Australia’s best beaches

Wineglass Bay, Freycinet National Park

Wineglass Bay, Freycinet National Park

Australia is blessed with thousands of magnificent beaches, from suburban pleasure grounds to unspoilt gems in remote locations.

The country’s 10,000 or so beaches are among the country’s greatest natural resources. They provide extraordinary scenery, and a place to walk and watch, to sunbake and socialise, to marvel at the marine wildlife and to engage in endless sporting endeavours, from swimming and surfing to the ubiquitous beach cricket. Some of our most exquisite beaches are among the least visited, found in remote regions of the country.

Most Australians have a favourite beach, but what makes one beach better than another is strictly a matter of taste.

Some people like their beaches long and lonely; others prefer teams of lifesavers, foreshore cafes and bustling promenades. The clear aquamarine waters and pure white sands of tropical beaches appeal to many; but for others, the ideal beach embraces the drama of high-energy waves, scudding clouds and weather constantly on the move – features typical of the Southern Ocean coast.

The beachgoer’s preferred activity also affects the choice: surfers need waves, anglers want rock platforms, walkers like cliff-tops and views, divers look for coral or wrecks or caves, families seek beach patrols and mild currents.

Where to find the best beach

The best beach is as likely to be a tiny cove in an isolated national park as it is the sandy swath fronting a resort of international fame. Here are a few favourites.

Whitehaven Beach, Queensland

Whitehaven Beach, Whitsundays National Park

Whitehaven Beach, Whitsundays National Park

Powdery white sand, clear tropical waters and pristine surrounds make this a perfect example of an Australian tropical island beach – no surf but superb swimming.

Bondi Beach, New South Wales

Australia’s most famous beach lies on the edge of the country’s biggest city. Constant surf patrols, paved promenades, rock pools, good surf and a lovely, deep crescent shape are among the attractions.

Port Fairy Beach, Victoria

Port Fairy Beach

Port Fairy Beach

A perfect holiday-town beach: in summer there is a bustle of patrols, body surfers, paddling toddlers and beach tents; in winter, surfers, anglers and well-wrapped walkers dot the quiet six kilometre stretch.

Wineglass Bay, Tasmania

Wineglass Bay, Freycinet National Park

Wineglass Bay, Freycinet National Park

Located within magnificent Freycinet National Park and accessible only to walkers and boaters, this beach is a perfectly formed crescent of sand and water set within a frame of forested mountains.

Vivonne Bay, South Australia

This remote stretch of sand on Kangaroo Island exemplifies the drama of the Southern Ocean coastline: it has rugged headlands, plentiful wildlife, strong waves – and it remains free of development.

Esperance beaches, Western Australia

Lucky Bay, Cape Le Grand National Park

Lucky Bay, Cape Le Grand National Park

Breathtakingly beautiful and completely unspoilt, these beaches of remote south-east Western Australia are known for the intensity of the contrast between the crisp white sand and vivid blue water.

Cable Beach, Western Australia

A beach of both the tropics and the outback, Cable Beach borders the remote resort of Broome. Camel trains, pearl luggers bobbing on the horizon and striped beach umbrellas complement the superb natural scenery.

This is an extract from Australia’s Coast (2nd ed), a book that will whisk you away to Australia’s spectacular coastline (as well as revealing more than a few places to visit along the stretch).

  • Mez Delaney

    Twilight bay in Esperance;easy access; & mostof the others that have been mentioned.WEST Coast beaches are by far THE BEST in AUSTRALIA!!! from off the mainland. Whitehaven is gorgeous also but is out onthe GBR so transport is a factor in access….