Beach Destinations Australia | 25 Sensational Places To Visit

 

It goes without saying that Australia has some bloody good beaches. 

We’re not talking about the pebbly rubbish you find in areas around Europe (ahem, Italy – we love you for other things anyway!). Google “white sandy beach Australia” and your search will return images of astounding, jaw-dropping silken goodness.

With over 10,000 beaches in the Land Down Under, how does one decide which is the nicest beach in Australia? 

Long golden stretches between headlands, tiny curves in coveted coves, places where nudists can roam free and spots sheltered by towering limestone cliffs. Some beaches are strewn with broken coral while plenty offer opportunities to admire marine wildlife under the surface.

The beaches in Sydney are some of the most popular, given their proximity and ease of access from the city. Bondi Beach in particular would have to be one of the busiest beaches in Australia. Yet, if seclusion and isolation is more your jam, we’ve picked out some sensational places for you. Whether you’re hunting for beaches on the east coast of Australia or cruising down the west side, you will want to pull over at every opportunity.

With time and the wide open road in front of you, the only thing left to do is to pack your cossie, your sunscreen and your beach towel and hop in the car.

View of Whitehaven Beach from Whitehaven Lookout | Beach Destinations Australia

BEACH DESTINATIONS AUSTRALIA | 25 SPOTS FOR SANDY FEET

BEACHES IN QUEENSLAND

Whitehaven Beach - Whitsundays

Whitehaven Beach Australia is the ultimate picture perfect postcard of white sandy beaches in Australia. Fringing the east side of the Whitsundays in tropical north Queensland, visitors access the dazzling stretch of sand via ferry, private boat, seaplane or helicopter. Full-day and half-day tours run from Airlie Beach and Hamilton Island. There are hikes to viewpoints within certain sections of the national park, opportunities for swimming and snorkelling in the turquoise waters and the chance to catch sight of migrating humpback whales from the shoreline. 

Whitehaven Beach Australia | Beach Destinations Queensland Australia

Moffat Beach - Sunshine Coast

Moffat Beach is not the most secluded beach on the Sunshine Coast. Some may not call it the prettiest either. Neither of these factors deter the locals and visitors who flock here and who visit the vibrant alfresco cafes en route. Moffat Headlands protects this unpatrolled swimming beach from the winds so do watch the strength of the waves on any given day.

Keen surfers jump off the flat rocks to ride the right-handed waves. We love Moffat Beach for its smooth sand expanses, flat boulders for clambering and all-round good vibes. Eleanor Shipley Park and Sir Leslie Wilson Park provide trees and grass for shady picnics as you watch the waves roll in. If you walk north, you’ll reach Dicky Beach. Those who follow the southern route will reach Shelly Beach and Kings Beach.

A thumbs up for Moffat Beach | Beaches in Queensland Australia

Rainbow Beach

Named for its cliffs of colourful, mineral-rich sand, you’ll find Rainbow Beach tucked between Hervey Bay and Noosa on Queensland’s east coast. A former sand mining town, Rainbow Beach is now a popular holiday destination and the gateway to Fraser Island. Don’t miss the colourful rainbow steps and nearby Carlo Sand Blow; a prominent sand park known for its moonscape appearance. There are wonderful cliffside views too. If you’re looking for activities other than the beach strolls, there are companies offering 4×4 driving and horse rides.

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Surfers Paradise Beach - Gold Coast

The extensive length of sand at the northern end of the Gold Coast is where holidayers come to frolic when they descend from the towering skyscrapers along the glitter strip.

Surfers Paradise Beach boardwalk has had a facelift in recent years when it hosted the Commonwealth Games in 2018. The pathway now accommodates skateboarders, cyclists, pedestrians and dog walkers whilst still allowing for plenty of golden sand for long meandering strolls, sunbathing and swimming between the flags. 

