Travel Itineraries

Australia's top 10 beaches

It is no secret that Australia has some of the best beaches in the world given that Australia is essentially one gobsmacking, beautiful coastline.
We recently surveyed over 10,000 Aussies to establish once and for all what are the country's best beaches. Here are the top 10 beaches in Australia as voted by you.

10. Bondi Beach, NSW

Location: Campbell Parade, Sydney, NSW

Australia's beach culture begins at Bondi Beach so it makes sense to start the list here. Sydney's famous stretch of sand has a fascinating history as the location of the world's first Surf Life Saving Club and subsequent bathing suit protests in the 1900's paved the way for the bikini to be embraced by popular culture.

These days, Bondi welcomes locals and tourists to its shores all year round. The beach's popularity is owed to the fact it is easily accessible from the city, surrounded by a trendy café precinct and it is just so damn gorgeous. It's not hard to imagine spending a whole day here frolicking in the turquoise waters and basking in the sunshine. The atmosphere is electric with people from all walks of life mingling together and the people watching is almost as good as a swim or surf in the cool waters. While you are here, learn to surf the famous Bondi waves during a 2 hour surfing lesson or continue your tour of the city on a hop on hop off bus tour.

You've haven't truly experienced Sydney until you have paid a visit to Bondi Beach.

9. Fitzroy Island, QLD

Location: Near Cairns, North QLD

Situated in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, escape to Fitzroy Island on a day trip from Cairns or private boat and anchor up at this idyllic tropical island resort. Fitzroy Island has been a well kept secret among the locals in Cairns, however, its popularity has exploded in recent years due to the rise of social media platforms showcasing this stunning destination online to a global audience.

Access to Fitzroy Island is easy thanks to a regular ferry transfer service from Cairns and the journey takes approximately 45 minutes. Fitzroy Island is a picture perfect example of a breathtaking tropical island comprised of both rainforest walking trails and coral beaches with fringing coral reefs. Grab a snorkel and discover a diverse array of tropical fish and coral, lace up the hiking boots and take on the five national park walks across the island or take in a marine life talk at the Turtle Rehabilitation Centre.

8. Byron Bay, NSW

Location: Lawson St, Byron Bay, NSW

Byron Bay has come a long way from its days as a small hippy town with modern resorts, cafes and boutiques popping up in the last 20 years. However, one thing remains the same and that is the quality and quantity of beaches that are adored by all those who visit.

Byron Bay sits on the most easterly point of mainland Australia in Northern New South Wales with an iconic lighthouse situated at Cape Byron. The location of the town and its beaches are conducive to some pumping ocean breaks drawing surfers from all over the globe. The lovely, long stretch of coastline is a short trip from the Gold Coast and the powder-like sand beaches are a treat for those looking for a less crowded alternative over the border. The region is also surrounded by the Cape Byron Marine Park which visitors can explore on a guided dolphin kayaking tour or take it easy onshore and lap up the sunshine. The best thing about Byron Bay is that you can ‘flop and drop’ or get amongst the action with a variety of activities on offer.

7. Rottnest Island, WA

Location: Near Perth, WA

Travellers often overlook Western Australia in favour of the East Coast but if you make the hike then you will be rewarded with spectacular beaches, particularly on nearby Rottnest Island. Just a short hop on a scenic ferry, and guests can be lounging around in the sun, snorkelling the coral reefs or taking an obligatory selfie with a Quokka, arguably Australia’s most photogenic animal.

The isolated location of the island only adds to its untouched beauty with rocky headlands and untamed wilderness making Rottnest Island an impressive destination. And, with over 63 secluded beaches and 20 bays, visitors are spoilt for choice. The main mode of transport on the island is bicycle, however, you can also join the guided bus tour and throw down a towel at any one of these amazing spots with safe swimming areas roped off at many of the beaches, perfect for families.

6. Wineglass Bay, TAS

Location: Freycinet National Park, TAS

One of the most impressive Tasmanian beaches is Wineglass Bay in the Freycinet National Park approximately 2 hours drive from Launceston and 3 hours from Hobart. If you've ever come across promotional material on Tasmania then you doubt would have seen Wineglass Bay be featured. Pink granite peaks and lapping turquoise waters surround the clam shaped shoreline on Tasmania's east coast.

The range of activities including snorkelling, kayaking, wildlife spotting and hiking make it a well rounded beach appealing to a variety of people. Wineglass Bay can best be viewed from a dedicated lookout after a 1 hour hike along a well maintained path while the beach can be accessed by a downhill portion of track. A walk or swim along the shores of Wineglass Bay is one of the must do nature based experiences in Tasmania.

