The best beaches in each state in Australia
Dec 16, 2021
Australia has a long list of beautiful beaches that would all be great to visit during your summer holiday. Here are our favourite beaches in every state to help you decide on the best beach nearest to you.
We have put together the ultimate list of each Australian state’s best beaches as it’s the end of the year, school’s out for the summer, and the weather is beautiful. It’s time to head to the beach. If you are still a new to Australia or you’re unfamiliar with which beaches you should go to - don't worry. We’re giving you some of the best beaches in the state closest to you and some fun things to do while you’re there. Pack a cooler box, sunscreen, your favourite swimsuit and enjoy.
Skip to the Australian state you are looking for:
- Best beaches in Victoria
- Best beaches in New South Wales
- Best beaches in South Australia
- Best beaches in the Northern Territory
- Best beaches in Western Australia
- Best beaches in Queensland
- Best beaches in Tasmania
Best beaches in Victoria
Brighton Beach (Melbourne)
Brighton Beach is known as one of the best beaches in Victoria and Melbourne. It sits a mere half an hour away from Melbourne’s central business district (CBD). While Melbourne’s coastline is quite vast, we’re looking at one spot in particular: Dendy Street Beach. Here you can find the iconic bathhouses, aka the “beach boxes”.
The 82 bathhouses are beautifully painted, Victorian-style structures and are perfect selfie and photograph locations to show your loved ones.
You may remember that Brighton Beach appeared on our list of budget-friendly places to visit in Melbourne. Entrance to Brighton Beach is completely free and it offers changing rooms and public toilets too.
Half Moon Bay (Black Rock)
Half Moon Bay is situated in the Victorian suburb of Black Rock, which is also home to the Black Rock Yacht Club. This beach has everything you can expect from a beach.
A common Melbournian tradition is to eat fish and chips at Half Moon Bay and watch the sunset. What makes Half Moon Bay so special is the unique view of the HMVS Cerberus. The HMVS Cerberus is one of the few remaining monitor warships in the world which sunk in 1926 as a breakwater (an object to protect the shore from waves). There is also a famous large red bluff (rounded cliffs) behind the beach for a raised view of the beautiful blue ocean.
Besides fish and chips, Half Moon Bay has a variety of other restaurants to enjoy. There are also floating beach wheelchairs you can reserve in the summer months.
Wilson Promontory (Yanakie)
Located in the Southernmost point of mainland Australia, Wilson Promontory is a camper's dream. Victoria’s largest marine national park has a range of different camping sites to choose from. Powered or unpowered, secluded or not, rugged or comfy, you and your friends and family can choose whatever they like.
Wilson Promontory is home to loads of hiking trails where you can see famous Australian animals such as emus, wombats and kangaroos. “The Prom” has amphibious boats for tours on both the land and sea to see more of the region and even its inland sand dunes. There are all-terrain and beach wheelchairs available to park visitors.
Torquay Beach (Torquay)
You may have heard of the iconic surf brands Quiksilver and Rip Curl, but did you know they were native to the Torquay beach area? Torquay, Victoria’s surfing capital is home to the Rip Curl Pro, an international surfing competition and the Australian National Surfing Museum. If surfing isn’t your thing, walking trails, pet-friendly beaches, fishing spots, golf courses, and snorkelling are available to see more of Torquay’s marine wildlife.
Torquay also has a variety of dining experiences for you and the family. There are many local stores for your retail therapy including Surf City Plaza dedicated to sporting goods.
Best beaches in New South Wales (NSW)
Bondi Beach (Sydney)
Because who hasn’t heard of Bondi? This famous beach is only seven kilometres away from Sydney’s CBD and features a range of attractions. This surfing beach has a skate park and a range of restaurants, cafes, shops and sculptures for people from all walks of life to enjoy.
Bondi Beach is one of the best beaches in Sydney because it has beautiful views and many walking routes. Take a stroll from Bondi to Coogee beach and enjoy the pristine coastline through beaches and parks. There are plenty of tidal pools to take a dip in along the way.
Avoca Beach (Central Coast)
NSW’s Avoca Beach is only (roughly) 90 minutes drive from Sydney and 80 minutes from Newcastle. Avoca Beach’s accommodation options are vast, with visitors able to choose from secluded cabanas, glamp sites, serviced apartments, or holiday homes. The swimming options are varied too. You can either choose the ocean to cool off or even learn to surf from the Central Coast Surf Academy. Should you prefer freshwater, you can travel to the neighbouring Avoca lake. Here you can hire a pedal boat, kayak or stand up paddleboard and explore the coastal wetlands or visit the lagoon’s large island.
