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12 Best Beaches in Australia

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Surfer at Bells Beach in Victoria, Australia

Bells Beach in Victoria, Australia

Australians are known for their love of beaches and theirs abound with natural beauty, from aquatic adventures to unique, raw ambiances captured in the 12 best beaches in Australia that you can visit during your trip.

On the best beaches in the country, you can discover distinct features, including long stretches of pristine jungle that lead to hidden coves and clean shores that connect to charming country towns or vibrant cosmopolitan cities, serene Outback destinations, or gorgeous resort islands.

There is much more to the beaches of the island continent than the familiar and the following list contains our suggestions for the best beaches in Australia, no matter the region you are visiting.

  1. 1. Whitehaven Beach, Queensland
  2. 2. Wineglass Bay, Tasmania
  3. 3. Vivonne Bay, South Australia
  4. 4. Bondi Beach, New South Wales
  5. 5. Seventy-Five Mile Beach, Queensland
  6. 6. Bells Beach, Victoria
  7. 7. Burleigh Heads, Queensland
  8. 8. Cottesloe Beach, Western Australia
  9. 9. Red Rocks Beach, New South Wales
  10. 10. Bushrangers Bay, Victoria
  11. 11. Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia
  12. 12. Brighton Beach, Victoria
  13. Explore the Best Beaches in Australia

1. Whitehaven Beach, Queensland

Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsunday Islands, Queensland

Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsunday Islands, Queensland. Photo courtesy of Tourism Australia

The stunning white sands of Whitehaven beach represent the fusion of colors and captivating ability of nature to cast charms over visitors when looking out over Tongue Point or relaxing in the sunlight washing over the shore.

The temperate turquoise waters provide refreshing pockets in which to swim, as well as pristine snorkeling opportunities. The viewpoint from Hill Inlet offers a sweeping panorama of the swirling turquoise water and white sands.

As a beach in the Whitsunday Islands, Whitehaven is a popular place to find the Great Barrier Reef’s Great 8 or some peace and quiet before snorkeling to see the marine life.

Best For: Day trips during Great Barrier Reef tours and vacations

2. Wineglass Bay, Tasmania

Wineglass Bay, Tasmania, Australia

Wineglass Bay, Tasmania, Australia

The stunning crescent-white sand frames the turquoise water to resemble a wine glass at the aptly-named Wineglass Bay. The scenic landscape is majestic, accentuated by the remoteness of Freycinet National Park, one of Australia’s best national parks.

A trail connects Wineglass Bay to Hazards Beach. The isolated shoreline glistens with white sand, with boulders framing the edges of the coast, before reaching the forested expanse. The water turns from turquoise to foam as it reaches the coastline.

Most often, visitors to Wineglass Bay have the beach to themselves and can stroll barefoot listening to the relaxing sounds of the waves and birds in the trees.

Best For: Privacy and intimacy, perfect as a honeymoon escape in Australia

3. Vivonne Bay, South Australia

Vivonne Bay on Kangaroo Island, South Australia

Vivonne Bay on Kangaroo Island in South Australia

Vivonne Bay on Kangaroo Island sits in view of the Southern Ocean. Sandy beaches wind along the curve of the bay for over three miles, sheltered from the waves at Point Ellen and by naturally developed sand bars offshore.

Grass runs along the top of Point Ellen’s peak above the bordering rocks wrapping around the headland. Boats arrive in the morning with fishermen in search of the famous crayfish and Seal Bay Conservation Park hosts the third-largest seal colony in the country.

The turquoise and azure waters provide enough of a glow to captivate sunbathers or visitors eager to dip their feet into the sea.

Best For: Romantic Australia tours for couples on Kangaroo Island

4. Bondi Beach, New South Wales

Bondi Beach and Bondi Icebergs Ocean Pool in New South Wales

Bondi Beach in New South Wales

Bondi Beach in Sydney is an iconic destination, emblematic of Australia’s coastal lifestyle and is a must-visit place on Sydney vacations.

Bondi is the closest ocean beach to Sydney’s central business district and maintains great waves throughout the year, perfect for surfing, swimming, bodyboarding, or paddleboarding. Saltwater sea baths flank the sands and while meant as child-friendly swimming pools, they act as popular destinations for swimmers when sea swells become angry.

The Bondi to Coogee coastal trail also winds along the scenic shoreline between the Bondi Icebergs Ocean Pool and charming villages beyond.

Best For: Fun-filled beach days for all ages on Australia tours for families

5. Seventy-Five Mile Beach, Queensland

Seventy-Five Mile Beach in Queensland

Seventy-Five Mile Beach in Queensland, Australia

Fraser Island, one of the best places to see Australian wildlife, gained prominence as the largest sand island in the world, where rugged and wild lands meet the fabulous scenery of the sea.

Four-wheel-drive vehicles traverse the island on a firm sandbar that provides tremendous ocean views and access to grand fishing spots. The rough waters and high population of sharks make the beach a poor choice for swimming, but a great one for those who enjoy fabulous panoramas or casting a line into the water along the coastal break.

Best For: Scenic seaside drives and 4x4 Australia safari tours

6. Bells Beach, Victoria

Surfers at Bells Beach in Victoria

Bells Beach in Victoria, Australia

Bells Beach is renowned for its surfing and even made a cameo in the 1980s cult movie Point Break, starring Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze.

