The best beaches in Australia

Noosa Beach

Zoe Macfarlane

Posted January 10, 2024

From famed beaches like Bondi and Noosa to little-known gems like Dicky and Tennyson, here are the best beaches in Australia to meet your holiday goals.

With a coastline almost 30,000km long, broad white-sand beaches, and crystal-clear waters filled with marine wonders, Australia has some of the best beaches in the world.

No matter which state or territory you’re in, there’s a body of water to swim, surf, and marvel at, with famed beaches running from Sorrento to Surfers Paradise.  

Whether you’re seeking a flop-and-drop break, a family getaway, or water sports adventure, discover Australia’s best beaches around the capital cities and holiday destinations. 

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Australia's best beaches to visit

The best beaches in Sydney and surrounds

Bondi Beach may be one of Australia’s most famous natural landmarks worldwide, but there are over 100 beaches to explore around the Sydney region, with the coastline stretching from Palm Beach in the north to Cronulla in the south. 

Bondi Beach attracts with its lively atmosphere, enticing eateries, and gorgeous crescent-shaped stretch of white sand. That you can also swim in the iconic Bondi Iceberg pool only adds to the appeal. 

Nearby, Brontë Beach offers a more mellow atmosphere. Walk the 4km Bondi to Brontë Coastal Walk to experience the contrast. 

For the keen and able, continue to Coogee Beach for another 3.5km. Coogee is great for families, thanks to its sheltered bay, barbeque facilities, and fun playground. 

On Sydney’s North Shore, Manly is a popular spot due to its gentle waves and nearby amenities. Catching a ferry from Circular Quay to Manly is a travel rite of passage, thanks to the iconic landmarks you pass as you leave Sydney Harbour. Close to Manly, Shelley and Freshwater Beaches suit holidaymakers looking for a quieter spot to sunbathe or picnic.

Palm Beach at the northern end of Sydney has a claim to fame as the set of Australia’s long-standing soap opera, Home and Away. The spacious golden sands, protected Palm Beach Rock Pool, and a chance to ogle the luxury cliffside homes make for a fabulous day out. 

While outside of Sydney, if you've got a car, take a day trip to some of the most beautiful beaches on the famed east coast drive such as Jervis Bay's brilliant white sand three hours south of Sydney, the relaxed vibes of Main Beach in Byron Bay, or the 9km of uninterrupted coastline three hours' drive north in Port Stephens.


Bondi Beach is Sydney's most well-known beach. Image: Getty
Bronte Beach offers a calmer vista than Bondi. Image: Getty
Jervis Bay is worth the drive if you have a car. Image: Getty

The best Gold Coast beaches

The Gold Coast’s best beaches have vast, golden stretches of sand offering ample space, even in the height of summer. Many of the best beaches on the Gold Coast have unique neighbourhoods and great accommodation

Surfers Paradise is the Gold Coast’s most well-known beach, enticing visitors with its surf, and sand, as well as being the epicentre of the Gold Coast’s ample entertainment, dining, and accommodation scene. That the Gold Coast’s five theme parks, including Dreamworld and Movieworld, are just a short drive or bus trip away adds to the appeal as a premier family beach vacation destination.

Close by, Burleigh Heads provides a village-like atmosphere, with great surf, expansive beaches, and the forest canopy of Burleigh Heads National Park. Walk the 45-minute Burleigh Heads path to the still waters of Tallebudgera Creek for a swim or paddleboard, before boutique shopping and meal on Burleigh’s famed James Street. Or do as the locals do, and enjoy a picnic on Burleigh Hill with expansive views across the Gold Coast.

Currumbin Beach holds appeal for its clear water, landmark Elephant Rock, legendary surf, and the calm waters of nearby Currumbin Creek. It’s only a few paces from the beach to the awe-inspiring Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. Meet the koalas, kangaroos, and other Australian critters at this award-winning sanctuary.

At the southern end of the Gold Coast, Coolangatta Beach is a lively spot and popular with families. With the airport only 2km away, staying in Coolangatta gets you fast access to turquoise waters and white-sand beaches, plus excellent cafés, restaurants, and shops only minutes from the sand.

The best Far North Queensland beaches

As a top tourist destination with over 300 days of sunshine per year, the stunning beaches of Far North Queensland stretch from the stunning island waters of the magical Whitsundays to snorkelling on the UNESCO-heritage listed Great Barrier Reef. 

Around Port Douglas and Cairns, the most famed beach is on the white sands of Four Mile Beach, while tours can be taken to the stunning waters of destinations like Green Island, Cape Tribulation, Fitzroy Island and of course, reef snorkel and scuba tours.

Other popular hotspots include Palm Cove, Clifton Beach and Trinity Beach. 


Burleigh Heads makes for a popular spot on the Gold Coast. Image: Supplied
Stop in for a surf at Coolangatta Beach in Queensland. Image: Supplied
Little Salmon Bay. Image: Tourism Western Australia

The Sunshine Coast’s best beaches

For one of Queensland’s best beach holidays, head to the Sunshine Coast. It’s an alluring year-round region thanks to its gorgeous beaches, fun-filled water activities, and charming towns. From July to October, you can even swim with whales!

