NATURE AND WILDLIFE

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Australia’s Best Beaches (+ Hidden Gems)

There’s a bucketload of beautiful beaches dotted around Australia.

While we can’t feature every one of them, we have compiled an almighty assortment with varying qualities.

Some are absolute icons; others hidden gems. There’s the distinctive and the quirky.

And they all deserve a visit.

Dip your toes in now…

Please note: Some featured beaches are not suitable for swimming or other water-based activities.

This beach in WA stands out from the crowd. More below. Credit: Tourism Western Australia.

Famous Australian Beaches

Let’s start with the bucket-listers…

Whitehaven Beach, QLD

Location: Whitsunday Island, offshore from Airlie Beach.

The signature stretch lives up to the hype. Reached via boat tours departing from Airlie Beach, Whitehaven delivers the irresistible combination of outrageously white sand and shimmering azure, emerald, and turquoise waters. Breathtakingly beautiful.

Nearby accommodation: BIG4 Adventure WhitsundayBIG4 Whitsundays Tropical Eco or NRMA Airlie Beach in Airlie Beach and BIG4 Conway Beach Whitsundays.

This must be just like livin' in paradise: Whitehaven Beach. Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland.

Bondi Beach, NSW

Location: Sydney.

This is Australia’s most iconic beach and a star on the international stage, too. Crowds gravitate to its generous stretch of soft sand, which is home to the world’s oldest surf lifesaving club. A must visit.

Nearest accommodation: NRMA Sydney LakesideIngenia Nepean RiverIngenia Holidays Avina or Ingenia Holidays Sydney Hills.

Iconic: Bondi Beach. Credit: Adam Krowitz.

Bells Beach, VIC

Location: Near Anglesea, Great Ocean Road.

The legendary surf spot receives global attention each Easter when it plays host to the long-running Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach. For those who prefer to stay dry, spectacular views of the wild waves are on show from clifftop vantage points.

Nearby accommodation: Ingenia Holidays Torquay or BIG4 Anglesea and BIG4 Aireys Inlet.

Bells Beach is surfing mecca.

Wineglass Bay, TAS

Location: Freycinet National Park, Freycinet Peninsula.

Another global superstar, Wineglass Bay is simply divine. White sand meets turquoise waters that are surrounded by rugged, granite mountains. It’s a bit of an effort to reach but the tradeoff is a lack of crowds to share the sparkling scenery with.

Nearby accommodation: BIG4 Iluka, Coles Bay.

Smashing: Wineglass Bay. Credit: Jason Charles Hill.

Surfers Paradise Beach, QLD

Location: Gold Coast.

The icons keep coming. Located at the heart of the Gold Coast, Surfers Paradise Beach serves up a lengthy stretch of golden sand and rolling waves that entice swimmers and surfers. It’s backdropped by the Gold Coast’s famous skyline.

Nearby accommodation: BIG4 Gold Coast, NRMA Treasure Island and BIG4 Tweed Billabong in Tweed Heads.

Signature sand: Surfers Paradise Beach. Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland.

Turquoise Bay, WA

Location: Near Exmouth, North West Cape.

Planted along an awe-inspiring stretch of the WA coast, Turquoise Bay is picture-perfect. Expect more soft sand and gin-clear waters. This is a snorkelling hotspot thanks to a positioning on the fringes of Ningaloo Marine Park with its rich variety of underwater life. Easily one of the most beautiful beaches in Australia.

Nearby accommodation: RAC Exmouth.

The amazing colours of Turquoise Bay. Credit: Tourism Western Australia.

Noosa Main Beach, QLD

Location: Sunshine Coast.

This stretch is a regular on best beaches in Australia lists, and deservedly so. It’s expansive and enticing with solid surf while being easily accessible, set a stone’s throw from Hastings St. A placement fringing Noosa National Park doesn’t hurt, either.

Nearby accommodation: Ingenia NoosaIngenia Noosa North or Noosa North Shore Retreat.

Noosa Main Beach serves up all the right ingredients for a coastal outing. Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland.

Mindil Beach, NT

Location: Darwin.

Just minutes from the CBD is this spectacular tropical beach. Although swimming is not recommended, Mindil is a regular crowd-puller. Watching a sunset from the sand is an essential Darwin experience, as is visiting the seasonal markets nearby.

Nearby accommodation: BIG4 Hidden Valley and BIG4 Howard Springs.

Sunset city: Mindil Beach. Credit: Mindil Beach Markets/Kevin Phan.

Hyams Beach, NSW

Location: Jervis Bay, South Coast region.

