15 Best Beaches in Australia

Written by Jan Meeuwesen
Updated on
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When a study by the University of Sydney wanted to identify the number of beaches in Australia, it took on quite a task. The definition of a beach that the study used was any stretch of beach more than 20 meters long that stayed dry at high tide. It concluded that there were over 10,500 beaches in the country.

Australia has almost 27,000 kilometers of coastline, so perhaps the figure is understandable?

The population of Australia is concentrated in a number of pockets, so it is no surprise that the most popular beaches are close to the coastal cities. On the eastern seaboard, that puts the focus on Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne. Adelaide in South Australia is sometimes overlooked, but not here. Tasmania deserves a mention as well.

Australians love the outdoor life, which is why they are successful in so many sports. Not surprisingly, they also love to head for the beach.

Here are the 15 Best Beaches in Australia:

1. Bondi Beach, Sydney, NSW

Bondi Beach, SydneySource: Mo Wu / shutterstock
Bondi Beach

Bondi Beach is known the world over.

The sun-tanned lifeguards have been portrayed in many a film and TV show.

Just a short bus ride from the heart of Sydney, the sight of the curved beach, sunbathers, swimmers, and surfers greets you on arrival.

The water in the oceanside pool is not the warmest, but that doesn’t deter the locals, who swim there all year round.

It is a relaxed place with casual bars and cafes.

The cliff-top coastal walk from Bondi to Coogee attracts both walkers and joggers.

Trendy restaurants and boutique shopping add to the attraction of Bondi.

2. Four Mile Beach, Port Douglas, Queensland

Four Mile Beach, Port DouglasSource: Ian Crocker / shutterstock
Four Mile Beach

This lovely stretch of sand has few equals, even in Queensland.

The waters are inviting, but at certain times of the year, the poisonous box jellyfish appear.

For your protection, there is a fine mesh preventing them from reaching swimmers, and as a precaution, bottles of vinegar are placed at stretches along the beach to use if you are stung.

Don’t let this put you off, though, both the beach and the clear blue waters are a real treat when you are in Port Douglas, which is a departure point to the Barrier Reef.

3. Manly Beach, Sydney, Australia

Manly Beach, SydneySource: Aleksandar Todorovic / shutterstock
Manly Beach, Sydney

The Sydney suburb of Manly is known for its famous Rugby Union team, but even they are overshadowed by the lovely beach.

People have been swimming here for more than a century, and over 50 years ago, the first surfing championships were held here.

The ferry departs from Circular Quay and the trip is well worth it.

A good tourist infrastructure has grown with the beach’s popularity; there are bars, restaurants, and shops aplenty.

Several walking trails add to the attraction of the beach for those wanting a break from sunbathing.

4. Whitehaven Beach, Whitsundays, Queensland

Whitehaven Beach, WhitsundaysSource: Olga Kashubin / shutterstock
Whitehaven Beach, Whitsundays

For several years, this beach was recognized as the best in Australia.

It has lost none of its attraction, yet it is difficult to hold this honor indefinitely because of the competition. Whitehaven Beach is a stretch of seven kilometers of sand on the biggest of the Whitsundays islands.

It has beautiful, soft white sand, as pure as anything you’d find worldwide.

If you can drag yourself away from the sand itself, climb up the hill, where you can spot the coral roofs through the crystal-clear waters.

5. Surfer’s Paradise, Queensland

Surfer’s Paradise, QueenslandSource: PAUL ATKINSON / shutterstock
Surfer’s Paradise, Queensland

Surfer’s Paradise is known for its lovely sand and warm, clear waters.

It is a resort 80 kilometers down the coast to the south of Brisbane, whose popularity with visitors has grown relentlessly over the years.

The high-rise skyline is famous, while the shops, cafes and nightlife all help to attract tourists.

There are few better places for locals and visitors to spend a day than this beach.

It is two kilometers long and lifeguards are in attendance throughout.

You can take a picnic or use the local bars and cafes for refreshments.

6. Rapid Bay, Fleurieu, South Australia

Rapid Bay, FleurieuSource: amophoto_au / shutterstock
Rapid Bay, Fleurieu

This bay and the small town of the same name on the Fleurieu Peninsula are 100 kilometers north of Adelaide.

It used to be famous for its old jetty, which has now been replaced.

The beach lies below impressive cliffs and remains very much a secret to the wider world.

It gets its name from HMS Rapid, which stopped there in 1830. Indeed, one of the attractions for divers and snorkelers is the shipwrecks; however, those preferring marine life should look out for the Leafy Sea Dragon.

There are no lifeguards on this small but idyllic beach.

7. Noosa Main Beach, Sunshine Coast, Queensland

Noosa Main BeachSource: Martin Valigursky / shutterstock
Noosa Main Beach

Noosa Main Beach lies 130 kilometers north of Brisbane.

If you want to learn to surf, this may be the place to do it.

The waves are generally very gentle, while lifeguards and more experienced surfers will be around to keep you safe.

Because it faces north, the waters are warmer than elsewhere, as well as being sheltered.

If you are looking for a place to suit the whole family, Noosa Main is an impressive spot.

There are plenty of bars, cafes, and restaurants in Hastings Street to refresh at after a relaxing day on the beach.

8. Seventy Five Mile Beach, Fraser Island

Seventy Five Mile Beach, Fraser IslandSource: SF photo / shutterstock
Seventy Five Mile Beach, Fraser Island

This is the largest sand island in the world – 166,000 hectares in total.

Its lovely sands and tropical rainforest create a true paradise.

