With a total coastline of almost 60,000 kilometres, Australia is blessed with an impressive perimeter of beaches to wow everybody, no matter what kind of fun in the sun your prefer. From surf beaches and the whitest sand in the world, to rugged cliff tops, wild waves and gentle waters lapping up the endless stretches of sand… It’s hard to know where to start exploring. To help you on your way to the perfect sandy adventure, here’s our pick of the best beaches in Australia to dip your toes into.
Wineglass Bay, Tasmania
Remember to pack your camera for this one – Wineglass Bay, nestled in Tassie’s popular Freycinet National Park, is one of Australia’s most photogenic beaches! While Tasmania tends to lose out to other Australian states in terms of beautiful beaches, Wineglass Bay is certainly one of the exceptions. Deep cobalt-blue waters fade into striking turquoise before reaching the almost-semi circle of white sand, which is best viewed from the one-hour return hike to the lookout. It’s a challenging path, but the spectacular view is well worth the effort.
How to get there: Freycinet National Park is about a two-and-a-half hour drive from Tasmania’s capital city of Hobart, and makes an excellent day trip.
Manly Beach, Sydney, New South Wales
Half the attraction of this famous Sydney beach is getting there; catching an iconic yellow-and-green ferry through Sydney harbour, taking photos of the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge as you sail along, bobbing past the headlands and pulling up to the bustling Manly pier.
Once you’re there, choose to paddle in the calm waters of the harbour-side beach, or wander along the pedestrianised mall, The Corso, to get to the crashing waves of the popular surf beach. You can also wind your way along the coastal walk to nearby Shelly Beach, where you can snorkel around the Cabbage Bay Aquatic Reserve and try to seek out some of the friendly locals, including the resident Blue Groper, or if you’re lucky, dolphins!
How to get there: Manly is a short ferry ride from Circular Quay in Sydney. Once you fly into Sydney Kingsford-Smith Airport, catch your airport transfer to your hotel, then the city is your oyster! Airport transfers from SYD to the CBD start from just AUD$16 on Jayride.com.
Coral Bay, Western Australia
With a mild tropical climate and sheltered by the Ningaloo Reef, Coral Bay is a secluded enclave that offers world-class snorkelling, thanks to the extremely accessible reef. One of the main attractions, however, is the opportunity to come face-to-face with the world’s largest fish – whale sharks – between March and June. Turtles nesting is also a draw card, with species such as loggerheads, hawksbills and green turtles coming to shore to lay their precious eggs, and they can often be spotted swimming in the shallow waters. For wildlife lovers, Coral Bay is a dream.
How to get there: Exmouth Airport is the most convenient airport to fly to. From there it’s about an hour-and-a-half’s drive south to Coral Bay.
Bells Beach, Torquay, Victoria
Surfers, this one’s for you. Highly regarded as one of the best surf beaches in Australia, Bells Beach is nestled in Torquay, a popular destination along the world-renowned Great Ocean Road and just a few short hours from the city of Melbourne. Walk along the surrounding craggy cliff tops for spectacular ocean views, catch a few waves or walk along the natural amphitheatre that makes up Bells Beach, before heading into Torquay for a post-beach meal.
How to get there: The most convenient airport is Melbourne’s Avalon Airport. If you’re basing yourself in Melbourne for your stay, Melbourne Tullamarine Airport is the most convenient, and from there the Great Ocean Road is a popular day trip.
Mindil Beach, Darwin, Northern Territory
First things first – thanks to jellyfish and crocodiles that call the Northern Territory their home, it’s not recommended that you actually swim at Mindil Beach. But luckily, this Top End beach’s appeal doesn’t lie in swimming (you can do that at nearby Casuarina beach instead).
From April ‘til October, the beach comes alive in a blaze of colour, sights and scents as the Mindil Beach Sunset Markets set up shop every Thursday and Sunday evening. Inspired by the markets of Asia, you’ll find everything from laksa to mango lassi, fresh seafood, artisan products, local crafts, Indigenous art, fire twirlers and the real highlight; watercolour-worthy sunsets that paint the sky brilliant shades of yellow, red, pink, and orange, reflecting on the water in an explosion of colour.
Hyams Beach, Jervis Bay, New South Wales
Hiding away roughly three hours south of Sydney, Hyams Beach is not only a gorgeous seaside paradise, but it also boasts the Guinness World Record of having the whitest sand in the world. Match that with sapphire-blue waters, and you’ve got one very photogenic beach! The surrounding hinterland of Booderee National Park also offers visitors idyllic bushwalking opportunities, or opt to go snorkelling in the Jervis Bay Marine Park.
How to get there: Fly into Sydney Kingsford-Smith Airport if you’re basing yourself in Sydney. From there, Jervis Bay is an easy three hour drive and makes the perfect weekend retreat.
You might also like: 6 Unmissable Sydney Day Trips
Long Beach, Robe, South Australia
Affectionately known as ‘South Australia’s favourite seaside town’, Robe’s Long Beach is one of the top attractions of this cute coastal village, thanks to the the fact that it’s one of the few beaches in Australia that’s accessible for 4WDs to drive along in the summer months, thanks to the firm sand. Long Beach stretches for 17 kilometres and is especially popular for novice surfers, thanks to the consistent but not-too-overpowering waves that are ideal to learn on.
How to get there: The closest capital city is Adelaide, and Robe makes for a great day trip or weekender if Adelaide is your base.
Bondi Beach, Sydney, New South Wales
We could hardly write a list of best beaches in Australia without mentioning Bondi! Probably the most famous and well-recognised beach in Australia, Bondi Beach is a sought-after destination for good reason. Patrolled by surf lifesavers all year round and only a short distance from the Sydney CBD, Bondi is an attractive destination for families, couples, tourists, and anybody wanting to enjoy a quintessential Aussie beach experience.
You won’t go hungry in Bondi, either, thanks to numerous cafés and restaurants offering up delicious coffee, acai bowls and superfood salads for the health-conscious, or maybe a cold beer with fish and chips at the famous Bondi Icebergs is more your style. For a great day out at the beach, Bondi has it all.
Wategos Beach, Byron Bay, New South Wales
While many visitors make the voyage to the famous main beach of coastal treasure Byron Bay, it’s the nearby smaller Wategos Beach that’s a true gem. Fringed by trees and protected by the headland from crashing waves, Wategos is the perfect place to simply lay back and relax, soak up some Vitamin D, perhaps looking out for the local population of bottlenose dolphins that play in the area.
With free barbecues available to use, Wategos is also the ideal place for a picnic! So pack up your favourite foods, your bathers and sunscreen and enjoy a day of indulging in one of the most beautiful places on Australia’s east coast.
How to get there: Ballina-Byron Gateway Airport is the closest airport to Byron Bay. You can also fly into the Gold Coast Airport and take a shared shuttle around one-hour south to Byron Bay for just AUD$40.
Main Beach, Noosa, Queensland
Queensland’s Sunshine Coast is a crown that Australia wears proudly, but it’s Noosa that is the star diamond. Gold sand, azure waters, fantastic weather, gentle waves ideal for swimming, pods of dolphins frollicking and, depending on the time of year, whales breaching off the coast make Noosa a very desirable location – just ask the tens of thousands of Aussies who holiday there each year!
How to get there: Fly into the Sunshine Coast Airport and then catch a pre-booked airport transfer to Noosa. Shared shuttles start from just AUD$38 from the Sunshine Coast Airport to Noosa on Jayride.com.
What’s your favourite Australian beach? Tell us in the comments below.