Located on the Great Ocean Road, one of Australia’s top scenic drives, near the town of Torquay, thousands of visitors flock to the beach over the Easter weekend to watch the world’s best surfers participate in the Rip Curl Pro Surfing Competition.

High cliffs create a natural amphitheater by framing the sandy beach and provide excellent vantage points from which to watch surfers carve the waves. This is an experience in itself as you look out over the Southern Ocean.

Best For: Surfers on South Pacific vacations and tours searching for the best waves

7. Burleigh Heads, Queensland

Burleigh Heads Beach in Queensland, Australia

Burleigh Heads in Queensland, Australia

The suburb of Queensland’s Gold Coast offers the perfect urban beachside escape, blending bars, cafes, delis, and restaurants within view of the famous wave breaks.

The headlands contain barbecues and cricket pitches, as well as lookouts from which spectators can watch surfers. Sunrises burn the sky and ocean sage, purple, and blue, before the water returns to turquoise. The southern edges of the beach offer the best swimming and bodyboarding, while 450 Norfolk Pines are home to native birds.

The beach also hosts markets for a mix of handmade artwork and locally-grown produce, inviting travelers to immerse themselves in Australian culture.

Best For: An additional stop in Queensland on longer 2 week Australia itineraries

8. Cottesloe Beach, Western Australia

Cottesloe Beach in Western Australia

Cottesloe Beach in Western Australia

The iconic beach of Western Australia’s capital city Perth, one of Australia’s best cities, is perfect for swimming, snorkeling, surfing, and ocean sunsets.

Lovingly referred to as Cott by locals, the shoreline connects the beautiful western edge of the continent to the center of the city. While Perth has a variety of white-sand beaches, smooth, terraced lawns contrast the hot, soft stretch of beach to attract families and couples of all ages.

The main boulevard hosts a plethora of shops, cafes, and bars that are popular at sunset, while the crystal-clear waters with their consistent good swells are a haven for swimmers and bodyboarders.

Best For: Lavish coastal retreats in Perth on luxury Australia vacations and tours

9. Red Rocks Beach, New South Wales

Beautiful beach sunrise in Australia

Red Rocks Beach in New South Wales

The spectacular beach remains a hidden gem amidst the innumerable beaches along Australia’s east coast and the casual coastal escapes of New South Wales.

The name “Red Rocks” is derived from the scattered, colorful rocks along the shore caused by broken red quartz approximately 300 million years old. The sweeping sands range from white to gold, with the Pacific’s turquoise and azure hues creating a spectacle of nature.

The ancient rock formations also form rock pools around the headlands in view of the whitewashed walls of the towering lighthouse.

Best For: Off-the-beaten-path beach experiences boasting unique photography opportunities

10. Bushrangers Bay, Victoria

Bushrangers Bay in Victoria, Australia

Bushrangers Bay in Victoria, Australia

Bushrangers Bay, with its menacing basalt cliffs, changes your perception of a beach. The coastline acts as a reminder of the captivating but harsh landscape shaped by the elements over thousands of years.

Marine life and soft coral brim in the bay, making it an exceptional site for divers to explore, while low tide gives way to crystal-clear rock pools. The local trail also tops the weekend to-do lists of many residents of Victoria.

Birds call through the Banksia forest, the waves break hard over the rocks, and views from the lighthouse on Cape Schanck are magnificent.

Best For: Adventure tours of Australia and a perfect addition to 10 day Australia itineraries

11. Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia

Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia

Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia

The world heritage site edges the Ningaloo Coast in the East Indian Ocean, showcasing the country’s largest fringing coral reef and the only large reef so close to land.

Ningaloo Reef, one of Australia’s best adventure destinations, offers exceptional snorkeling, with hundreds of tropical fish swirling around the bright, vibrant coral, attracting swimmers and snorkelers from across the country.

From March to August the reef is home to the largest number of whale sharks and eco-friendly tours take visitors to Exmouth and Coral Bay to swim with the marine wildlife, including elusive sea turtles, humpback whales, and dugong.

Best For: Snorkeling, scuba diving, and marine-life viewing

12. Brighton Beach, Victoria

Bathing boxes at Brighton Beach, Victoria

Brighton Beach in Victoria, Australia

Brighton Beach is one of Victoria’s most photographed. The scenic views, relaxing ambiance, and colorful changing boxes have become top draws to the eclectic tourist site, in addition to the fabulous shoreline and bright water.

The nearly 90 bathing boxes on the beach are part of the coastal heritage of the region and sought-after by locals. Lifeguards also patrol the waters and sands, making it a popular swimming destination, especially among families.

Bay Street hosts cafes, restaurants, and fashionable boutiques, and pathways blend gorgeous gardens, historic architecture, and the fabulous sands of the southern coastline.

Best For: Safe and family-friendly beach days on the coast of Victoria

Explore the Best Beaches in Australia

Whitsunday Islands in Queensland, Australia

Whitsunday Islands in Queensland, Australia

From the wild allure of untamed landscapes to the stunning seclusion of coastal islands, pristine white-sand beaches, and engaging wildlife, you can embrace the wonders of Australia through its beaches with our Australia tours and vacations.

Whether you want to swim, snorkel, surf, or relax, explore our Australia travel guide for more inspiration and information, or browse more ideas from our collection of beach vacations.

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