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The 15 Best Beaches in Australia in 2023 [Detailed by State]

Amar Hussain's image
Amar Hussain
Amar Hussain's image

Amar Hussain

Senior Content Contributor

799 Published Articles

Countries Visited: 63U.S. States Visited: 9

Amar is an avid traveler and tester of products. He has spent the last 13 years traveling all 7 continents and has put the products to the test on each of them. He has contributed to publications incl...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Keri Stooksbury

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With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now editor-in-chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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Australia has some of the best beaches in the Southern Hemisphere and even the whole world. Planning a trip “down under” can be stressful, though, especially if you’ve never visited before. So, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the beach options the country has to offer. To help make the process a little easier, we’ve done the research for you.

No matter which of the nation’s states you visit, you’ll be able to find the right stretch of coastline to make your beach vacation dreams a reality.

Map of the 15 Best Beaches in Australia

The 3 Best Beaches in Western Australia

1. Cottesloe Beach

Cottesloe Beach
Image Credit: Nils Erik Mühlfried via Flickr (license)

Cottesloe Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Western Australia, and it’s not hard to see why. This beach is known as being the place where the country’s surf culture began.

The beach stretches over nearly a mile, so it provides plenty of room for visitors to spread out, even on busy days. Since this part of the coast is so beloved, it’s been kept in a virtually pristine state. In fact, to this day, it remains a great place to snorkel, dive, and swim.

If you stay near the shore, the current and waves are usually quite gentle, so even young swimmers can splash around without worries. However, you don’t have to venture out too far with your board to find steady and consistent surf.

Hot Tip:

This beach is also regularly manned by lifeguards, so it’s one of the safest in the country.

2. Turquoise Bay

Turquoise Bay
Image Credit: Tourism WA

If you’re looking for a coastal place where you can feel like you’ve stepped into a postcard, Turquoise Bay is the place for you. 

This white sand shore is a natural, tropical beach that offers one-of-a-kind opportunities to swim and dive. You don’t have to venture too far from dry land to get a look at the bright and lively underwater world that calls Australia’s waters home.

If you have any aspiring marine biologists in the family, they’ll love seeing all the fish swimming around the small coral reefs just off the coast. For that reason, Turquoise Bay is often cited as a family-friendly beach.

You don’t need to be worried about currents here, either. The water is gentle in this part of the country, especially near the sand, so your whole group can try snorkeling, even if you’re not avid divers.

3. Waterfall Beach

Waterfall Beach
Image Credit: Bron Anderson

Located in the William Bay National Park, Waterfall Beach is one of the most picturesque places in Western Australia. Set between the rocky bluffs and the sea, this beach is a secluded spot for nature lovers.

True to its name, the beach does have a waterfall that cascades directly onto the white sand where its pool meets the water. You do have to take on a little bit of a trek to get to this spot, though. The hike itself is relatively easy and just over 0.5 miles long, but visitors with mobility concerns may have some difficulty reaching it.

Once you arrive, feel free to go for a dip in the sea with the cascade as your backdrop. Just avoid going into the falls’ pool directly, as the pouring water and its subsequent rush to the coast can be stronger than anticipated.

The 2 Best Beaches in Northern Territory

1. Lameroo Beach

Lameroo Beach
Image Credit: factoids via Flickr (license)

Tucked away in Darwin, Lameroo Beach is a small and secluded beach just off the city’s main promenade. Known for its natural look, Lameroo has slowly gained popularity among locals who are looking for a place to relax and escape daily life for a little while.

Despite being so close to civilization, this stretch of the Northern Territory coast hasn’t seen much development. As such, it’s still a great place to see the critters that call Australia home. In particular, you’ll often see little crabs wander around near the water, and fish often come quite close to the shore.

However, this beach is a bit rocky and muddy, which can make laying out uncomfortable. As such, this tends to be more of an exploration area than a swimming space, which is perfect if you visit during Australia’s colder months (April to September).

2. Mindil Beach

Mindil Beach
Image Credit: Stephen Michael Barnett via Flickr (license)

Located in a suburban area, Mindil Beach is a favorite spot among local families. The beach is near both residential and business districts, so it’s not uncommon to see people come here to enjoy some time in the sun while on work breaks.

That means it’s an ideal place to go if you want a more authentic Australian experience while you’re visiting this part of the country. Since a lot of children frequent this beach, it’s lifeguard-manned as well. These trained men and women even go the extra mile to delineate safe swimming areas via red and yellow flags.

If you visit during the dry season, which runs from April to October, you’ll even be able to take part in the sunset markets, featuring food and crafts from local artisans, which are held on the beach multiple times a week.