There are freshwater lakes, huge dunes, and shipwrecks.

The colors are magnificent and the Great Barrier Reef is just to the north.

Accommodation in keeping with the natural environment is available, and those who love fishing should definitely spend some time here.

The beach itself is on the eastern side of the island; just cast your line from the shore and be ready for some excitement.

9. Eighty Mile Beach, Western Australia

Eighty Mile Beach, Western AustraliaSource: mark higgins / shutterstock
Eighty Mile Beach, Western Australia

This beach between Broome and Port Hedland in North West Australia is actually much longer than its name suggests.

It is 220 kilometers, which equates to 137 miles.

The peace and quiet of this extensive shoreline delights the migratory birds, nesting turtles, and tourists who want to camp away from the crowds.

It is a great place for bird watchers keen on wading species, with the park being a well-recognized wetland area.

Sawfish, dugong, and dolphins swim the waters and there are reefs, mangroves, seagrass and mud flats.

It may take you some time to get there, but you won’t regret making the effort.

10. Mooloolaba Beach, Sunshine Coast, Queensland

Mooloolaba BeachSource: CO Leong / shutterstock
Mooloolaba Beach

As Mooloolaba Beach on the Sunshine Coast is north-facing, it is relatively sheltered.

The water is calm throughout the year, so it attracts swimmers, boarders, and body surfers.

It is very much a family favorite; the rock pools are great for exploration.

The town is on a spit between the river and the beaches.

The Annual Mooloolaba to Auckland and Mooloolaba to Sydney Yacht Races helped put this beach on the map.

Visitors can enjoy a good tourist infrastructure when they come off the beach, with great restaurants and shopping.

11. Cable Beach, Western Australia

Cable Beach, Western AustraliaSource: Rob Bayer / shutterstock
Cable Beach, Western Australia

This beach gets its name from the cable that was laid in 1889 between Broome and Java.

High season is May to October but even then, it rarely gets crowded.

The sun setting over the Indian Ocean is a real treat at the end of the day, especially with a cold drink in your hand.

It is 22 kilometers long, with the red ochre cliffs contrasting sharply with the white sand.

For something different, why not ride a camel down the beach? You can buy South Sea pearls in Broome’s shops – a great souvenir of your visit.

12. Wineglass Bay, Freycinet Peninsula, Tasmania

Wineglass BaySource: Visual Collective / shutterstock
Wineglass Bay

This bay within the larger Coles Bay sits on the Freycinet Peninsula on Tasmania’s east coast.

The stunning scenery adds to the experience of staying here, whether you are camping or staying in luxury.

The pink granite mountains are unbeatable, and serve to shelter the bay and its beach.

Sunset is a lovely time in the bay, and a favorite pastime of visitors is cruising the waters.

The local national park attracts hikers, but there is nothing to stop you just relaxing on the beach.

By all means, cool off with an occasional swim.

Fishing and kayaking are options as well.

13. Bell’s Beach, Torquay, Victoria

Bell’s Beach, TorquaySource: lkonya / shutterstock
Bell’s Beach, Torquay

Located 100 kilometers south of Melbourne, at the start of the Great Ocean Road to Adelaide, Bell’s is famous as a place for surfers.

The oldest surfing contest in the world takes place here – the Rip Curl Easter Pro.

Five-meter waves challenge the world’s best surfers and thousands of spectators line the cliffs to watch them perform.

Between March and October, the waves are likely to be challenging.

There are sheltered stretches of beach in Torquay to suit families, while you may like to sail if surfing is not for you.

There are plenty of facilities in Torquay for visitors.

14. Turquoise Bay, Western Australia

Turquoise Bay, Western AustraliaSource: John Crux / shutterstock
Turquoise Bay, Western Australia

Even more than the sand, the attraction of Turquoise Bay is Ningaloo Reef.

It is part of the Cape Range National Park and faces out into the Indian Ocean.

It is a great place for scuba diving and snorkeling; the colors are amazing, with turtles and octopuses regularly seen.

Novice snorkelers or divers should seek help because some of the currents can be fairly strong.

The sand on this beautiful stretch of shoreline is so inviting and a suntan is guaranteed for those who merely want to relax with a good book for the whole day.

15. Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast, Queensland

Burleigh Heads, Gold CoastSource: Pawel Papis / shutterstock
Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast

At the southern end of the Gold Coast, Burleigh Heads typifies the laid-back atmosphere of many of Australia’s beaches.

Swimmers and surfers love its waters, while the nearby national park is ripe for wildlife and photography.

There is always calm water here, while around the headland there will be plenty of waves for the surfers.

Fragrant pines line the foreshore offering plenty of places to picnic or BBQ. The fresh fish are a delight and there are plenty of cafes serving tourists and locals alike.

Shopping will not disappoint you either.

15 Best Beaches in Australia:

  • Bondi Beach, Sydney, NSW
  • Four Mile Beach, Port Douglas, Queensland
  • Manly Beach, Sydney, Australia
  • Whitehaven Beach, Whitsundays, Queensland
  • Surfer’s Paradise, Queensland
  • Rapid Bay, Fleurieu, South Australia
  • Noosa Main Beach, Sunshine Coast, Queensland
  • Seventy Five Mile Beach, Fraser Island
  • Eighty Mile Beach, Western Australia
  • Mooloolaba Beach, Sunshine Coast, Queensland
  • Cable Beach, Western Australia
  • Wineglass Bay, Freycinet Peninsula, Tasmania
  • Bell’s Beach, Torquay, Victoria
  • Turquoise Bay, Western Australia
  • Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast, Queensland