From Lucky Bay to Nudey Beach, these are the strands you need to beach yourself on in Australia
With nearly 22,000 miles of coastline, Australia is justifiably famous for its golden-sand beaches. The country is home to an endless number of pristine coves, reefs, and island hideaways and let’s be honest, there really is no such thing as a bad beach Down Under. But what are the best beaches? To help you find the right beach for your trip, we have put together a list of the most amazing beaches in Australia. Whether you’re traveling with family, friends, or your partner, you will find the perfect beach for your holiday on this list.
Top Picks for You
Best known for having the whitest sand in the world, Hyams Beach in Jervis Bay in New South Wales is not to be missed. You can snorkel in the calm crystal clear waters, explore the nearby bushland or look out for whales and dolphins on the horizon. This beach is perfect for families and romantic getaways, and makes a great side-trip from Sydney, at about three hours drive. To avoid the crowds, it’s best to travel here outside of summer and school holidays.
With a more relaxed feel than its iconic neighbor Bondi, Bronte Beach is the ideal spot to surf, swim, and grab a quality cup of coffee. Young kids can play in the section of the beach protected by rocks, affectionately known as the Bogey Hole, surfers can enjoy the swell, and for those who like to do laps, there is a 30-meter seawater pool nestled into the coast. The beach also has lots of green space for picnics and barbeques and if you walk farther back, you’ll even find a small waterfall.
No list of Australian beaches would be complete without Bondi, the beach that most defines Aussie beach culture. This sweeping half-mile stretch of white sand never fails to impress. You can take in the view from one of the coastal heads or enjoy the site from Bondi Baths, a saltwater swimming pool that’s been a local landmark for a century. To enter the pool you have to pay an entrance fee at Bondi Icebergs Club, which also has an upmarket restaurant and more casual food options. Express buses run to Bondi Beach from the center of Sydney, and take about 30 minutes to reach the beach. Trains operate from the city center to Bondi Junction, which is a 10-minute bus or taxi ride from the beach.
Fancy an adventure? Wattamolla won’t disappoint. Located in the Royal National Park on the New South Wales coast, around three hours by car from Sydney, the beach is nestled between a lagoon and the ocean. It may not be the easiest place to get to but you will be stunned by its natural beauty. The beach is surrounded by lush, green bushland and the Wattamolla Waterfall is just a short walk away. If you get tired of lounging in the sparkling waters, you can follow one of the many hikes through the dense forest. Keep in mind, no lifeguards patrol the beach, but the water is usually very calm and safe for children.
This beach near Exmouth is one of the best snorkeling spots in Western Australia. These turquoise waters are home to a marine wonderland brimming with tropical fish, starfish, reef sharks, and sea turtles. The best snorkeling spot is at the northern end near the seagrass area, and at the south end of the beach. You can also try drift snorkeling where you swim out and let the current carry you along the reef.
It’s hard not to use superlatives to describe Whitehaven Beach. Located on Whitsunday Island in the Great Barrier Reef, this beach is the epitome of a tropical paradise. The milk-white sand stretches for four miles around calm turquoise-colored waters. Because the beach is made almost entirely of silica—which gives it its bright white quality—it doesn’t retain heat, meaning you can stroll barefoot without having to rush to the shore. Be aware that no smoking or pets are allowed on the beach—a rule that has helped it become one of the most unspoiled beaches in the world.
Yes, this is real. With its snow-white sand, deep blue waters, and soaring green mountains, you’d be forgiven for thinking Wineglass Bay was Photoshopped. But more spectacular still is its near-perfect crescent shape. Unsurprisingly, Wineglass Bay has become a popular destination to pop the question, but it is also a great place to enjoy sailing, fishing, and sea kayaking. Located in Freycinet National Park on the east coast of Tasmania, you can continue the epic photoshoots by taking a scenic cruise or scaling the park’s epic granite peaks.
This long, sandy beach is one of the most important landmarks in Port Douglas (second only perhaps to The Big Banana). While it’s only a five-minute walk from the bustling port, it has none of the trappings typical of a tourist hub. You’ll find no McDonalds or souvenir shops here, just tropical rain forest, azure waters, and crab-filled mangroves. Take a book and spend a leisurely day staring over the Coral Sea or hike through lush rain forest to Rex Smeal Park. Whatever you choose to do you will not be disappointed by the natural beauty of Four-Mile Beach.
This beach may be off-the-radar but don’t let that deter you from getting to know what is thought to be one of Australia’s best-kept secrets. Located in the Cape Le Grande national park near Esperance in Western Australia, Lucky Bay not only has shimmering turquoise seas and sand so white you have to squint—it’s also one of the few beaches where you can sunbathe alongside kangaroos. Best of all, the beach does not receive many visitors, so you’re likely to enjoy it all to yourself—not counting the kangaroos.
