Whitehaven Beach, Queensland
Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsunday Islands along the Great Barrier Reef is not just one of Australia’s top stretches of coast, it often scores a place on lists of the best beaches in the world.
The seven-kilometer arc of powdery white sand here is actually silica, a silky-soft substance that creates a striking contrast with the tropical turquoise sea and emerald headlands. Best of all, the beach lies in a national park on Whitsunday Island, ensuring that it remains protected and pristine, despite the many day-trippers who land on these shores.
Turquoise Bay, Western Australia
One of the most ravishing beaches in Western Australia, pristine Turquoise Bay is true to its name. Luminous blue-green water laps the powdery shores of this striking bay, which sits about 60 kilometers south of Exmouth in Cape Range National Park.
Turquoise Bay is also one of the few mainland beaches where you can snorkel on colorful coral reefs right from shore. World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef, Australia’s largest fringing reef, lies steps from the sand, with more than 250 species of coral and 500 different species of fish, including stingrays, sea turtles, and whale sharks.
Cossies Beach, Cocos (Keeling) Islands
Imagine an idyllic South Pacific Islands beach: coconut palms bristling above a bone-white sliver of sand, and luminous aqua water lapping softly on shore. This is the delicious stretch of sand on Direction Island in the Cocos (Keeling) islands.
This remote Australian Territory of two atolls and 27 coral islands lies about a 4.5-hour flight from Perth. In 2016, with permission from the locals, beach expert and author Brad Farmer christened this sublime slice of coast “Cossies,” after Australia’s 26th Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove.
Wineglass Bay, Tasmania
On a clear day, it’s hard to beat the beauty of Wineglass Bay in Tasmania’s Freycinet National Park. Lay eyes on this luscious jewel from the lookout, with its curving bush-fringed shoreline, stark-white sand, and sapphire waters, and you’ll be spoilt forever.
After soaking up the views, take the 20-minute walk from the lookout to the southern end of the beach, where you can gaze up at the Hazards, the pink-tinged granite peaks punctuating one end of the bay.
Sea kayaking, sailing, and fishing are favorite things to do here, and bushwalking is especially popular. Wineglass Bay lies on the Freycinet Experience Walk, a four-day trek along the entire peninsula, which is one of the top hikes in Australia. The surrounding wilderness is home to wallabies, wombats, quolls, and even Tasmanian devils.
Cable Beach, Western Australia
If you’ve ever seen a photo of people riding camels silhouetted against a fiery sunset on an Aussie Beach, you can bet it’s Cable Beach. It’s one of the most popular things to do along this 22-kilometer stretch of creamy white sand and turquoise sea.
Cable Beach skirts the coast of Broome in Western Australia. It was named for the communications cable laid between here and Java across the Indian Ocean in 1889.
Noosa Main Beach, Queensland
Fringed by palms, pandanus, and casuarina pines, Noosa Main Beach is an Aussie favorite. It lies about two hours north of Brisbane on the Sunshine Coast.
This clean stretch of golden sand and blue-green water boasts a beautiful setting between Noosa National Parkand the chic shops and cafés of Hastings Street. Its sheltered and sunny north-facing aspect makes it popular year-round. At the eastern end of the shoreline, the national park cloaks the headland, and if you hike up the hill into the park, you can often spot koalas in the trees.
Twilight Beach, Western Australia
Twilight Beach is Australia’s version of the boulder-strewn beaches in the Seychelles. It lies about seven kilometers from the little beach town of Esperance, You won’t find rustling palm trees here, but you will find crystal-clear turquoise water, a gorgeous slice of blinding-white sand flanked by smooth granite boulders, and typically safe conditions for swimming and surfing.
Hyams Beach, New South Wales
Fringing the Jervis Bay Marine Park, Hyams Beach is famous for its snowy-white, squeaky-fine sand. It’s a popular weekend getaway from Sydney and a 2.5-hour drive south of the city.
Swimming, snorkeling, stand up paddleboarding, and fishing are popular things to do in the clear, blue waters, and it’s a beautiful spot to bask on the powder-soft sands. Once you lie eyes on its striking shores, you’ll see why this is one of the best beaches in NSW (New South Wales).
Bushwalking is also a popular thing to do here. Scenic trails lace the national park, including Hyams Beach Trail, also known as the Bird Spotter’s walk, where you can look for colorful crimson rosellas and honeyeaters; interpretative signs help you identify the species. White Sands Walk takes you along the powdery shores of this sublime stretch of coast.
Lucky Bay, Western Australia
About 70 kilometers from Twilight Beach in Cape le Grand National Park, Lucky Bayis another one of Australia’s whitest stretches of sand. The explorer Matthew Flinders named this beautiful bay after he took shelter here during a fierce summer storm.
Today, anyone would be lucky to find themselves in the embrace of this dazzling crescent-shaped bay. Wildlife lovers will also be in heaven here – Kangaroos often lounge on its shores, posing for quintessential Aussie photo ops.
Vivonne Bay, South Australia
Vivonne Bay, on Kangaroo Island in South Australia, is an unspoiled stretch of bright, white sand and azure sea. You can sometimes spot seals bobbing in the cool, clear water here.
The waves here are often perfect for surfing and boogie boarding, but you need to take care, as the beach is not patrolled. Swimming is best in the summer, when the water warms up.
Other popular things to do include picnics, sunbathing, fishing, and watching the fresh crayfish catch arrive at the jetty. Picnic and barbecue areas are available near the jetty, but you should bring your own food and refreshments.
Surfers Paradise Beach
Backed by high-rise apartments, but still managing to impress with its beauty, this broad three-kilometer stretch of squeaky, white sand and surf-laced sea is one of Queensland’s most famous beaches. Not surprisingly, this famous Gold Coast attraction is a fantastic place for beginner surfers to catch some gentle waves.
Swimming, sunbathing, and strolling along the soft sands or beachfront promenade are all equally satisfying here, and despite the crowds, the beach is surprisingly clean. Lifeguards patrol 365 days a year.
Surfers Paradise is arguably the best beach city in Australia. After a relaxing day soaking up the sun on the beach, you can hop across to fabulous shops, cafés, and restaurants only steps away from the sand. Shoppers also come here Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday nights to the Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets,with more than 120 stalls selling everything from photographs and fashion to souvenirs and jewelry.