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Agnes Water Main Beach - Agnes Water

Situated between Gladstone and Bundaberg, Agnes Water remains relatively under the radar, other than to those who live in the coastal town. Queensland’s northernmost surf beach is a good one hour drive from the main highway so many have no idea of this laid back spot with close to no waves. The surrounding national park naturally shields other smaller beaches only accessible by 4WD or by foot. With plenty of walking trails and lookouts, you’re bound to come across an unmarked trail leading you to a secluded cove that you may not even have to share.

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Nudey Beach - Fitzroy Island

The name suggests a beach that allows visitors to don their birthday suit but it actually isn’t so (apologies for getting your hopes up, nudists). Over on Fitzroy Island, a 45 minutes ferry ride from Cairns, you’ll find Nudey Beach. To reach this spot, visitors need to trek approximately 20 minutes through rainforest covered trails before arriving at the coral-strewn beach.

Smooth boulders provide a buffer for the gentle waves lapping the shoreline and keep the waters clear and calm for snorkelling and swimming. Be sure to wear shoes as here there is more broken coral than there is sand. Nudey Beach has been highly rated for its semi-isolation, crystal-clear waters and serenity.

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BEACHES IN NEW SOUTH WALES

Bondi Beach - Sydney

The iconic curve of sand is one of the most popular beaches in Sydney, New South Wales. It is where you’ll find some of the fittest bronzed beauties flexing their toned muscles every day of the week. Visitors flock to Bondi Beach Australia to swim in and admire the beautiful Bondi Icebergs Club (a seaside swimming club and bistro). They also come here to either start or finish the Bondi to Bronte Coastal Walk.

Come at dawn to witness the sunrise from Bondi Pavilion and stretch your legs with a gentle walk along the sandy shore. If you decide to take a dip in the Tasman Sea, make sure to always swim between the flags so you don’t end up on the next episode of Bondi Rescue. 

Bondi Icebergs & Bondi Beach Australia | Best beaches Sydney

Wategos Beach - Byron Bay

A stone’s throw from the most easterly point of Australia is Wategos Beach, a sheltered sandy beach and one of the most frequented beaches on the east coast of Australia. Weekends become particularly crowded at this Byron Bay hotspot. It’s best to nab a parking spot early in the day before walking up to Cape Byron Lighthouse and then looping back to Wategos Beach. Set up your beach towel in the shade of a pandanus screw pine and enjoy a day of surfing, swimming, paddle boarding and picnicking. 

Wategos Beach, Byron Bay | Best beaches in Australia

Hyams Beach - Jervis Bay

Renowned for its pristine, pure white sand, Hyams Beach is the place to come if you’re searching for serenity and tranquility. Pocketed in Jervis Bay, locals probably want to keep their paradise a secret. However, with Australian road trips likely to become all the rage, it’s unlikely that Hyams Beach will remain a secret from travelling Aussies and others abroad. The calm turquoise waters are perfect for swimming and the Hyams Beach trail in Jervis Bay National Park is also well-known for great bird watching.

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Neds Beach - Lord Howe Island

Ever wondered what it would be like to hand feed a fish? Come find out when you wade into the sparkling water of Neds Beach on Lord Howe Island. Following a 3.5 hour flight from Brisbane or Sydney, make your way to the white crescent shaped beach in the island’s north east. An honesty system operates here where visitors contribute an amount to the box of masks, fins and snorkels to enjoy the colourful kaleidoscope of fish and coral under the sea.

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BEACHES IN VICTORIA

Brighton Beach - Brighton

Brighton Beach doesn’t have finest nor the silkiest sand. Yet it does feature something unlike any of the other beaches in Australia. This little patch of sand south of Melbourne’s CBD is home to the famous Brighton Bathing Boxes. The wooden bathing houses line the beachfront are highly coveted properties. Barely covering 10m² each, they rarely come on the market but some have been known to sell for as much as A$340,000! It is a rather touristy spot but the sight of the brightly painted bathing boxes are rather charming to admire.

