Seven Best Beaches in Australia

Seven Best Beaches in Australia

Choosing the best beaches in Australia is a little like picking your favourite pasta dish in Italy. Almost impossible. Urban or wild, family-friendly or far-flung, Australia has world-beating beaches for every type of traveller. So, whether you want to learn to surf, escape the crowds or tick the best beach in the world off your bucket list, we can help you find the bit of Aussie coast you’ll love the most.


  1. Noosa Main Beach, Sunshine Coast
  2. Store Beach, Manly
  3. Lucky Bay, Esperance
  4. Bells Beach, Great Ocean Road
  5. Cobourg Peninsula Beaches, Cobourg
  6. Bondi, Sydney
  7. Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Island


Best for Families: Noosa Main Beach

Sunshine Coast, Queensland

Our first pick is found on Queensland’s stunning Sunshine Coast; a stretch of coastline bejewelled with beaches and blessed with weather as sunny as its name. As one of the few north-facing beaches in Australia, Noosa Main Beach has safe, sheltered waters that are perfect for young swimmers. Lifeguards patrol the golden sand all year round and there are ample facilities to make your day out more comfortable, including showers for a post-swim rinse. Behind the swaying palms, the beach is bordered by Hastings Street, a bustling strip of coffee joints, cafes, gift shops and galleries. Swing by for a bite to eat after a busy morning on the sand and get planning the afternoon’s activities. From stand up paddleboarding to surfing lessons (plus beach yoga for the grown-ups), this is one of the best beaches in Australia for family fun in the sun.


Best Hidden Gem: Store Beach

Manly, New South Wales

Catching the ferry to Manly is a must during a trip to Sydney; cruising across the iconic harbour to a seaside suburb beloved by beachgoers and city escapees. Manly Beach is the main draw, with its spectacular surfing and tree-lined promenade. But for a little slice of serenity, hire a kayak at Manly Wharf and paddle 20 minutes to Store Beach, which can only be reached by water. It’s hard to believe this little piece of paradise is so close to the comings and goings of Sydney Harbour. Pack a picnic, sunscreen and your swimming gear for a lazy afternoon away from the crowds.

Store Beach

Image by Lucy Laucht


Best in the World? Lucky Bay

Esperance, Western Australia

Best beaches in Australia? How about the best beach on the planet? More than 1,200 travel experts cast their votes for The World’s 50 Best Beaches – and Lucky Bay in Western Australia took the top spot for 2023. So, does it deserve its crown? Absolutely. The snowy sand is some of the whitest in Australia. The sheltered turquoise waters seduce swimmers and snorkellers alike. And you might even encounter kangaroos sunbathing along the three-mile shore. A coastal walking trail links Lucky with the other beautiful bays of Cape Le Grand National Park. Each one might make you feel incredibly jealous of the resident roos.


Best for Surfing: Bells Beach

Great Ocean Road, Victoria

Bells Beach bursts into life over the Easter weekend, when the very best surfers hit the beach for the Rip Curl Pro Surfing Competition. Large swells from the Southern Ocean create the winning waves, while the surrounding cliffs provide a dramatic backdrop (and an epic vantage point for spectators). This is a spot for experienced surfers only – but you don’t need a board to enjoy the beach. Bells is located on the Great Ocean Road, scene of Australia’s most famous road trip, so it’s a popular spot for sightseers too. Plan a pitstop here to see the awe-inspiring surf for yourself.


Best Off the Beaten Path: Cobourg Peninsula Beaches

Cobourg, Northern Territory

The Northern Territory might not be known for its beaches. But for the intrepid traveller seeking something wild and untamed, it can’t be beaten. The Cobourg Peninsula in Garig Gunak Barlu National Park is around 350 miles north-east of Darwin (a two or three-day drive). It’s only accessible by 4x4, impassable during the wet season and you need a permit to enter the park. But if that does nothing to dampen your adventurous spirit, then the Cobourg Peninsula is probably calling your name. The landscape here is uninhabited and untamed, one of the best landscapes of Australia, think seashell-carpeted beaches where turtles lay their eggs, monsoon forests roamed by wild cattle and some of the wildest fishing and camping in the country. And don’t worry about packing your swimwear, as this is the domain of saltwater crocodiles. The best bit? A maximum of 20 park entrance permits are issued at a time, meaning you can explore the wilderness in blissful solitude.

Cobourg Peninsula Beaches6

Best Bucket List Beach: Bondi & Beyond

Sydney, New South Wales

Next on our list of best beaches in Australia couldn’t be more different. The only wild thing about Bondi is the weekend crowds – it’s no spot for seclusion-seekers. But Australia’s iconic stretch of shoreline is still a must-see while you’re Down Under. Visiting mid-week is the wisest option, when the silky sand and sublime waves aren’t lost beneath a blanket of beach towels and tourists. But our tip is to leave Bondi behind and explore more of the impressive coastline. The world-famous beach is the start point of the Bondi to Coogee walk; a three-mile clifftop coastal path through Sydney’s eastern suburbs. Along the way, there are four more beaches to discover, plus pools that are perfect for a refreshing dip after walking up a sweat. When you reach Coogee, simply catch the bus back to the centre of Sydney; salty, sun-kissed and satisfyingly tired after a day by the sea.


Best Piece of Paradise: Whitehaven Beach

Whitsunday Island, Queensland

It wouldn’t be a round-up of the best beaches in Australia without an entry from the Whitsundays. This smattering of islands off the Queensland coast is a true tropical paradise; spotless white sand, transparent turquoise water, you get the picture. Whitsunday Island is the largest of the chain and home to Whitehaven Beach, which is regularly hailed as one of the most beautiful in the world. To see it in style, join a luxury yacht cruise that drops anchor just offshore. Sink your feet into the unblemished sand and you’ll soon understand why this beach tempts travellers from far and wide.

Image by © Lucy Laucht