Every fourth Sunday of the month, Avoca Beach hosts the Avoca beachside markets. Labelled an “artist, food and musician's community” market, you can find a range of stalls while listening to live music from local artists.
Jervis Bay and Hyams Beach (Shoalhaven)
Hyams Beach and Jervis Bay are both located in the Shoalhaven region of NSW. Hyams Beach is situated along Jervis Bay. What makes Jervis Bay unique is that, while other beaches on the list have white sand, Jervis Bay is said to have the whitest sand in the world.
Shoalhaven is about three hours away from both Sydney and Canberra with many accommodation options such as seaside cottages, beachside campgrounds and caravan parks. Jervis Bay sits alongside the Booderee National Park which offers dolphin- and whale-watching, fishing tours, kayaking and sailing.
Palm Beach (North of Sydney)
This beach in Sydney is very popular amongst fans of the Australian soap opera “Home and Away” as it is a common set location. That’s not the only celeb appeal this beach is renowned for. Other Australian celebs are often spotted in Palm Beach. Palm Beach is also a great beach for kids due to the shallow water that extends over the beach front.
Palm Beach has many popular restaurants, cafes, and clubs. The northern section of Palm Beach is loved by surfers and there is also an ocean pool with a shallow end for you and your kids to enjoy.
Best beaches in South Australia
Glenelg Beach (Adelaide)
Adelaide’s most popular beach, Glenelg is known for its kilometre-long jetty, Jetty Road. Jetty Road leads to the beach and is packed with businesses ranging from art galleries and restaurants to shoe, surf, and swimwear stores.
Glenelg is only 20 minutes away from Adelaide Central. Glenelg beach is perfect for kids as it has a large play space for your kids and fishing is allowed from the jetty at sunset. There are also water fountains to cool off should you not want to have a swim in the ocean.
Henley Beach (Adelaide)
Henley Beach is a mere 20 minutes from Adelaide. In fact, it’s so close that the beach’s Linear Path leads right into the city. There are live music venues in Henley Square as well as a shopping strip.
While Henley Beach has cafes and restaurants, the jetty has a large grassy area for picnics by the ocean. Henley Beach is great for kids as there are also water fountains for the kids to enjoy and play under. Like many beaches on this list, Henley Beach has its own market, with specialty stalls, live music, and food.
Port Noarlunga (Onkaparinga)
Port Noarlunga is one of the best beaches in South Australia. This beach has red sandstone beach cliffs overlooking the ocean which makes the perfect spot to watch the sun set or have a picnic. Some of the many things to do at Port Noarlunga include snorkelling, fishing, and kayaking.
Port Noarlunga is known for its large barrier reef and is close to Encounter Marine Park. Port Noarlunga is one of the best beaches if you are looking to swim in clear water. This reef has over 200 species of marine plants and countless species of fish and other animals for you to observe in it’s pristine waters while snorkelling.
Best beaches in the Northern Territory
Darwin Waterfront (Darwin)
The Darwin Waterfront is a bit different to the rest on the list. This is a man-made beach along with the Wave Lagoon. Every 20 minutes, different wave patterns roll out with waves that can swell up to 1.2 metres high. The locals love to use these waves for boogie boarding.
There are many restaurants in the vicinity such as high-end Mediterranean and Mexican restaurants, cafes and bars — all with a beautiful view of the ocean. The Darwin Waterfront offers activities such as sunset cruises, fishing tours, and jet ski rides.
Cossies Beach in Cocos Islands
Located on the isolated Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Cossies Beach, considered by many to be the top beach, was named the best beach in Australia in 2017 (and claimed the number four spot in 2018). Cossies may be a bit out of the way for some as it is around a four and a half hour plane flight away from Perth.
Visitors to the beach have been left stunned by its beauty, saying that the colours are more vivid than anything they’ve seen. This makes the beaches of the Cocos Islands perfect for a relaxing getaway with all the relaxing holiday activities: Swimming, snorkeling, and drinking out of a coconut while lying in a hammock.
Even though this is in Australia, you will require your passport when travelling.
Mindil Beach (Darwin)
Situated just five minutes from Darwin City, Mindil Beach is a favourite spot amongst the locals for watching tropical sunsets over the ocean. With a palm-filled, grassy reserve, Mindil Beach is popular for markets and events.
The markets take place on Thursday evenings from the last Thursday of April to the last Thursday in October (the dry season). There are Sunday markets as well but these are a lot smaller and are considered “locals nights”. There are over 150 stalls at the market with around 60 food stalls from all kinds of international cuisine. Maybe you can set up a stall yourself and wow the crowd with your home-cooked Filipino recipes.