Brighton Beach Victoria | Beach Destinations Australia

Gibson Beach - Princetown

Once you’ve filled your memory card with photos of the remaining Twelve Apostles, pop next door and descend Gibson Steps to Gibson Beach. Shadowed by the 70-metre cliffs that hold up the Great Ocean Road, chances are it will be a chilly stroll along the sand as gales blow up from the Antarctic. The blustery winds will make your hair fly in all directions and you’ll make yourself coarse trying to be heard. Brave are the souls who choose to dip their toes in the water. Please be safe as this is an unpatrolled beach.

Standing on Gibson Beach - Princetown | Beaches in Victoria

Bells Beach - Torquay

Bells Beach is a scenic cove enclosed by impressive cliffs and known for its sizable waves. Each April, surfing aficionados and legends descend on this pocket of Victoria for the longest running surfing world championship level contest, the Rip Curl Pro.

An extensive carpark at the top of the cliffs give way to multiple lookout points for visitors to watch surfers tackle some of the world’s best waves. If you are not a strong swimmer, it is not recommended that you swim here as it becomes deep quite quickly. Should you find yourself campervanning around this part of Australia during the summertime, it is a perfect spot to watch sunrise over the Bass Strait.

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Sealers Cove, Refuge Cove & Little Waterloo Bay - Wilsons Promontory

The untouched paradises are reserved for those who work for it – or for those who have access to a yacht! The secret coves and hidden bays of Wilsons Promontory are literally located on the tip of Victoria and are only accessible by foot, by boat or seaplane.

Hiking is usually the option for us plebs. To reach these coveted spots, you must be prepared to strap on your hiking shoes and bring all your food, water and equipment to camp overnight in the national park. If you don’t mind a rugged adventure, you’ll be treated to deserted white sandy beaches and bush walks amid Aussie wildlife. Now, how does that sound?

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Beaches in tasmania

Wineglass Bay Beach - Freycinet Peninsula & Coles Bay

The gorgeous curve of sand that is Wineglass Bay Beach is magnificently sheltered by pink granite mountains and sits in the bosom of Wineglass Bay. Accessible by foot, cruise or adventure tour, this immaculate beach on Tasmania’s East Coast also looks splendid from afar. Climb to the top of Wineglass Bay lookout for a spectacular view or charter a scenic flight for the ultimate experience. Given the beach’s seclusion, visitors need to work up a sweat hiking through Freycinet National Park to reach the sandy shoreline or pay the big bucks. Take your pick.

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Badger Beach - Badger Head

Situated north-west from Launceston and sitting just off the lip of the River Tamar is Badgers Beach. Stretching 4.5 kilometres from Badger Head to West Head, both headlands have walking tracks and provide mesmerizing views of this golden stretch. Rips are prominent and as the beach is not patrolled, it would be wise to stay close to the shore. Holiday houses and a recreational camp are located at the end of the C721 road if you fancy hanging out here for a few days and making friends with feathery natives.

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Lime Bay - Tasman Peninsula

For those willing to drive to this little nook on the north-eastern shore of the Tasman Peninsula, a captivating waterfront view awaits you. Lime Bay Beach is not too far from the Coal Mines Historic Site, the ruins of a coal mine where 180ss convicts worked and lived. Thankfully, no manual labour will be required to enjoy the beauty of Lime Bay, where the beach is fringed by limestone rocks that have been sculpted by the wind. Book a couple of nights at the beachside campground where you’ll have ample opportunities to spot the native wildlife.

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BEACHES IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Vivonne Bay Beach - Kangaroo Island

For those who prefer to get off the beaten track and crave solitude, Vivonne Bay Beach is the perfect beach in Australia for you. Following a dirt road and at the base of some rocky cliffs is some of the whitest sand you’ll find on Kangaroo Island. Despite being close to plenty of accommodation, you’re likely to have Vivonne Bay Beach to yourself most of the time. The water is so clear, it could rival the island waters around the Philippines! This beach is perfect for bathing in the shallows, watching the crayfishing boats out at sea between November and May and wiling away the hours basking in the summer sun.

