For Aussies and tourists alike, the life Down Under is mostly defined by one thing – the beach.
Whether you love surfing, paddleboarding and other outdoor sports, or just enjoy a day relaxing and soaking up the sun – sooner or later you will find yourself on one of Australia’s beautiful sandy stretches. It’s out of question that our coastline is one of the most breathtaking in the world, but this is where another debate begins: What actually are the best beaches in Australia?
New South Wales
Blinky Beach, Lord Howe Island
Only a two-hour flight from Sydney lies NSW’s hidden paradise. Lord Howe Island, also known as the Hawaii of Australia, might only be 10km long, but amazes its visitors every year with jaw-dropping natural attractions and splendid beaches. Especially Blinky Beach is a favourite amongst insiders. Regarded as Australia’s best least crowded surf beach, it’s just turquoise water and pearl-white sand as far as the eye can see.
Palm Beach, Sydney
Overlooked by the iconic Barrenjoey Lighthouse, Palmy lies on the tip of Sydney’s Northern Beaches. Fringed on one side by an amazing surf break and on the other by tranquil Pittwater, this beach is the perfect spot for all kinds of water activities. And even if you don’t want to get wet – Palm Beach is still worth a visit for its beautiful Lighthouse Walk, guaranteeing the best view in all of Sydney.
Resolute Beach, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park
If you are tired of sharing the beach with other swimmers, Resolute Beach is the perfect spot for you. To reach this his hidden jewel, simply head to Resolute Picnic Ground and follow the loop trail to the little bay. Chances are pretty high, you’ll be the only one there to soak in the crystal clear water and marvel at the beauty of Ku-ring-gai.
Noosa Heads Main Beach, Noosa Heads
The cute town of Noosa alone is an attraction but wait till you see its beaches! Noosa Heads Main Beach is in an easily accessible, central location, and the perfect spot if you want to learn how to ride waves properly. Spend a whole day enjoying the best conditions, and go for a swim, surf or snorkel in the warm Queensland waters.
Whitehaven Beach, Whitsundays
Only accessible by water or air, the Whitsundays lie 55km off the coast and are Queensland’s own tropical paradise. Whitehaven Beach alone looks like an image taken straight from a postcard. Walk along the dazzlingly white silica sands, take a dip in pristine waters and treat yourself to a luxurious stay on the island.
Wave Break Island, Gold Coast
From above, man-made Wave Break Island might not look like it can compete with Bondi and Co., but its mesmerising underwater life is what makes it one of the best best beaches and spots to snorkel on the Gold Coast. Swim with dolphins, rays and hundreds of other fish in a safe environment all year long.
Cable Beach, Broome
Cable Beach has it all – spectacular red cliffs, stunning sand dunes, a beautiful ocean sunset, and – camels? Yes, you heard right. Other than for its natural beauty, this 22km long stretching and pet-friendly beach is especially popular for those who want to experience a ride on the so-called ships of the desert.
Pinky Beach, Rottnest Island
Located only 19km off the coast of Perth, the little island getaway offers more than just one amazing beach to explore. Still, Pinky Beach takes the crown for its shielded location and ideal swimming conditions. With possibly the clearest waters you will ever see, get ready for an otherworldly snorkelling experience. And, when the time’s right, try spot some migrating whales further out the sea.
Bottle Beach, Shark Bay
The infinite sandy stretches and lonely dunes of the World Heritage Area are a mecca for nature enthusiasts and those who look for a tranquil getaway. Bottle Beach lies hidden on the Western side of the Peninsula, close to Monkey Mia. Overlooked by ochre red dunes, it is a quiet spot, primarily popular for beach camping and 4WD adventures.
Carpenter Rocks, Limestone Coast
The tiny coastal town of Carpenter Rocks holds more than just one surprise. Find an old shipwreck on its beaches, spot some seals sunbathing on the rocks, and marvel at the weathered rock formations rising out of the sand.
