral and 500 different species of fish, including stingrays, sea turtles and whale sharks. One of the popular things to do here is drift snorkeling. You can swim to the reef at the south end of the beach and drive current north to a shallow sandbar. The vibrant turquoise waters and soft, white sand also make this a beautiful place to sunbathe on the shore and take in all the views. It’s a good idea to bring shade protection, snacks and drinks as there are no facilities except toilets.
3 Cossies Beach, Cocos (Keeling) Islands
Imagine an idyllic beach of the South Pacific Islands: coconut trees drifting above a crimson strip of sand and luminous aqua water, gently brushing the shore. This is the lovely stretch of sand on Direction Island in the Cocos (Keeling) Islands. This remote Australian territory of two atolls and 27 coral islands is about a 4.5-hour flight from Perth. In 2016, with the permission of locals, beach expert and author Brad Farmer named this sublime stretch of coastline “Cossies”, after Australia’s 26th Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove.
Lined with lush coconut palms, the enchanting beach curves seductively into the tropical turquoise sea and you can snorkel among the coral gardens and diverse marine life in the crystal clear waters. Eco-toilets, wood-fired barbecues and walking paths are the only signs of development. The beach is a popular anchorage for visiting boaters and camping is allowed on the beach, but you must bring all your equipment and drinking water. Yes, it’s difficult to access this remote archipelago, but that only adds to its pristine beauty and allure.
4 Wineglass Bay, Tasmania
On a clear day, it’s hard to beat the beauty of Wineglass Bay in Tasmania’s Freycinet National Park , about a 2.5-hour drive north of Hobart. See this lush jewel from the vantage point, with its curving, tree-lined coastline, bright white sands and sapphire waters, and you will be spoiled forever. After taking in the views, take the 20-minute walk from the lookout point to the southern end of the beach, where you can look at the Dangers , the pink-bitten granite peaks that punctuate one end of the bay. Sea kayaking, sailing and fishing are favorite pastimes here, and bushwalking is especially popular – Wineglass Bay is on the Freycinet Experience Walk, a four-day trek along the entire peninsula, one of the top hikes in Australia. The surrounding wilderness is home to wallabies, wombats, quolls and even Tasmanian devils. Try to visit Wineglass Bay during the warmer months, December to April.
The nearby seaside town of Coles Bay makes a great base from which to explore Wineglass Bay, with accommodation ranging from campsites to the luxury all-inclusive eco-resort Saffire Freycinet, with floor-to-ceiling windows soaking up all the views.
5 Cable Beach, Western Australia
If you’ve ever seen a photo of people crossing camels against a fiery sunset on an Aussie beach, you can bet it’s Cable Beach. It’s one of the most popular things to do along this 22-kilometre stretch of creamy white sand and turquoise sea, which hugs the coast of Broome in Western Australia. It was named after the communications cable laid here between Java and Java in 1889. You can drive 4WD vehicles along the coast and stake out your own patch of sand, but it’s a good idea to provide shade protection if you plan to visit during the heat of the day.
Dangerous irukandji jellyfish swim in these waters from November to May, but you can cruise along the coast at other times of the year. You’ll find plenty of restaurants just off the sand and many people bring picnics to enjoy. Make sure you come at least once at sunset for a beautiful view of the scorching sun slowly sinking into the Indian Ocean.
If you want to stay as close to this iconic stretch of sand as possible, the luxurious Cable Beach Club Resort & Spa, with studios, bungalows, villas and suites, overlooks this famous beach.
6 Noosa Main Beach, Queensland
Lined with palms, pandanus and casuarina pines, Noosa Main Beach, about two hours north of Brisbane on the Sunshine Coast, is an Aussie favorite. This clean stretch of golden sand and blue-green water provides a beautiful setting between Noosa National Park and the chic shops and cafes of Hastings Street , and its sheltered and sunny north-facing aspect makes it popular all year round. At the eastern end of the coastline, the national park covers the headland and if you walk up the hill into the park you can often spot koalas in the trees. Swimmers love the clean, clear water and surfers love to ride the long waves that run parallel to the headland at the famous First Point . TheNoosa Festival of Surfing takes place here every March. Children and adults alike love ferreting among the rock masses at the eastern end of the beach and the beach boardwalk is a popular spot for a sunset stroll. The beach is monitored all year round.
If you need a break from the sun, Hastings Street (Noosa’s main drag) is just steps from the sand, with gourmet restaurants, cafes, shops and galleries. During the summer holidays and school holidays, city slickers from Sydney and Melbourne come to Noosa Heads for their holidays, so parking in the small beachside lot can be a challenge, but there are other lots nearby. Better yet, you can forget about finding a parking space and stay at Netanya Noosa right on the beach in a spacious apartment with a full kitchen.