5. Kangaroo Island, SA

Location: Penneshaw, SA

Kangaroo Island is one of Australia’s greatest nature based eco destinations with native bushland, an abundance of wildlife, rugged coastlines and pristine beaches wherever you go. While South Australia is better known as Australia’s wine country and a cultural hotspot, the state has so many natural landscapes to offer the intrepid traveller.

Located approximately three hours drive from Adelaide, Kangaroo Island offers a true respite off the grid with luxury beachfront abodes and rustic cabins on the footsteps of nature’s playground. Those seeking solitude and tranquility will find peace on Kangaroo Island’s beaches. Don’t be surprised if you are the only one there at times. Sink your toes into the sand at Emu Bay (pictured above), Vivonne Bay, Stokes Bay, Penington Bay, Hanson Bay and Penneshaw Beach.

4. Noosa Main Beach, QLD

Location: Noosa, Sunshine Coast, QLD

Noosa Main Beach is the standout among the many breathtaking beaches on the Sunshine Coast. The golden sands, pristine waters and patrolled beach make it an ideal swimming spot for the whole family. Pods of dolphins may even join you in the waters and humpback whales can be spotted into the distance during their annual migration. Noosa's north-facing direction means that conditions are far more sheltered than other beaches and the warm climate makes it a lively hub that can be enjoyed year round.

Noosa Beach is also surrounded by the famous Hastings St featuring world class restaurants and boutiques. The strip is the place to see and be seen on the Sunshine Coast. Once you have had a refreshing swim or surf lesson with the pro's you can effortlessly move to one of the eateries for a delicious meal. During the winter months, whale watching tours are available for a close and personal encounter with Humpback Whales during their annual migration past Noosa or drop into Australia Zoo to make some furry new friends and maybe see the Irwin family in show.

3. Burleigh Heads, QLD

Location: Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast, QLD

The Gold Coast has a huge range of contenders in the best beach category but the fan favourite is Burleigh Heads with outstanding surf conditions, picturesque walking tracks and a stunning outlook at the headland. Burleigh Beach gives off a tropical vibe that is warmly embraced by the locals. On any given day of the year, the heavily patrolled beach and parklands are busy with families and swimmers enjoying the simple pleasures of a day at the beach.

There are plenty of trendy new dining options nearby and walkers taking a stroll along the four kilometre stretch will also get the chance to catch a glimpse of the local wildlife on land and in the sea. From seabirds to pods of dolphins and humpback whales, the Burleigh Heads Lookout is beautiful from every angle. The pictures simply speak for themselves. With world-class attractions such as the Gold Coast <a href=”/en/gold-coast/theme-parks”>theme parks and <a href=””>Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary nearby, it’s no wonder the Gold Coast is a popular family holiday destination.

2. Cable Beach, WA

Location: Broome, WA

In second place sits Broome's Cable Beach in Western Australia. First time visitors are regularly speechless when they try to describe its beauty and it's not hard to see why. Although slowly gaining in commercialism due to rave reviews and Instagram, Cable Beach is famous for its untouched stretch of shoreline and its inspiring sunsets. Unlike other beaches on this list, Cable Beach sits on the Indian Ocean rather than the Pacific and orange hued sunsets are the subject of many photographers' works.

You can take advantage of the dreamy sunsets at the Sunset Bar or sitting atop a camel on crowd-pleasing beach rides. It's hard to blame them, however, as it's a wonderful spectacle especially if you happen to be there between March and October when the Staircase to the Moon natural phenomena is at its best. Despite its distance from most of the cities on the East Coast, many Australians will agree with you that this is one coastal hotspot that you shouldn't miss out on visiting at least once in your lifetime.

1. Whitehaven Beach, QLD

Location: Whitsunday Island, QLD

The most beautiful beach in Australia as voted by Australians is Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsundays. Iconic images of white sands and crystal clear waters are what immediately comes to mind when visitors think about the Whitsundays and although it seems to good to be true, it really does look that spectacular in person. The sand is silica, an extremely high purity form of sand with fine grains that make it very soft to touch and the vivid blue waters make it a magical experience.

Whitehaven Beach stretches over 7km along the coast and even in peak seasons will rarely be crowded enough to ruin the tranquil atmosphere of this natural wonder. The myriad of coves, lagoons and inlets with scenic lookouts dot its surrounds and add to the mystique of the island. Come along for a visit and find out for yourself why this is the Australia's most photographed and adored beach on a thrilling ocean rafting tour or fly above on a magical seaplane or helicopter flight.

In addition, if you're looking for more things to do in the Whitsundays and surrounds, including some of the best tours, attractions and activities, be sure to check out our main region section to browse for more information online. So, there you have it. Australia's best beaches as voted by you. Pack the bags and get exploring these coastal hotspots for yourself.

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We acknowledge and pay respect to the Traditional Custodians of Country and their connections and continuous care for the skies, lands and waterways throughout Australia.