The 2 Best Beaches in Queensland

1. Cape Hillsborough

Cape Hillsborough
Image Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

With a local population of just 44 people during the last census, Cape Hillsborough is one of Queensland’s best-kept secrets. This coastal paradise is known for its rugged scenery, like its dense forests, rocky cliff sides, and of course, its sandy beaches. Perhaps the most special things about this shore are its frequent visitors.

Every morning and just before sunset, kangaroos and wallabies can be found hopping along the shore in search of seeds and seaweed. If you’re lucky enough to catch a glimpse of these critters, feel free to take pictures, but make sure to give them space.

Don’t think the wildlife beachgoers are the only reason to come to this beach, though. It’s also a top snorkeling spot thanks to the gentle waters and relatively low tide that can be seen during the day. Even inexperienced swimmers can go for a carefree dip.

2. Mon Repos Beach

Mon Repos Beach
Image Credit: Petrina McDonald via Flickr (license)

Mon Repos Beach isn’t just a favorite among the local human population but among Queensland’s turtles as well. In fact, this shore sees the highest concentration of nesting turtles in the entire country.

Every year, turtles will create nests and lay their eggs on this 3.7-mile stretch of shoreline in the area’s coastal coves. For that reason, the beach is closed to the public between November and March to keep these babies safe.

However, during that time, visitors can still see these critters up close at one of the Turtle Encounters organized by the local authorities on Mondays. When the turtles have cleared out, you can spend your day doing a number of outdoor activities ranging from sailing to swimming.

Though keep in mind that Australia’s winter spans from June to August, so the water may be on the cooler side. 

The 2 Best Beaches in New South Wales

1. Bongil Beach

Bongil Beach
Image Credit: Barbara Webster via NSW Government

Bongil Beach is a tranquil coastal spot that’s slowly becoming known as an outdoor lovers’ paradise. With its large expanse of remote, open shoreline and its natural landscape that varies between flat plains and gently hilly dunes, Bongil Beach is an ideal spot to relax and unwind.

Since there isn’t much development near the sand, it’s still regularly frequented by local animal life. In fact, bird-watching is a favorite hobby among Bongil Beach regulars. You can also bring your tackle box and spend a quiet day fishing.

Keep in mind Bongil Beach isn’t considered a swimming beach. You can wade in the water, but delving deeper isn’t recommended. Luckily, you can still entertain yourself for hours by exploring the area’s nature or even just sitting on the sand.

You do have to walk to get to the beach, so it may not be the best for people with mobility concerns.

2. Tamarama Beach

Tamarama Beach
Image Credit: Destination NSW

Tamarama Beach is relatively small, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in ambiance. This beach has bright blue water and white foamy waves that often come to mind when one pictures a day spent at the coast.

However, that picturesque quality does mean you need to be extra cautious before you swim. While Tamarama is a favorite among surfers, it isn’t always the best for people who prefer to spend their day at the beach swimming.

The current can be unpredictable. Some days, the water is rather still and gentle, while others will have strong waves. Make sure to check the water conditions before you dive in. You can always enjoy the scenery with a picnic at the nearby park, and kids can run around on the playground.

The 2 Best Beaches in Victoria

1. Ninety Mile Beach

Ninety Mile Beach
Image Credit: Simon Chapman via Flickr (license)

Considered one of the most pristine coastal stretches in the entire world, Ninety Mile Beach is beloved by both locals and tourists.

Free of most city influences, this part of Victoria is one of the best places to go if you’re interested in Australia’s coastal wildlife. From the shore, you can see whales and dolphins breaching in the distance, particularly between June and July when many migrating species pass through the area.

These larger sea creatures tend to be more active around the morning and evening hours, but during the afternoon, you can go for a little swim and admire the fish that tend to call the beach’s waters home.

Near the shore, the current is gentle enough for even small children to splash around peacefully, and the water’s depths increase gradually. Even though this is a popular beach, it’s large enough to never feel crowded, either.

2. Point Roadknight

Point Roadknight
Image Credit: Sarah L. Donovan via Flickr (license)

Point Roadknight is a little off the beaten path, but that’s why it’s such a local favorite when it comes to coastal spots. This beach is considered protected, so it’s free of development which helps it maintain its secluded nature and pristine look.

Surrounded by unique rock formations, the scenery has a dramatic flare that lends itself well to one-of-a-kind vacation pictures to remember your trip by. These rocks also protect the beach from most harsh weather conditions, so the sea is generally calm enough for the entire family to go for a swim (though, it’s not great for surfing).

For an extra special beach trip, try to start your day early so you can see the sunrise. Alternatively, sunset also makes the water explode from its usual crystal blue to vibrant orange, red, and purple.