White sand beaches in Australia don’t come much prettier than this. The powdery stuff leads to vivid blue-green waters that invite all manner of aquatic activity.

Nearest accommodation: BIG4 Ingenia Lake Conjola or Tasman Holiday Parks - Myola.

Stunning Hyams Beach. Credit: Jordan Robins.

Best Hidden Beaches

Here is just a handful of amazing beaches to visit that often dodge the crowds…

Second Valley Beach, SA

Location: Fleurieu Peninsula.

The beaches in these parts are renowned for their beauty, and this pocket rocket is among the favourites. A towering backdrop of gigantic cliffs, the presence of other geological gems, and its suitability for various water-based activities combine to create an absolutely irresistible stretch. Nearby Rapid Bay is another pearler.

Nearby accommodation: BIG4 Cape Jervis, BIG4 Port Willunga, BIG4 Mount CompassBIG4 Normanville JettyBIG4 Breeze – Port Elliot or NRMA Victor Harbor.

Second Valley, first rate. Credit: Kobajourney.

Mungo Beach, NSW

Location: Myall Lakes National Park, North Coast region.

The star-studded national park has ample coastline within its boundaries, and Mungo is an attention-grabber. This is one of the longest beaches in NSW and is untamed with towering dunes and big surf. There are calmer finds within these surrounds if that’s more your style.

Nearest accommodation: BIG4 River Myall in Bulahdelah.

Untamed: Mungo Beach. Credit: Destination NSW.

Childers Cove, VIC

Location: Near Warrnambool, Great Ocean Road region.

This pretty patch exudes all the beauty that bursts from the Great Ocean Road coastline. Only in this case there’s every chance you might have the sand all to yourself. Bliss.

Nearby accommodation: Tasman Holiday Parks - Warrnambool or NRMA Warrnambool Riverside Holiday Park.

Childers Cove is a sparkling, secluded spot.

Ethel Beach, SA

Location: Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park, Yorke Peninsula.

Found at the peninsula’s ‘toe’, this dramatic beach is named after a Norwegian ship that ran aground nearby in 1904. More than a century on, remnants of the Ethel remain entrenched in the golden sand. A backdrop of striking high cliffs add to a distinct moodiness.

Nearest accommodation: BIG4 Breeze – Port Hughes.

Moody: Ethel Beach. Credit: South Australian Tourism Commission.

Kitty Miller Bay, VIC

Location: Phillip Island.

Tucked away from some of the island’s more popular patches, Kitty Miller grabs attention for its sheer beauty and versatility. Swimming, surfing, and snorkelling all appeal here while there are rockpools and a nearby shipwreck, too.

Nearby accommodation: BIG4 Ingenia Phillip IslandPhillip Island Park Lane Holiday Park or NRMA Phillip Island Beachfront Holiday Park.

Pounce on Kitty Miller Bay.

Red Cliff beach, NSW

Location: Yuraygir National Park, between Yamba and Coffs Harbour.

Yuraygir explodes with incredible scenery, led by a long stretch of untouched coastline. Along it you’ll find this isolated jewel, accurately named for the vivid cliffs that back onto the small stretch of sand. This is a prized spot for photographers.

Nearby accommodation: BIG4 Saltwater @ Yamba, or BIG4 Park Beach and BIG4 Sawtell Beach in Coffs Harbour.

Those colours: Red Cliff Beach. Credit: Destination NSW.

Most Picturesque Beaches

Hundreds could make a case for mention. Here is a select bunch that delivers eye-candy overload…

Little Beach, WA

Location: Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve, near Albany.

Albany has pretty beaches of its own, but it pays to take the 40km drive east to reach the reserve and this paradisical spot. Wondrous white sand, vibrant blue waters, and striking granite boulders create a wow-factor scene. And don’t miss Waterfall Beach while you’re here.

Nearest accommodation: BIG4 Emu Beach and BIG4 Middleton Beach in Albany.

Little Beach, big appeal. Credit: Tourism Western Australia.

Tallebudgera Creek, QLD

Location: Gold Coast.

Technically, this is not a beach, but being the Gold Coast you can expect plenty nearby. What makes this sparkling spot a standout – and adds to its popularity – is a wonderful, protected positioning sandwiched between Burleigh Heads National Park and Palm Beach. Still expect sandy shores and water leisure aplenty.

Nearby accommodation: BIG4 Gold CoastNRMA Treasure Island and BIG4 Tweed Billabong in Tweed Heads.

Tallebudgera Creek is a crowd magnet. Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland.

