With a coastline that stretches more than 30,000 miles, Australia is home to about 11,000 beaches, making it a top pick for a beach vacation. From the tourist-friendly Bondi Beach in Sydney to some of the most secluded beaches on the west coast with the whitest sands and the bluest water, the country has a strip of sand for every kind of beach lover. Whether you like to indulge in adrenaline-fueled water sport or lounge by the sand as you gaze out at the limitless ocean, Australia is sure to draw you in with its unmatched beauty and ecological diversity.
If you’re wondering which part of the coast to visit, our team of experts have handpicked ten of the most stunning beaches across the country.
With its chalk-white powdery sand and turquoise blue waters, Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsundays archipelago is often regarded as one of the world’s best beaches. In 2013, it was named Australia’s best beach, and we can see why. Aside from its scenic setting, it offers excellent opportunities for snorkeling and splendid views from atop Tongue Point, a short hike away. The beach is believed to have the finest sand made up of close to 99 percent pure silica, giving it its powdery texture and brilliant white hue. Here’s a special tip: explore Whitehaven Beach by seaplane. We promise, the view of this tropical paradise in Whitsunday Islands National Park from the air is unforgettable.
This tropical paradise is located in the Great Barrier Reef, about 155 miles north of Cairns. The small island is lined with pristine white sand beaches and surrounded by coral reefs with crystal clear water. Snorkel among rainbow-colored coral or follow in the footsteps of James Cook and climb the island’s highest mountain. From this vantage point, Cook watched for a passage out of the labyrinth of coral reefs in 1770. Another highlight of Lizard Island is that you can stay in some of the most exclusive luxury resorts in Australia.
Wineglass Bay in Tasmania is a permanent fixture in the list of the world’s best beaches. The spectacular crescent-shaped bay offers a winning combination of white, soft powdery sand and sapphire blue sea, punctuated by pink granite peaks and rolling green hills. You can see dolphins and whales in the bay between May and September. If you’re looking for something more, the area around Freycinet National Park is ideal for fishing, sailing and hiking.
The beach in Noosa is perfect if you want to try surfing but do not feel completely ready for the big waves. Here you will find small, kind waves (and kind lifeguards)! It is an excellent place for beginners to take a surfing lesson or two. Located two hours north of Brisbane on the Sunshine Coast, Noosa Beach is a popular spot for family vacations. A visit to Hastings Street comes highly recommended. The chic shopping mile directly on the beach promenade is lined with cafes, restaurants, bars, boutiques and galleries.
Perched near Australia’s southwesternmost point, Mandalay Beach may well appear to be at the edge of the world. It is definitely worth the drive, as you will be rewarded with sweeping views of the long, white sandy beach and the spectacular coastline of D’Entrecasteaux National Park. You can also catch a glimpse of Chatham Island from the beach. The beach is named after the Norwegian three-master Mandalay, which was shipwrecked off the beach in 1911. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch a glimpse of the wreck, which still rises out of the rough waters of the Southern Ocean at low tide.
Turquoise Bay near Exmouth on the Coral Coast is a pristine stretch of sand and among the country’s finest beaches. Here, you could go diving or snorkeling in the stunning Ningaloo Reef, a less frequented coral reef, and unearth the wealth of marine life in the crystal clear waters of the South Pacific Ocean. You can spot turtles, reef sharks, whale sharks, humpback whales and more than 500 species of fish as you dive in. You could also explore the Cape Range National Park that lures you with its rugged terrain, deep gorges and wild kangaroos.
This beautiful bay along the South Coast Highway is named after the huge granite stones called Elephant Rocks, located right on the shore. The rocks are believed to resemble a herd of elephants from afar. The cove sits in the William Bay National Park, adjacent to the Greens Pool beach, and its sparkling blue green waters are a sight to behold. Go for a swim in the beach, or try canoeing, snorkeling, kayaking and more. Nearby Denmark in south western Australia is the perfect base to experience this region. Visit the many wineries, bakeries, breweries and restaurants in this quaint coastal town.
Hyams Beach is located about 110 miles south of Sydney on the southern shores of Jervis Bay Marine Park in New South Wales. This picture-perfect beach is fringed by another marine reserve – Booderee National Park. The calm waters of the beach are perfect for swimming, snorkeling and fishing. You could also follow scenic hiking trails such as the Hyams Beach Trail and White Sands Walk. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch sight of fur seals, humpback whales, dolphins and southern right whales during the migratory season between May and November.
Named after the telegraph cable line laid between Broome and Java in 1889, this beach near Broome in Western Australia is 14 miles long. The turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean are offset by ocher-colored cliffs, and the sunsets here are glorious. As the fiery sun dissolves into the twilight sky, sink your feet into the powdery white sand and take in the limitless ocean lapping the pristine shores. Between September and May, it’s possible to see migrating whales and dolphins. The Gantheaume Point lighthouse is a great vantage point to spot these creatures. You could also hike along Minyirr Park, a coastal reserve, in the southern part of the beach.
1075 Mile Beach, Fraser Island
This 75-mile-long beach runs along the entire length of Fraser Island in Queensland. The UNESCO-listed island is home to rainforests and more than 100 freshwater lakes that fill up during the rainy season. The beach is an all-year-round fishing destination with scores of fishing enthusiasts visiting the shores between August and October. There’s lots to do while you’re here: see the volcanic rocks of Indian Head, the Maheno shipwreck, or go for a swim at Champagne Pools (ocean swimming is not recommended due to powerful currents and sharks).
Few trips are as relaxing as a beach vacation. Thankfully, there’s no shortage of stellar beaches in Australia. You could go on a road trip across Northern Australia with stops at Lizard Island and the Great Barrier Reef, or travel to some of the most charming seaside settlements along the country’s southwest coast. Talk to our experts about a personalized trip to Australia, packed with beaches, culture, cuisine, buzzing cities, national parks and more. We’re sure you’ll fall in love with this fascinating country!