Best beaches in Western Australia
Rottnest Island (Perth)
Rottnest Island is a popular destination for both locals and tourists, as it boasts 63 beaches and 20 bays. The island has many fun activities for visitors including fishing, surfing, snorkelling, golf, and skydiving. There are also many ways to take in the sights — hiking trails, mountain biking (which you can rent), and segway tours. You can even get a lesson on the aboriginal history of the island.
Rottnest Island is home to the world’s happiest (and probably the cutest) animal on the planet—the quokka! There are wildlife encounters on Rottnest Island where visitors can see more of the local animal population such as whales, bats, and kangaroos.
Scarborough Beach (Perth)
For teens and surfers alike Scarborough Beach is a firm favourite. This beach lends itself to all kinds of water sports like surfing, kite surfing, body boarding and windsurfing. If swimming in the seas isn't your thing you'll be glad to hear about the Scarborough Beach Pool which is an open-air public pool, geothermally heated - it's a world-class recreation facility.
Scarborough is also home to Global Gypsies, an award-winning caravan towing training organisation. Through Global Gypsies, you can learn how to tow a caravan so that no future offroad holiday will be out of your reach.
Coogee Beach (Perth)
Found in the southern coastal suburb of Perth, Coogee Beach is found in the city of Cockburn. Western Australia is renowned for its beautiful coastline and with a magnificent backdrop of Fremantle, Rottnest and Garden Island. With white sands and blue clear water, Coogee Beach not only has interesting natural settings, it is also blessed with beautiful sunsets.
Coogee Beach has a lot of fun things for you and your loved ones to do, especially if you are looking for the best beach with clear waters. There are public tennis courts, playgrounds, and even a protected swimming area. The beach also allows barbecues and has sheltered picnic areas.
Best Beaches in Queensland
Whitehaven Beach (Whitsundays)
Whitehaven is considered to be the best beach in Australia, so you’d be blessed if you get to visit this popular and beautiful beach. Boasting white sandy shores and crystal clear waters, Whitehaven is probably a glamourised version of Boracay!
Whitehaven has been voted Australia’s cleanest beach and is situated in the Great Barrier Reef. There are seaplane and helicopter tours of the island to see it in all its glory. While it may not be the best for a barbecue or a big social gathering, it’s great to see more of Australia’s natural beauty from above.
Rainbow Beach (Gympie)
Rainbow Beach is technically a town, nestled between Fraser island and Cooloola national park. Covered in colourful ancient sand dunes this coastal town represents the vast landscape of Queensland's stunning coastlines. Carlo Sand Blow is one of the top attractions here. With stunning views, you can take in Rainbow Beach and all its coloured sands. Most viewers walk up to this point to take in the beautiful sunsets.
Burleigh Heads (Gold coast)
Nestled between the north and laid-back vibes of the south, the beach at Burleigh Heads offers the best of both worlds: protected waters at the main beach and world-class surf breaks around the headlands.
Burleigh Heads National Park offers charming ocean views and plenty of walking trails for you to take in the sights of nature and the local wildlife. The foreshore has towering pine trees with multiple spots perfect for a picnic or a barbecue (or barbie as the locals say).
Best beaches in Tasmania
Wineglass Bay (Hobart)
Much like Whitehaven beach, Wineglass Bay is more a vacation destination than a barbecue spot for the locals. It also boasts wonderful white sand and sapphire blue water. Located three hours away from Hobart, Wineglass Bay is worth the journey. You can either rough it in the wild or luxuriate in one of the many hotels available.
Wineglass Bay boasts over 500 species of plant life and over 80 species of orchids. The other activities, mainly for outdoor lovers, includes quad bike rides, cruises in the peninsula, and the many hiking routes.
Bay of Fires (North Eastern Coast)
One of the top beaches in the world, let alone Tasmania, is the beautiful Bay of Fires on Tasmania’s Northeast Coast.
This most striking slice of Tasmanian coast is a combination of white sand, clear blue seas and granite headlands covered in in orange lichen. Drive north from Binalong Bay to The Gardens, you can do lots of beach-hopping along the way, or stretch things out with a four-day hike along the beaches with the Bay of Fires Lodge Walk or Wukalina Walk where you can take in the stunning scenes of the Bay of Fires.
Maria Island (Hobart)
Maria Island is a unique island where long sandy beaches, clear blue water, mountaintop views, abundant wildlife and a multi-layered human history come together and create a perfect and interesting island destination. There is also an abundance of wildlife roaming the island, including Kangaroos, wombats, and ringtail possums. If you are there overnight you may even get lucky and see the legendary Tasmanian devil.