1. Whitehaven Beach, Whitsundays
This amazing beach comes in at number one. The pristine sand stretches over seven kilometres of Whitsunday Island, smack bang in the middle of the Whitsundays, with crystal-clear waters perfect for snorkelling. It's the most photographed beach in Australia according to Tourism Whitsundays. The best view is atop Tongue Point, where at low tide you can witness a beautiful array of colours come to light.
2. Turquoise Bay, Exmouth
Western Australia's Turquoise Bay has been deemed the second best beach in the country, thanks largely to its stunning reef and snorkelling opportunities. Let the current take you towards the exquisite Ningaloo reef, but be wary of the strong current near the sandbar. Take to the water to spot creatures like anemone fish, colourful parrotfish, moon wrasse, starfish and reef sharks.
3. Cable Beach, Broome
Another Western Australian jewel is Cable Beach, which consists of 22 kilometres of pure white sand, a backdrop of red hills and some of the clearest blue waters you'll ever see. It's famous for its opportunities to ride camels along the shore, and gentle waves that are ideal for swimmers. Visit Gantheaume Point, at the southern end of Cable Beach to witness 130 million year old dinosaur footprints at low tide. During migration season you can also see whales frolicking in the water, along with dolphins.
4. Bells Beach, Victoria
Beloved by surfers all over the world, Bell's Beach is cited by Lonely Planet as one of Australia's beach beaches for surfing. Known for its huge swells and powerful surf, it's not the safest beach for swimming, but more than makes up for it by catering to those with a board. It's the site of the Rip Curl Pro Surf Competition which takes place annually over Easter, drawing some of the best surfers from all over the world and plenty of spectators.
High cliffs add a touch of drama to this setting, though the exposed reef and point break is best suited to those who know what they're doing in the water.
5. Burleigh Heads Beach, Gold Coast
The Gold Coast has its fair share of exceptional beaches, but Burleigh Heads is one of its best. Despite being located alongside a busy highway, this untouched paradise is clean, unpolluted and pristine, with great surf conditions and plenty of walking tracks to explore. Swimming sections are patrolled by lifeguards, making this a good option for families looking to enjoy the water.
The waves are also a draw card for surfers, and the surrounding parkland area is a popular option for picnickers. Wildlife is also a common sight in the area, with sea eagles, brush turkeys and dolphin pods often spotted. Fragrant pine trees are characteristic of this area, and there are often art and craft markets to explore.
6. Four Mile Beach, Port Douglas
Port Douglas' Four Mile Beach is a popular spot that was once a sleepy coastal town. The four-kilometre stretch of sand starts at the base of Island Point and ends amongst Mowbray River's reefs and rocks. The beach is wide and flat with a huge low tide, with the thriving Port Douglas Life Saving Club patrolling the northern end. Swimming is best at high tide, as at low tide you may have to walk up to 200m to even reach the water.
During stinger season a net is put in place, and swimming is generally safe here.
7. Wineglass Bay, Tasmania
Wineglass Bay is part of Freycinet National Park, and is several hours from both Hobart and Launceston. The picture-perfect beach consists of stark white sand set against the area's pink and white granite peaks, with a deep blue sea completing the rainbow of colours. Tourists and holidaymakers flock here to fish, sail, kayak, rock climb and simply relax in the sun.
The sheltered location makes this a superb beach for swimming and splashing about, and the clam-shaped shoreline makes for exceptional aerial photographs. There's a dedicated lookout for the best views of Wineglass Bay, accessed with a one hour return hike up a path.
8. Noosa Main Beach, Noosa
Noosa's main beach is one of the few along the coastline to face north, and as such has very gentle waves ideal for families and those not confident in larger surf. The beach is patrolled by surf lifesavers every single day of the year, and is conveniently located next to the popular Hastings Street shopping and restaurant precinct. Dolphins are frequent visitors to the waters here, with whales visiting during their annual migration season.
Surfers can try out the Noosa Park headland region for better waves. The north-facing location makes this area less breezy in cooler months, and this beach is used year-round for many activities including fishing and sunbathing.
9. Hyams Beach, New South Wales
Jervis Bay's Hyams Beach is nestled amongst the Jervis Bay Marine Park and Booderee National Park, with plenty of native forests and clifftop walking trails. It's well known for its incredibly white sand and is a playground of rich and famous Sydneysiders, but anyone can enjoy diving and snorkelling at this location. Other activities popular in the area include sailing, windsurfing and sea kayaking, with whale and dolphin-watching cruises on offer. Booderee National Park can provide idyllic bushwalks.
10. Bondi Beach, Sydney
Locals and travellers alike love Bondi, which has a thriving atmosphere and provides plenty of people-watching opportunities. The iconic beach is home to the first Surf Life Saving Club in the world, which was founded more than 100 years ago. These days, Bondi is typically crowded with sunbathers, swimmers and walkers alike, as its clean shores and close vicinity to the centre of Sydney making it an accessible and popular destination.
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