Snelling Beach, Kangaroo Island
This more remote beach on the island, that gets its name for the estimated 65,000 marsupials that live here, is a must-visit for all of those who love a peaceful swim in crystal waters. Book one of the sea view cottages for accommodation with (basically) a private beach, as you will rarely catch tourists coming down here.
Donington Beach, Eyre Peninsula
For an off-grid camping adventure, visit Donington Beach. Located on the North end of Lincoln National Park, it offers stunning ocean views, lots of marine life and its famous red rocks that are scattered everywhere along the sand. Whether you decide to stay the night on one of the campgrounds nearby or just want to go for a dip to cool down after a hike – Donington Beach is not to be left out on a trip to the national park.
Martha Lavinia, King Island
Idyllic King Island is a great spot for fishing, golfing and history buffs. But don’t underestimate the break! If you are surfer in Tasmania, Martha Lavinia should definitely be on top of your bucket list. Its smooth ‘A-frame’ waves make the beach a haven for catching waves in the most pristine conditions.
Fortescue Bay, Tasman National Park
On the East coast of Tasmania, located in Tasman National Park, lies Fortescue Bay. Embedded in a fascinating landscape and shielded from strong ocean rips and big waves, it’s the perfect place for a weekend camping trip with the family. From plenty of long hikes along the cliffs to many nice spots for a swim or kayak – Fortescue Bay offers it all.
Bay of Fires Conservation Area
About a four-hour drive North of Hobart, Tasmania’s arguably most famous beach can be found. The Bay of Fires is known for its clear blue seas, white beaches and iconic orange lichen-cloaked rocks. For the full experience, join a guided hiking, 4WD or boat tour and explore all the incredible views and hidden corners that usually only locals get to see.
Gibson Steps Beach, Port Campbell National Park
If you think about breathtaking natural Australian landmarks, immediately the Twelve Apostles will come to mind. These 45m pillars are towering over Gibson Steps Beach and are usually the highlight of a Great Ocean Road Trip. Marvel at the limestone giants from one of the various viewpoints and keep your camera ready to capture an explosion of red and orange for when the sun sets right behind the Apostles.
Cape Woolamai, Phillip Island
This wild surf beach is not for the faint-hearted! Even though its natural beauty featuring pink granite pinnacle rocks and spectacular look out points might be intriguing – catching waves at Cape Woolamai is only recommended for experienced surfers. Still, it’s a great beach for a relaxing swim with the family or taking walks along the clifftops.
Ninety Mile Beach, Gippsland
Lake King, Lake Victoria and Lake Wellington are protected by this seemingly endless uninterrupted spit of sand. Being one of the longest beaches in the world, be sure to find at least one spot that you absolutely adore! Even if the water is a bit too icy and stormy, there’s always the calm Gippsland Lakes to go for a paddle or a boat ride.
Macassan Beach, East Arnhem Land
Macassan Beach is an unspoilt site full of natural contrasts and beauty. The gold-white sand clashes with rough red laterite that frames the ocean like a painting. Discover nearby swamps and forests by walking on one of the many trails along the coastline. And, if you want to learn more about Indigenous culture, simply head down to nearby Wurrwurrwuy, where ancient stone pictures have recorded Yolŋu trades with Macassans from centuries ago.
Rainbow Beach, Tiwi Islands
On the search for the best beaches in Australia, one can’t forget to mention the Tiwi Islands. This tropical oasis can be found just North of Darwin and is accessible by air and boat. It’s home to stunning mangroves, spectacular wildlife and beautiful beaches, one of them being Rainbow Beach. Getting the name from its colourful shoreline, it is a must see for anyone looking to visit the Tiwi Islands.
Cossies Beach, Cocos Keeling Islands
27 islands and an abundance of beaches – the Cocos Keeling Islands, located in the Indian Ocean, offer a postcard-perfect ocean view anywhere you go. Still, Cossies Beach stands out. Maybe it is, because its sand is just a little bit softer, or maybe because its waters are slightly bluer – one way or another, locals all seem to agree that Cossies Beach is special.
For more inspiration on Australian beaches, check out this article about the best beaches for learning how to surf!
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