The best beaches in Australia are world-famous for their sugar-fine sand and sparkling azure water. The similarities stop there — each of Australia's 10,500 beaches has its own unique character.
Here, you can seek out secret lagoons, hang ten with Aussie surfers, or snorkel from the shore of an island paradise. From the wild and windswept Shipwreck Coast to the lively, urban beaches of New South Wales, Australia has something for every type of sun-seeker.
Whitehaven Beach isn't just one of the top beaches in Australia — it's among the best in the world. Swirls of breathtakingly white sand stretch for miles along the coast of Whitsunday Island, a stone's throw from the Great Barrier Reef. Swim or snorkel in the crystal-clear Coral Sea, or spend the day paddleboarding through hidden coves. On land, you can hike through the hoop pines and spot goannas in their natural habitat. The island itself is uninhabited, so getting there is an adventure in itself; hitch a ride on a catamaran from Hamilton Island, and you'll be relaxing on the sand in 30 minutes.
Only the most adventurous beachgoers make it to Wineglass Bay. Getting there requires a one-mile hike through the pink granite peaks of Tasmania's Freycinet National Park. It's well worth the walk — the magic sets in the moment you catch sight of the impossibly blue water and the distinctive curving beach. Plus, since the challenging trail keeps the crowds at bay, you can swim in solitude.
If you like a side of scenery with your swim, it's hard to beat the awe-inspiring Lagoon Beach on Lord Howe Island. The rugged Mount Lidgbird and Mount Gower rise out of the sea to the south, creating a postcard-perfect view. Before you step into the clear, calm water, take a moment to strap on your snorkel mask; under the surface, the reef is overflowing with colorful creatures. Since the island limits the number of visitors per day, the beach is almost always quiet and relaxed.
Home to one of the most consistent surf breaks near Perth, Trigg Beach is always buzzing with activity. Take a surf lesson, try a boogie board, or watch local daredevils ride the waves. The soft sand is perfect for sunbathing; if you're in the mood for swimming and snorkeling, check out the calm water at Mettam's Pool. Cafes, showers, and changing rooms all lie within a short walk.
It's always a good time to visit Cable Beach. Located near Broome on Australia's north coast, this pristine spot boasts warm weather every month of the year. During the dry season from May to October, the beach comes to life with camel rides, concerts, and spectacular sunsets. Rent an umbrella and relax on the sand, or get active with a paddleboarding trip or a hike along the coastal trails. With more than 13 miles to explore, it's a breeze to find your own piece of paradise.
Of all the beaches in Australia, Bondi Beach is the most famous. This lively spot is all about the vibe; join throngs of friendly locals for a day of sunbathing, surfing, and swimming. At the southern end of the beach, marvel at the skilled surfers and scope out the iconic Icebergs pool. Fill up on fish and chips at one of the restaurants on Campbell Parade, and work it off with a whale-watching walk on the Bondi to Coogee coastal path. The Bondi Pavilion offers changing rooms and showers, so it's easy to clean up before getting the train back to Sydney.
True to its name, this wild and rugged beach runs for 75 miles along the coast of Fraser Island north of Brisbane. The surf is too rough for swimming, but you won't even notice — you'll be too busy trying the legendary surf fishing and driving down the beach to the Maheno shipwreck. If you're lucky, you'll spot one of the small planes that use the sand as a landing strip. On hot days, head north to the Instagram-worthy Champagne Pools, a series of natural swimming holes in the volcanic rock.
Tucked away on the southern shore of Cape Le Grand National Park, Lucky Bay lays claim to the whitest sand in Australia. From the ultra-clean shore to the dazzling blue-green water, everything about this spot is pristine. Find a private patch of sand on the three-mile beach, and enjoy endless hours of swimming and shore fishing. The Le Grand Coastal Trail sits nearby if you have the urge to stretch your legs. From July to October, bring binoculars to watch whales leaping offshore. Don't be surprised if you see kangaroos chilling on the sand — at dusk and dawn, these cute little critters come down for a snack by the sea.
After contending with the crowds on the Great Ocean Road, soothe your soul with a detour to the remote Childers Cove. There isn't a tour bus in sight at this stunning, secluded beach. Hike down the dunes to the pretty half-moon of sand, and spend the day splashing in the shadow of the sea stacks. Guarded by limestone cliffs, this protected cove is one of the few safe swimming spots on the Shipwreck Coast.
Turquoise Bay is one of the best spots in Western Australia for drift snorkeling. As you float above the coral gardens of the Ningaloo Reef, a gentle current carries you safely across the bay. Back on the white-sand beach, you can swim with sea turtles and watch for majestic whale sharks that swim offshore. If you can pull yourself away from the sun and sea, the stunning canyons of Cape Range National Park sit just to the east.