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.
Let’s start with the bucket-listers…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here is just a handful of amazing beaches to visit that often dodge the crowds…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hundreds could make a case for mention. Here is a select bunch that delivers eye-candy overload…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
These strips of sand will remain etched in your memory…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There’s a bit beyond the ordinary going on here…
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.
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.
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.
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.
Share the sand with a bouncy bunch…
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.
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.
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.
There are almost 12,000 beaches located throughout the country, spread across more than 50,000km of coastline.
It’s time to start exploring!