Loch Ard Gorge Beach, VIC

Location: Port Campbell National Park, Great Ocean Road.

The setting alone makes this one of the best beaches on the Great Ocean Road. Plant your feet on a generous patch of soft, golden sand while being surrounded by towering limestone cliffs. Incredible.

Nearest accommodation: Tasman - WarrnamboolNRMA Warrnambool RiversideBIG4 Port Fairy or BIG4 Narrawong Island.

Wow! Loch Ard Gorge Beach.

Friendly Beaches, TAS

Location: Freycinet National Park.

While Wineglass Bay hogs much attention in these parts, Friendly Beaches is equally mesmerising. And a lot easier to reach. Your toes can hit the sand after the shortest of walks from the car park; then, it’s up to you how much of this fabulous 5km-long stretch you wish to explore.

Nearby accommodation: BIG4 Iluka in Coles Bay.

Friendly Beaches is very inviting. Credit: Stu Gibson.

Locks Well, SA

Location: Near Elliston, Eyre Peninsula.

Locks Well epitomises the sheer beauty of beaches dotted along the peninsula. It’s reached via a 60m drop along a wooden staircase, which means there are stunning views to soak up from all different angles. As a bonus, this is a prime spot for reeling in salmon.

Nearest accommodation: BIG4 Ceduna or Elliston Caravan Park.

Locks Well sparkles from all angles. Credit: South Australian Tourism Commission.

Most Distinctive Beaches

These strips of sand will remain etched in your memory…

Ocean Beach, TAS

Location: Strahan, west coast.

While not safe for swimming, Tasmania’s longest beach has ample allure. It’s dramatic and wild yet incredibly attractive – the sunsets here can be astonishing. And Ocean Beach provides a quirky feeling of being a world away from civilisation despite starting just a few kilometres from Strahan’s centre.

Nearby accommodation: BIG4 Strahan.

Wild: Ocean Beach. Credit: Jason Charles Hill.

Caves Beach, NSW

Location: Lake Macquarie, North Coast region.

This gorgeous slice of coastline is enhanced by a cluster of sea caves that is found at the beach’s southern end, best explored at low tide. Cue a selection of Insta-worthy pics.

Nearby accommodation: Ingenia Lake Macquarie.

A hole lot of fun: Caves Beach. Credit: Destination NSW.

Cape Peron, WA

Location: Francois Peron National Park, between Geraldton and Carnarvon.

Part of the Shark Bay World Heritage area, Francois Peron bedazzles with its many landscapes. And it doesn’t get more striking than at Cape Peron where the colour variation of white sand, blue waters, and red cliffs is jaw-dropping.

Nearby BIG4 accommodation: RAC Monkey Mia or further afield at BIG4 Plantation in Carnarvon.

Bedazzling: Cape Peron. Credit: Tourism Western Australia.

Lillico Beach, TAS

Location: Between Devonport and Ulverstone.

This pebbly northwest patch is a gift for photographers, enhanced by the presence of rockpools. But the biggest drawcard here is a colony of little penguins that comes to shore each evening, and which can be admired from a designated viewing platform.

Nearby accommodation: BIG4 Ulverstone.

Pebbles, penguins, and prettiness: Lillico Beach. Credit: S. Group.

Mt Martha Beach, VIC

Location: Mornington Peninsula.

Bright and bold bathing boxes are a signature find at several Mornington Peninsula beaches. Some of the most colourful examples are found along this 2km expanse of golden sand, which is sliced down the middle by the presence of a creek.

Nearby accommodation: BIG4 Mornington Peninsula.

Prime real estate: Mt Martha Beach.

Rainbow Beach, QLD

Location: Sunshine Coast.

Ancient colourful cliffs that backdrop this expansive beach and surrounding town of the same name are the headline stealers in these parts. Nearby is another slice of eye candy – a quirky moonscape-like sand mass named Carlo Sand Blow.

Nearby accommodation: BIG4 Breeze – Rainbow Beach.

All the colours: Rainbow Beach. Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland.

Hamelin Bay, WA

Location: Margaret River region.

Hamelin Bay has all the winning ingredients that you’d expect from a Margaret River beach, including white sand, aqua waters, and vibrant coastal cliffs. The point of difference here is the thrilling sight of stingrays that often gather near the shoreline, especially on calm, clear days. The official advice is to look but not touch.

Nearby accommodation: BIG4 Taunton Farm Margaret RiverBIG4 Bunbury RiversideBIG4 Breeze – BusseltonRAC Busselton Holiday ParkMandalay Holiday ResortTasman - Yallingup Beach or Tasman - Yallingup Caves.