Noosa is home to the Sunshine Coast’s most renowned beach, thanks not only to its glistening waters, but its proximity to the sophisticated Hastings Street restaurants, stylish boutiques, resort accommodation, and gorgeous hinterland-framed beach. The pristine wilderness of the Noosa Everglades is worth adding to your itinerary.

Kings Beach in Caloundra and Mooloolaba make awesome bases for families travelling to the Sunshine Coast. The tidal pool and playground at Kings Beach keep little ones entertained, while big kids (and adults) can enjoy an exhilarating jet ski tour

The Sunshine Coast has a ton of hidden gems, too. Peregian Beach impresses with its natural beauty and quiet beachgoers, as does Dicky Beach, named after the S.S. Dicky shipwreck. 

Mooloolaba’s safe beaches, child-friendly cafés, and Sea Life aquarium make holiday life easy for parents. 

The stunning coastal views at Moffat Beach, alongside its relaxed atmosphere, also entice.

For surfers, Alexandra Headland and Coolum Beach offer consistent breaks and a welcoming surf culture. For beginners, take a surf lesson on Noosa Beach first.


Noosa Beach Cove on the Sunshine Coast. Image: Supplied
Glenelg Beach is a popular spot for families. Image: South-Australian Tourism Commission

The best beaches in Adelaide and surrounds

While you may be visiting Adelaide for its foodie culture, award-winning wineries, and vibrant arts scene, it’s also worth factoring in some beach time, especially in summer when inland temperatures can soar. 

Glenelg is a popular beach destination with a long sandy shoreline, vibrant esplanade, and famous jetty. Easily accessed from the city centre, Glenelg has ample dining, shopping, and entertainment options for a fun day out. You can even join a wild dolphin safari.

The up-and-coming Henley and Semaphore Beaches offer relaxed atmospheres and wide beaches that rarely feel crowded. No one goes hungry here, thanks to the trendy cafés, restaurants, and barbeque facilities. Nearby Tennyson Beach is almost always empty, therefore ideal for those looking for a spot of serenity with their sand and sea. 

To snorkel or scuba dive, visit the Aldina Beach Conservation Park and Aldinga Reef Aquatic Reserve. It’s an hour south of Adelaide. Nearby, Port Noarlunga Beach is beloved for its consistent waves and ideal surf conditions.

Outside of Adelaide, an hour from Port Lincoln you find Memory Cove, the sparkling jewel waters on the Eyre Peninsula. If time allows, a road trip along South Australia's coast deserves a visit to the beautiful beaches of the York Peninsula, where Dolphin Bay may even allow for spotting of these playful marine animals.

Adelaide is also the jumping-off point to head to the wild beaches of Kangaroo Island.

The best beaches in Perth and surrounds

While Perth may be the most remote capital city on Earth, this makes for surrounds of crashing waves, turquoise waters and snorkelling aplenty. 

In Western Australia's capital, popular beaches include Scarborough, Cottesloe and City Beach; where you'll find locals and tourists alike enjoying the white sandy shores and nearby cafes, shops and entertainment.

Venturing a bit further, Coogee Beach stretches almost 4km of uninterrupted coastline, while the northern beaches like Mettams Pool and the surf at Triggs Beach are well worth a visit. 

If you have time to explore, the hardest part about a day trip to Rottnest Island will be choosing which of the 63 beaches to lay your towel on. Margaret River, approximately three hours' drive south, is known for its expansive list of wineries and beaches like Shelley Cove and Yallingup Beach. 

Find out more about the best beaches and places to visit around Broome and the Kimberley in Australia's Far North West here.


Trigg Beach is a favourite with surfers. Image: Tourism Western Australia
Fishing Boat Harbour is a marina in Fremantle. Image: Tourism Western Australia
Bathers Beach in Fremantle is another great option. Image: Tourism Western Australia

The best beaches around Tasmania

While the Apple Isle may not be famed for its swimming or snorkelling, there are plenty of coastal hotspots across Tasmania that make for breathtaking views, whether that's from a boat, the shoreline, or in the cool blue waters looking out at the horizon. 

A relaxing glide along Wineglass Bay is one of many sights to take in on a cruise from Launceston, while a day trip on a wilderness cruise to Bruny Island allows you to marvel at the range of sealife, wildlife, rocky cliffs and waves that race into shore before you make a stay of it on your trip to Hobart,

The best beaches in Melbourne and beyond

Th beaches along Melbourne’s coastline are full of character and charm. Whether it’s St Kilda’s bustling eateries and iconic Luna Park, the brightly painted bathing shacks on Brighton Beach, or mellow Williamstown Beach with Port Phillip Bay views, these iconic beachside locations all have their own famed features to offer. Here are some of the best beaches in Melbourne. 

Beyond Melbourne, many of Victoria’s best beaches are accessible from the city in under two hours.


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