When coming up with a list of the best beaches in Australia – you’re left with a problem. Would a family with young children appreciate the same beach as a group of surfers? Would a couple in search of a romantic stroll be happy at the same beach as loads of families?
The answer is, in many cases – no. The families are likely to want a beach that is really sheltered, with calm shallow waters for their tots to safely swim and play. Surfers are looking out for the big waves with the longest rides – and they won’t find them in sheltered, shallow waters. And couples are usually content to find private, secluded spots with sandy beaches and beautiful sunsets.
For this reason, we’ve decided to break our article into three sections; one for each group. But even then it’s tough – some of Australia’s “best beaches” are really inaccessible, or very similar to hundreds of other beaches. So you won’t find two Aussies on the continent who agree with all the choices! So let’s just say, these are the “best beaches” for comparing against other beaches we might encounter in this incredible country. Because goodness knows, we have a lot of gorgeous beaches!
Every coastal town and city in Australia has at least one great family beach. Here are a few that we especially liked:
Cottesloe Beach: With loads of clean sand for making sand castles, huge expanses of beautifully maintained grass for picnics, and gentle, shallow water getting deeper very gradually – families flock to Cottesloe Beach. This is a very popular beach in Perth, Western Australia, for both locals and tourists. Lifeguards keep a watchful eye during set times each day, although it is essential for parents to look out for their own kids, as the beach can get very busy. When you get hungry, head towards the gigantic Norfolk Pines and you’ll find loads of cafes and restaurants, as well as stores to explore.
Shell Beach: Definitely not a beach for making sandcastles – this white beach in Denham, part of the Shark Bay World Heritage Area, makes our list because it’s extraordinary and will hold a certain fascination for young ones. There isn’t a single grain of sand on this beach, which is made up entirely of tiny shells! Literally millions and millions of shells, up to 10 metres deep, along a coast around 120km long means that your tots can have a blast searching and comparing the various shells. Even more exciting – stay in this area and you are close to Monkey Mia where each day, dolphins swim into the shallow waters to be fed by visitors.
- Beautiful Shell Beach (top)
- Family Friendly Cottesloe Beach, Perth (bottom)
There are some serious surf beaches in Australia, many which attract international surfers in droves. Here’s a few guaranteed to given you a thrilling ride.
Bells Beach: This choice will not be a surprise for any surfers reading this article. Not only is Bells Beach, near Torquay, Victoria the most popular surfing beach in Australia, but each year surfers flock to this beach from around the globe for the 10-day Rip Curl Pro Surf & Music Festival. This beach offers consistently excellent waves for surfing, with the best at six feet plus, and the area has plenty of surf shops and classes available for anyone who arrives without a board. Best months to surf are between February and April, and the water can get chilly so wetsuits are a good idea.
Superbank: This beach needs to go into the list of “bizarre side effects of man tampering with nature.” The Gold Coast council hired a dredge contractor to remove sand from the Tweed Rivermouth to make life easier for the fishing boats, and the sand was unceremoniously dumped behind Snapper Rocks, and before long it had filled the gaps between Snapper Rocks, Rainbow Bay, Green Point and Kirra. The result was one long sand bank, and within a short time – some very long tube rides and happy surfers. Today, surfers flock from around the world for the excellent rides, and the annual Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast. The location is perfect for anyone who wants to celebrate their victory over the waves, as the nearby Coolangatta has plenty of nightlife.
Byron Bay: Popular with surfers of all skill levels, Byron Bay is an excellent place to surf. If you’re a novice – there are plenty of instructors around, and if you want to rent or buy gear, you’ll find what you need. There are also plenty of beginner and intermediate waves to try your skills. The most experienced surfers will enjoy The Pass, with a giant hollow wave stretching around the headland (be warned though – The Pass has a strong rip, and the area gets crowded due to its popularity).
- Bells Beach, Torquay (left)
- Superbank, Coolangatta (top right)
- Byron Bay (bottom middle)
- That could be you! (bottom right)
It isn’t difficult to find a secluded, romantic spot for couples, given the enormity of Australia’s coastline and the proportionately small population! But here are a few of our favourites:
Whitsundays: It’s tough to name a specific beach here, as there are so many beautiful, romantic islands with secluded beaches. Many of the resorts will even offer to drop you off on a deserted island for a day with a picnic hamper. Calm waters, sparkling sand, beautiful scenery, and countless secluded areas make this a favourite for honeymooners.
Bay of Fires: As the name suggests, this beach is the perfect place to ignite your passion. The array of colours – the sparkling clear, clean sapphire water, the red of the granite rocks and the soft white sand is breathtaking. Be sure to come out for a spectacular sunrise, and do plenty of exploring. Bring your snorkelling gear and see the beauty that lives under the water. Be sure to check out the other beaches in Tasmania as there are many which are perfect for romantics and honeymooners.
Cable Beach: A favourite for honeymooners everywhere, the Western Australian Cable Beach is 22km of white sandy paradise. Each night brings phenomenal sunsets – set up a tripod and take romantic photos of you both with the sunset as a backdrop. The water is warm and clean, a perfect environment for swimming. Be warned that in the summer, the box jellyfish are around making swimming dangerous, so keep Cable Beach for those fabulous winter breaks!
- Cable Beach at sunset (left)
- A beautiful beach in the Whitsundays (top right)
- The Bay of Fires, Tasmania(bottom middle)
- Where will your next romantic holiday be? (bottom right)