This beach in Yallingup in the Margaret River Region of Western Australia combines the best of both worlds—big swell and protected waters. It’s famous for its world-class waves and hosts surfing competitions throughout the year. But it also has a shallow lagoon perfect for swimming and snorkeling. Near the entrance to the beach, you’ll find a great children’s playground and across the shoreline there are wooden viewing platforms where you can snap a selfie, gaze at the sea, and admire the surfers battling the epic waves. And an aside for the romantics—Yallingup means “place of love” in the Wardandi Aboriginal language.
This white coral beach on Fitzgerald Island in Queensland may be small but it abounds in natural beauty. Located in the outer edges of the Great Barrier Reef, Nudey Beach has warm blue tropical waters, snow-white sand, and more than one Nemo in its colorful reef. You’ll also find sulphur-crested cockatoos, goanas, and skinks in the surrounding tropical rain forest. Best of all, the beach is just a 45-minute ferry ride from Cairns. Keep in mind that despite its name, Nudey Beach is, alas, not for nudists.
Monkey Beach is as close to a postcard-perfect island hideaway as you’ll find anywhere. Nestled on Great Keppel Island in the Great Barrier Reef, this secluded beach is a great way to explore the reef without the hustle and bustle of tourists. Think soft white sand, aquamarine water, and chirping tropical birds. Look out for kookaburras and the colorful rainbow lorikeets. If you wander to the next-door Long Beach you will also find an Aboriginal sacred site.
True to its name, Long Beach in Robe South Australia (about three hours south of Adelaide) is an endlessly long stretch of soft white sand. The beach is so massive visitors are allowed to drive their cars along the shore. You can load the car with an umbrella, picnic food, and kids’ games and set up for the entire day. The gentle waters are perfect for children and it is also a great fishing spot. Throw out a line anywhere between the beach and Robe jetty and you might be lucky enough to hook a whiting or salmon.
Port Noarlunga Beach
Golden sand, aquamarine water, and a coral reef—there’s a lot to love about Port Noarlunga Beach. Located in South Australia 19 miles south of Adelaide and a 15-minute drive from the McLaren Vale wine region, this beach is an ideal place to bring the family. It has calm waters and a marine reserve home to over 200 marine plant species and more than 60 fish species. You can jump off the jetty right into a school of fish! Go for a leisurely snorkel in the reef, and then pop into the village for some fish-and-chips.
Noosa Main Beach
Noosa has long been one of Australia’s favorite holiday destinations. Surrounded by tropical rain forest, it is one of the few beaches that has mixes the tranquility of a natural paradise with the perks of a cosmopolitan hub. You can eat organic ice cream while wading through the sparkling blue waters, sip on a cocktail while watching the sun set, and sunbathe as colorful birds fly overhead.
Bay of Fires
Extending from Binalong Bay to Eddystone Point, Tasmania’s Bay of Fires is one of Australia’s best-hidden gems. Your jaw will drop when you see the magical mix of orange rocks and sapphire-blue water. The bay is made up of lots of different areas, each with their own attractions. You could start at Binalong Bay and wander the surrealist maze of rocky boulders or head straight to Cosy Corner where the contrast between the white sand and bright red rocks is even more dramatic. Take your swimsuit and go for a dip, but keep in mind the water in the south of Australia tends to be a lot colder.
Sun, sand, and camels—what more could you want? If you’re looking for a different kind of beach experience, Cable Beach in Broome is a must. Forget snorkeling and surfing, hop on the back of a camel and explore its 14 miles of pristine white sand. Because it’s in Western Australia it is also one of the few beaches where you can see the sun set over the water. And if camels and spectacular sunsets weren’t enough, you can give kayaking or paddleboarding a go.
This relaxing family-friendly beach in Queensland doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Which is a good thing if you’re looking for an uncrowded beach on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef! But what makes Etty Bay really stand out is its cassowary population. These amazing creatures—Australia’s largest flightless bird—like to roam the shaded areas of the beach, but don’t be surprised if they approach your beach towel looking for food. And if you’re the one feeling peckish, try the fish-and-chips at the nearby café.
Main Beach lies at the center of Australia’s surf capital Byron Bay. But while the sunny beach is known for its vibrant surf culture, it has something for even the most timid of swimmers. Splash between the flags (it’s patrolled year-round), watch out for passing whales and dolphins, or simply gaze at the stunning views of the distant mountains. And if you want to take a break from the sun, you’re just a short walk from Byron award-winning restaurants and cafés.
Say hi to cheerful kangaroos at this idyllic little beach in the Murramarang National Park in New South Wales. At Pebbly Beach you share the golden sands with kangaroos, sea eagles, and the odd goanna. Take a stroll in the surrounding bushland that extends for eight and a half square miles and you’ll likely find even more curious creatures. But if what you’re after is a relaxing day at the beach, you can’t go past Pebbly Beach. It’s around three hours from Sydney but if you want to skip the long drive you’ll find lots of places to stay in picturesque Batemans Bay.