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Point Sir Isaac - Eyre Peninsula

Determination, persistence and patience are key ingredients to help you get to Point Sir Isaac. If your starting point is Adelaide, you’ll need to drive seven hours to nearby Coffin Bay first. Then, you’re free to roam the Eyre Peninsula. It’s a three hour sand road in your 4WD to reach Point Isaac but seclusion is practically guaranteed. Ensure that you have sufficient supplies and all the necessary gear to stay for a few days. Pitch your tent at the edge of the beach looking out over Seasick Bay and enjoy a few days fishing on the peninsula, reading your book and taking long naps.

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Maslin Beach - Fleurieu Peninsula

If you need to shake out the cobwebs after gallivanting between the vineyards around Adelaide, make your way to Maslin Beach. This long expanse of sand is sheltered by a protected cove and high-cliff face bursting with layers of colours ranging from terracotta dusty pink and burnt ochre. It lays claim to being Australia’s first nudist beach, so if the birthday suit is your favourite outfit, you’ll enjoy this beach. If you wish to remain clothed, stay at the northern end of the beach.

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BEACHES IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Coral Bay Beach - Coral Bay

A marine paradise on Australia’s west coast, Coral Bay Beach is the ideal destination for those who love snorkelling, diving and all things marine life. A few steps from the world’s largest fringing reef, snorkelling, scuba and kayaking tours are available for your chance to swim close to manta rays, turtles and plenty of other finned friends. Whale sharks frolic off the coast from March to July and you have a front row seat to spot migrating humpback whales from June to November. Blessed with beach weather for most of the year, be sure to stop into Coral Bay Beach if you’re road-tripping the west coast.

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Cable Beach - Broome

The magical images of a line of camels traversing the sand at sunset originated from Cable Beach in Broome, Western Australia. The 22km stretch of sun-kissed, white sand on the eastern Indian Ocean entices beachgoers to the shoreline, the perfect spot to watch sunset. 4WD vehicles are permitted on the northern end of the beach. Nesting season for turtles is between October and February and you must take extra precaution in the waters between November to June when jellyfish are present in the northern oceans.

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Rottnest Island

A spot that has long been on our Australia bucket list is Rottnest Island. The idyllic island is 18 kilometres off the coast of Western Australia and is accessible by ferry or airplane. To help protect the natural beauty of Rottnest Island, rental vehicles are not permitted on the island. Featuring 63 beaches and 20 bays, the best way to explore the secluded spots is with your own rental bicycle. If you’re going to set out. for the day, make sure to pack enough water, food and sun protection.

The northern beaches route will see you reach Geordie Bay, Little Parakeet Bay and Ricey Beach among others, while the southern beaches route includes stops at Parker Point, Salmon Bay and Strickland Bay. Keep an eye out for the spotted island natives – the furry quokka! These little creatures aren’t shy and will come up close but please be respectful of their space and environment and do not leave any rubbish behind.

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Cocos Keelings Islands - Indian Ocean

Few will have heard of this remote Australian territory located in the Indian Ocean and fewer will make the trip to Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Its two coral atolls comprise 27 tiny islands which would not look out of place in the Indonesian or Filipino archipelagos! Water based activities include fishing, snorkelling and kite surfing whilst land activities include golf, birdwatching and sunbathing. Like other incredible tropical paradises, Cocos Islands are not easy to access and a trip here comes with a hefty price tag. Save this one for a special occasion! 

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Lucky Bay - Esperance

Blinding white sands and shimmering turquoise waters await you, and if you time it right, you might even bump into some furry Australian friends. A 45-minute drive east from Esperance and you’ll arrive at Lucky Bay, the biggest jewel in Cape le Grand National Park. It’s the perfect spot for swimming, admiring kangaroos lazing on the sand and venturing along walking tracks for panoramic views of the Recherche Archipelago. To truly enjoy this glorious paradise by day and the star-filled sky by night, book a night or two at the campgrounds in the national park.

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