7 Twilight Beach, Western Australia
About seven kilometers from the small beach town of Esperance, Twilight Beach is Australia’s version of the boulder-strewn beaches of the Seychelles. Here you won’t find rustling palm trees, but you will find crystal clear turquoise water, a beautiful stretch of blinding white sand flanked by smooth granite boulders and typically safe conditions for swimming and surfing. The wide, flat coastline and shallow sandbar make this an ideal spot for families with small children, and many visitors enjoy swimming to the large granite rocks, climbing to the top for fantastic views and jumping into the impossibly blue sea. Lifeguards patrol in the summer. Toilets and showers are available here, but you will need to bring shade protection, water and snacks.
About 70 kilometers from Twilight Beach in Cape le Grand National Park, Lucky Beach is another beautiful stretch of coastline and one of Australia’s whitest sandy beaches. kangaroos often perch on its banks, posing for quintessential Aussie photos and you can drive 4WD vehicles along the coast. Snorkeling, surfing, swimming and fishing are all popular things to do along this wild stretch of coastline.
8 Hyams Beach, New South Wales
About a 2.5-hour drive south of Sydney, on the edge of the Jervis Bay Marine Park, Hyams Beach is known for its snow-white, squeaky fine sand. Swimming, snorkeling, stand-up paddle boarding and fishing are popular activities in the clear, blue waters and it’s a beautiful place to sunbathe on the powder-soft sand.
Picturesque bushwalking trails line the national park, including Hyams Beach Trail , also known as the Bird Spotter’s walk, where you can look for colorful crimson rosellas and honeyeaters; interpretive signs help you identify the species. White Sands Walk takes you along the powdery shores of this sublime stretch of coast. Whales migrate here from May to November, and bottlenose dolphins are also commonly seen. A small café serves snacks and drinks. Parking can be difficult at weekends and public holidays, but there are also plenty of other beautiful beaches nearby, including Murrays Beach on a sheltered cove in Booderee National Park (with a fee to enter) Sailors, and Chinaman’s Beaches .
9 Vivonne Bay, South Australia
Vivonne Bay, on Kangaroo Island in South Australia, is a pristine stretch of bright, white sand and azure sea, where you can sometimes see seals bobbing in the cool, clear water. The waves here are often perfect for surfing and boogie boarding , but you have to be careful that the beach is not guarded. Swimming is best in summer, when the water warms up. Other popular things to do include picnicking, sunbathing, fishing and watching the fresh crayfish catch arrive at the jetty. Picnic and barbecue areas are available near the jetty, but you must bring your own food and drinks.
To the east of Vivonne Bay is the Seal Bay Conservation Area , home to Australia’s third largest colony of sea lions, and not far from the beach, you can surf down the Little Sahara sand dunes .
10 Surfers Paradise Beach
Backed by high-rise apartments but still able to impress with its beauty, this wide three-kilometre stretch of tiny, white-sand beaches and sea-laced sea on the Gold Coast is one of Queensland’s most famous beaches. Not surprisingly, this is a fantastic place for beginner surfers to catch some gentle waves. Swimming, sunbathing and strolling along the soft sand or beach promenade are all equally satisfying, and despite the crowds the beach is surprisingly clean. Lifeguards patrol 365 days a year.
After a relaxing day soaking up the sun on the beach, hop over to fantastic shops, cafes and restaurants just steps away from the sand. Shoppers also flock here on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday evenings to the beachside Surfers Paradise Markets , with more than 120 stalls selling everything from photographs and fashion to souvenirs and jewellery. Peppers Soul Surfers Paradise offers comfortable beachfront accommodation, with luxurious 1, 2 and 3-bedroom apartments with beautiful sea views. It is located opposite the beach.
11 Bondi Beach
It may not be Australia’s most beautiful beach, but for sheer iconic status, cosmopolitan color and proximity to a world-class city, this Australian heritage landmark scores a well-deserved place on this list. Just 15 minutes by car or bus from Sydney’s CBD, this circular beach of one kilometer of blond sand and clear, blue sea is one of the most famous beaches in Sydney. It’s so famous that it stars in its own Aussie reality TV show, Bondi Rescue. The beach is home to the first documented surf lifesaving club dating back to 1907.
In safe conditions this is a beautiful place for swimming or surfing, but it is important to stay between the flags here as dangerous tides can drag unsuspecting swimmers out to sea. Bondi comes from an indigenous word meaning sound of water breaking over rocks, an apt description of the sometimes dangerous surf that rolls in here – especially after a storm.
Bondi Beach is also an excellent spot for people-watching, where you can rub shoulders with backpackers from around the world, latte-sipping locals and business people taking a quick beach break from work. Skateboarders love the beachfront skate park, and you can also take a dip in the oceanfront pool, or surf in the trendy shops and cafes across the street. The famous Bondi Icebergs Club here is a popular place to enjoy lunch or dinner, with spectacular views of the beach, and if you’re looking for beachfront accommodation, QT Bondi is just across the street with light , modern apartments.
From Bondi Beach you can enjoy picturesque scenery along the beautiful Bondi to Bronte coastal walk . It starts at the south end of the beach and runs for six kilometers along the coastline along the sandstone cliffs.