The 2 Best Beaches in Tasmania

1. Fortescue Bay

Fortescue Bay
Image Credit: Andrew Harvey via Flickr (license)

Also known by the name Baje Dolomien, this particular shore is part of the Tasman National Park. The entire bay can be subdivided into 2 smaller bays, Canoe and Bivouac, but they all form the same beach system.

With gentle waters and soft sand covering its shore, this beach gives visitors the ability to partake in a number of outdoor activities. The water is gentle enough for swimming, and though it has an average depth of 98 feet, the area near the shore is generally much shallower than that.

If you’d prefer to spend time on land, there are multiple hiking trails that take you around the bay as well. If you can’t decide what to do first, there are 2 on-site campgrounds that are open year-round with amenities such as showers and fire pits. You caneasily spend a weekend enjoying what Fortescue has to offer.

2. Trousers Point Beach

Trousers Point Beach
Image Credit: Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service

Trousers Point Beach is part of Tasmania’s Strzelecki National Park and is known for its rock formations.

While these rocks are interesting to look at, they also serve as protection from the state’s notorious “roaring 40s” subtropical ridge. In short, many parts of Tasmania suffer rapid temperature shifts and high winds, which can make the water unpredictable. Thanks to Trousers Point Beach’s landscape, this part of the coast is much more serene, leading to safe swimming and sailing conditions.

The beach is the most popular on Flinder Island, though, so be prepared to encounter locals and tourists, especially if you visit during Australia’s summer or on weekends. However, the shore is large enough that you shouldn’t have trouble finding a spot to lay out your towel.

Hot Tip:

The beach even has a 2.9-mile hiking path that takes you around the area’s dry land scenery.

The 2 Best Beaches in South Australia

1. Cactus Beach

Cactus Beach
Image Credit: Ian Cochrane via Flickr (license)

If you’re a surfer, you’ve probably heard of Cactus Beach. With 3 total breaks where you can catch waves, this part of South Australia has gained fame worldwide.

The water is wide and expansive, so there’s plenty of room for numerous people to be out on the water without getting in anyone’s way. While you’ll find people trying to surf all year, locals recommend heading out when there’s an east-northeast wind for the most favorable conditions.

Of course, you don’t have to be a surfer to enjoy Cactus Beach. Stick near the shore for some calm swimming in the coast’s more gentle currents or you can sit on the beach and relax. Cactus Beach has camping spots as well. So, if your ideal trip to the coast involves waking up to the sound of the tide, this place is perfect.

2. Glenelg Beach

Glenelg Beach
Image Credit: Mia Vo via Unsplash

Glenelg is perhaps Australia’s most family-friendly spot. This coastal town is full of restaurants, shops, and other activities for people of all ages to enjoy.

What really puts Glenelg on the map is its beach. At just under 1.25 miles in length, this sandy stretch offers plenty of space to run around. If you’re lucky, you might even see dolphins in the distance while you’re on the shore. The water here is shallow and gentle, making it a safe place for all kinds of swimmers.

You don’t have to worry about lugging around a large beach bag full of essentials, either. If you forget anything from a bottle of water to even your beach towel, you can pick up what you need at the seafront shops. There isn’t much natural shade on the sand, though, so make sure you apply sunscreen.

Final Thoughts

There are many reasons to visit Australia, but no trip “down under” would be complete without spending time on the country’s shores. No matter what sort of beach day you’re planning, this list has hopefully helped you narrow down your options so you can make the Australian trip of your dreams a reality.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Australia have nice beaches?

Australia has many nice beaches spread out around its coastlines. While some of these areas are more tourist-oriented, others are pristine and natural. Since Australia is such a large country, its beaches also vary from tropical in nature in the north to more Mediterranean.

Is it safe to swim in Australia’s ocean?

Many of Australia’s beaches are swimmable. However, make sure you ask locals before you go for a swim, as they’ll be able to give you details about currents, waves, or even the type of wildlife that could distract you while you’re in the water.

Why is Australian sand so fine?

Australia’s geology is the biggest contributing factor to its sand’s characteristics. Much of the sand on the country’s beaches are primarily quartz-based, which usually produces finer, softer grains. Erosion from wind and water also plays a role in determining sand size and coarseness.

Is the ocean water warm in Australia?

Australia’s coastal waters tend to be on the warmer side all year. However, that doesn’t mean swimming will always be comfortable. If you want to avoid needing a wetsuit, plan to go swimming between December and February, during the southern hemisphere’s summer season.

Amar Hussain's image

About Amar Hussain

Amar is an avid traveler and tester of products. He has spent the last 13 years traveling all 7 continents and has put the products to the test on each of them. He has contributed to publications including Forbes, the Huffington Post, and more.

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