Top 10 Australian beaches
As the world’s largest island with 35,876 km of coastline, you would expect Australia to have more than its share of beautiful beaches. Mother Nature has not disappointed us on that score. From the tropical north to the pristine wilderness of Tasmania, we have some awe inspiring combinations of sun, sand and surf.
With such a vast and varied coastal landscape, there may well be many remote beach jewels that remain uninhabited and undiscovered, but here is our list of the top ten that you simply must visit.
Whitehaven Beach, Queensland
If you have ever seen a travel brochure for the Whitsundays, then you would no doubt have seen this jewel in Queensland’s tropical crown. It is stunningly beautiful, primarily due to it piercingly white sand contrasted with the deep azure waters that lap its shores.
The limited access and 7km length means that the crowds are never an issue. The powdery, fine grained sand makes it both velvety to touch and surprisingly cool and far from being a single monotonous stretch, the beach meanders through lagoons, coves and inlets, making it a joy to explore.
Cable Beach, Western Australia
For a beach that is rapidly gaining international notoriety, Cable Beach near Broome is still has a remarkably untouched feeling to it. It is within walking distance of Broome, so accommodation options are plentiful, but it retains the mystical charm that pervades the vast north west region of Western Australia.
The highlight of any visit to Cable is, of course, the stunning Indian Ocean sunsets. The glowing orange-red disk, descending to the blue horizon can be best appreciated from the aptly named Sunset bar or from the back of a camel on an idyllic sunset camel ride.
Wineglass Bay, Tasmania
Another beach that benefits from its relative isolation, Wineglass Bay nestles in the glorious Freycinet National Park on Tassie’s east coast. The two hour drive from Launceston or three hours from Hobart are richly rewarded with one of nature’s most breathtaking spectacles. From a narrow mouth the bay opens out to a distinctive wineglass shape that gives the location such a unique character.
Bring your walking shoes for a brisk 20 minute hike to the lookout that gives the best view of the elegant arc. A snorkel or kayak is also highly recommended as ways of exploring this masterpiece.
The crystal clear water of the quiet, peaceful Wineglass Bay is certainly something to behold
Byron Bay Beach, New South Wales
It’s perhaps better known for its hippy history, world class Bluesfest or burgeoning café culture, but Byron’s sprawling beach is the real hero of this town. Located at the easternmost point of mainland Australia, Byron is a surfer’s mecca with a break that attracts worldwide attention from surfing devotees. The iconic lighthouse adds another quaint dimension to the experience.
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Bells Beach, Victoria
Made famous by its pre-eminent place on the pro surfing circuit, Bells Beach is near Torquay on Victoria’s spectacular Great Ocean Road. The beach carves its way dramatically into the surrounding red rock cliffs, which provides a gorgeous backdrop to the perfection of its powerfully arced surf breaks.
It’s a great spot for those keen on bushwalks, with excellent trails that offer dramatic coastal views. The striking turquoise sea is another standout feature that will live long in the memory.
Bondi Beach, New South Wales
Ok, it’s mid-city location might not make it the most naturally picturesque beach, but Bondi makes the top 10 for very different reasons. It is iconic in the consciousness of tourists worldwide because of the historical and cultural essence that it captures. It’s the home of the country’s first Surf Life Saving Club and a focal point for the bikini revolution of the early 20th century.
Chic cafes, restaurants and the broad beachside promenade give it an eclectic, cosmopolitan mystique that makes it a fascinating place just to sit and watch the world go by . . . as much of an attraction as the beach itself!
Hyams Beach, New South Wales
Located in Jervis Bay, just 2.5 hours’ drive south of Sydney, Hyams has made it to the Guinness Book of World Records for having the ‘whitest sand in the world’. Surrounded by national park, the beach cuts an immaculate white arc that simply begs to be strolled along. The water laps lazily in this well protected setting and the effect of the white sand gently sloping into the crystal blue-green waters is mesmerizingly beautiful.
Self-contained cabins, cottages and houses make this a comfortable holiday spot and the well-developed walking and cycleways give the visitor plenty of active options to explore.
You will be amazed at just how friendly the dolphins at Monkey Mia beach are!
Monkey Mia, Western Australia
For the fauna lovers out there, nothing goes past Monkey Mia, 30 minutes’ drive northeast of Denham in the middle of Western Australia’s coastline. This is World Heritage countryside and is a magnet for nature-loving tourists who want to experience the daily phenomenon of wild dolphins coming into the shallows to interact with humans.
A wealth of other animal and birdlife adds to the experience and for those who prefer more animated activity, the protected calm waters offer an ideal playground for boating, skiing, swimming and languid beach strolls.
Surfers Point, Western Australia
Three and a half hours drive south of Perth is the Margaret River region, which is home to Surfers Point. As the name suggests, it is a favourite among serious surfers, thanks to its renowned powerful break that can sometimes carry for up to 500 metres.
The clean and clear waters of the Indian Ocean add to the spectacle and proximity to the gourmet region nearby is a perfect complement for the visitor who wants variety. With 60 or so wineries, world class cheeses, chocolates, seafood and produce, there is plenty to tempt the tourist and no shortage of accommodation options to collapse into at the end of the day.
Carrickalinga Beach, SA
Just 50kms or so south of Adelaide, on the western shore of the Fleurieu Peninsula, Carrickalinga Beach cuts a broad sandy swathe into the gently rolling hills that surround it. Its location keeps it fairly quiet, but those who have discovered its gentle waters, reef snorkelling and fishing know what a hidden treasure it is.
The nearby McLaren Vale wine region is an added bonus to round off a tour of the area and the drive south from there to Carrickalinga offers spectacular coastal views.
Where's your favourite beach? Tell us in the comments below.