Stingrays reliably frequent Hamelin Bay. Credit: Tourism Western Australia.

Myall Beach, QLD

Location: Cape Tribulation, Daintree National Park.

Myall Beach is a stunner with a unique location that stands out from the crowd, and which provides an almighty outlook. It marks the rare meeting point of two World Heritage sites: the Wet Tropics of Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef. Amazing.

Nearest accommodation: BIG4 Port DouglasBIG4 Ingenia Cairns or Tasman - Cairns Cool Waters.

Enjoy a rare sight at Myall Beach. Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland.

Quirkiest Beaches

There’s a bit beyond the ordinary going on here…

Squeaky Beach, VIC

Location: Wilsons Promontory National Park, Gippsland.

It’s with good reason this beach is so named. Walk along the dry sand and you’re bound to create a notable squeaking sound. It partly explains why this is such a well-loved beach, but the combination of wondrous white sand and turquoise water helps, too.

Nearest BIG4 accommodation: Wilsons Prom Holiday Park, BIG4 Ingenia InverlochIngenia Holidays Inverloch Foreshore or Ingenia Holidays Cape Paterson.

Squeaky clean Squeaky Beach.

Port Willunga Beach, SA

Location: Fleurieu Peninsula.

This long, curving beach has a couple of distinctive elements. The first are jetty ruins that throwback to the area’s grain port days: cue excellent photo ops. It’s coupled with caves carved into the towering cliff-face that were once used by anglers for storage purposes. Nowadays, they create perfect picnic spots.

Nearby accommodation: BIG4 Port Willunga.

Port Willunga Beach is beyond vanilla. Credit: Mish and Kirk.

Bay of Fires Conservation Area, TAS

Location: Near St Helens.

Although not a select beach as such, this area had to get a mention. Stretching roughly 50km from Binalong Bay to Eddystone Point, the Bay of Fires hoards a smattering of glorious white sand beaches and their crystal-clear waters. The quirk in these parts is the sight of orange-coated granite boulders that surround the sand. It all makes for visual splendour of epic proportions.

Nearby accommodation: BIG4 St Helens or Tasman Holiday Parks - St Helens.

Hot views: Bay of Fires. Credit: Emilie Ristevski.

Greens Pool, WA

Location: William Bay National Park, near Denmark.

Quirky might not be the best descriptor, but there’s something captivating at least about the sight of the gigantic granite boulders that are dotted amid these turquoise waters. Even more striking formations are reached via a short walk from here: Elephant Rocks. Greens Pool is a crowd-puller in warmer months and easily ranks among the nicest beaches in Australia.

Nearby accommodation: BIG4 Denmark.

Bold: Greens Pool. Credit: Tourism Western Australia.

Beaches with Kangaroos

Share the sand with a bouncy bunch…

Casuarina Beach, QLD

Location: Cape Hillsborough National Park.

Also known as Cape Hillsborough Beach, this sparkling stretch reliably attracts a mob of kangaroos and wallabies at sunrise. It makes for one heck of an iconic Australian experience. The beach is 50km north of Mackay.

Nearest accommodation: Cape Hillsborough Nature Tourist Park or BIG4 Mackay

Don't skip a visit to Casuarina Beach. Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland.

Lucky Bay, WA

Location: Cape Le Grand National Park, near Esperance.

With its ridiculously white sand, glorious blue-green waters, and brilliant backdrop, Lucky Bay is one of the most famous beaches in Australia. The addition of resident kangaroos elevates it to icon status and helps create the most amazing photos.

Nearby accommodation: RAC Esperance.

Lucky Bay rewards those who are fortunate enough to stop by. Credit: Tourism Western Australia.

Pebbly Beach, NSW

Location: Murramarang National Park, South Coast NSW region.

Flanked by headlands, this brilliant beach epitomises the region’s gripping beauty. It appears sand-loving kangaroos are just as keen on the scenery. Murramarang warrants further exploration thanks to more top-notch beaches and other visual delights.

Nearby accommodation: BIG4 parks in Batemans Bay region.

Meet the locals at Pebbly Beach. Credit: Destination NSW.

How Many Beaches are There in Australia?

There are almost 12,000 beaches located throughout the country, spread across more than 50,000km of coastline.

It’s time to start exploring!

One more look at Greens Pool. Credit: Tourism Western Australia.

Isn’t it time you had a beach break? Plan your next BIG4 getaway here.

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