Australia’s a really big place and unless you’ve got a year to spare, you’re unlikely to see all of it in one trip. Picking the best beaches isn’t that easy either, with over 22,000 miles of coastline not including the thousands of islands that surround this tropical giant. To make things a little more manageable, we’ve split them up among the most popular tourist destinations in the country, but can guarantee that wherever you lay your blanket, you’re in for a treat.
The Gold Coast
Queensland is a mecca for beach lovers. The Gold Coast stretches from the state capital of Brisbane down to the border with neighboring New South Wales. Its heart is Surfer’s Paradise, where you’ll find all those cute life guards and a bazillion theme parks, attractions and bars. Here are just some of area’s best beaches:
Burleigh Heads Beach: Located between Surfer’s Paradise and Coolangatta. Protected waters for great swimming, a magnet for surfers, and lovely walks in the adjacent National Park.
Currumbin Creek Beach: Where the river meets the sea at Currumbin. Dolphins, fishing, and a hard surf break that’s perfect for longboard riders.
Palm Beach: Voted the cleanest beach in Queensland, this one is often less crowded than the ones to the north that are closer to the action of Surfer’s.
The Sunshine Coast
Queensland’s “other” coast can be a little more laid-back and has some wonderful views of the hinterland and the state’s famed Glass House Mountains.
Peregian Beach: All the terrific sand, surf and swimming you’ll find at other beaches without the crowds. Walk for miles and give a passing nod to only a handful of fellow travelers.
Mooloolaba Beach: Popular with the locals for good reason. One of the safest beaches in the country and ringed with gourmet restaurants, boutique shopping and cozy cafes.
Golden Beach: Perfectly calm waters in the shelter of Bribie Island. Great place to try sea kayaking and lots of shade if you need to get out of the sun.
Roughly 100 beaches line the harbor and coast around Sydney, and just about all of them will provide you with that quintessential Aussie beach experience.
Manly Beach: Half-hour ferry ride from the center of Sydney but well worth the trip to see the surfers and beautiful people strut their stuff.
Bondi Beach: One of the most famous beaches in the world, it’s noisy, crowded and touristy. So, not the best beach but you haven’t really been to Sydney until you’ve dipped your toes in the ocean at Bondi.
Balmoral Beach: A little calmer than its more famous brethren, this beach has great views of the Sydney skyline and a serene vibe.
Melbourne has a ton of spectacular inner-city beaches and dozens more along the Mornington Peninsula. Most are patrolled and have neighboring parks, picnic and BBQ areas.
Half-Moon Bay: Calm and shallow waters, 40 minutes from the center of the city. Popular diving spot and plenty of boating options.
Mother’s Beach: Just one among the many Mornington gems, particularly attractive for families with small children, offering plenty of shade and safe swimming.
Brighton Beach: Almost 4 miles of white sand, close to the city with great views of the skyline. Lined with colorful historic bathing huts and an array of fine dining and shopping establishments.
Let’s be honest, the whole country seems to be one big beach. Adelaide’s got Moana Beach, Perth’s got Scarborough and Cottesloe, and everywhere in between seems to have its own lazy stretch of stunning sand and azure waters. If you’re looking for an unforgettable day at the beach, you’ve come to the right place – just about anywhere along Australia’s seemingly limitless coast.