The Whitsundays Australia

Best Beaches in Australia: Serene & Secret Shores

White sands, wildlife rich coves, city beaches and remote islands. Read on to discover Australia's best beaches
Travel+Leisure World's Best Awards 2023 logo in white
Written by
Charlie Morris

Published on: January 16th, 2024

Last modified: April 23rd, 2024

Imagine digging your toes into soft white sand, diving under turquoise waves and letting the warm sunlight wash over you. This may sound like a tropical dream, but it’s a common scene at Australia’s best beaches. With more than 60,000 kilometres of coastline and over 10,000 beaches, this immense island is among the best places on earth to enjoy sun, sand and surf.

We’ve asked our travel designers to select their favourite coastal destinations in the land down under. From the untamed wilderness of Kangaroo Island and the snorkel-friendly shipwrecks of Western Australia to the crystalline waters of Tasmania and the world-famous white sand of the Whitsundays, here are their expert picks of the top beaches in Australia.

1. Stokes Bay – Kangaroo Island

Just off the coast of Adelaide in South Australia you’ll find the wonderfully rugged Kangaroo Island, whose wildlife and natural wonders have been left largely untouched. Make your way through a maze of boulders to reach Stokes Bay, which is undoubtedly among the most beautiful beaches in Australia. It boasts a protected rock pool with perfectly calm and clear water, making it an ideal spot for swimming and a fantastic choice for families.

Need to know: We recommend staying at the exquisite Southern Ocean Lodge to enjoy everything the island has to offer.

Stokes Bay Kangaroo Island Australia

2. Boomerang Beach – New South Wales

The shape of this stunning beach in New South Wales is reminiscent of the Australian icon it’s named after. It’s known for having some of the best surf breaks in the area, thanks to rock ledges that create delightfully consistent waves. Head to the nearby Booti Booti National Park for rainforest treks and jaw-dropping views from the headlands.

Need to know: Boomerang Beach faces east, making it a favourite spot to watch the sunrise over the ocean; keep an eye out for dolphins as well.

boomerang beach australia

3. Rainbow Beach – Brisbane

Located a few hours up the coast from Brisbane, Rainbow Beach is named for the brilliant colours of its dunes. It’s worth making the journey for the distinctive scenery, golden sand, tranquil town and spectacular views from the clifftop Carlo Sand Blow. It’s also an ideal starting point for a trip to K’gari (Fraser Island), which is the largest sand island in the world.

Need to know: To reach K’gari, take a 10-minute ferry ride from Inskip Point at the northern end of Rainbow Beach.

rainbow beach brisbane

4. Apollo Bay – Victoria

The southeastern state of Victoria is home to some of the best Australian beaches, many of which are dotted along the Great Ocean Road. Take this scenic drive to reach Apollo Bay, a 3-kilometre stretch of sand that draws families, sunbathers and surfers alike. You can also explore the town of Apollo Bay, which is known for fresh seafood and a thriving art scene.

Need to know: Adventurous beachgoers can take a surf lesson or hop in a sea kayak to explore the nearby Marengo Marine Sanctuary.

Apollo Bay australia

5. Adventure Bay – Tasmania

Tasmania is renowned for its wilderness and wildlife (including a certain eponymous marsupial), but it also offers some truly incredible beaches. Off its southeastern coast you’ll find Bruny Island and the peaceful stretch of sand known as Adventure Bay: a terrific destination for family beach days and nature walks.

Need to know: Look out for whales and dolphins in the water. Animal lovers can also find fairy penguins, fur seals, wallabies and many other interesting species across the island.

bruny island tasmania australia

6. Hamelin Bay – Western Australia

The vast region of Western Australia is a haven of natural beauty and pristine coastlines – not to mention the brilliant biodiversity of Ningaloo Reef. Head to Hamelin Bay for some of the area’s most picturesque vistas and crystal-clear waters. It’s one of Australia’s best spots for snorkelling, and is particularly well known for the friendly stingrays that frequent its shallows.

Need to know: Underwater explorers can snorkel through the Hamelin Bay Wreck Trail to discover no fewer than 11 different shipwreck sites.

Ningaloo Reef, Hamelin Bay, Australia

7. Balmoral Beach – Sydney

The harbour city of Sydney is both iconic and idyllic – and if you want to relax on the sand without venturing too far afield, Balmoral Beach is your best bet. Its sheltered spot on the harbour means the water is perfectly calm and safe for even the smallest swimmers. Here you can try your hand at sailing, stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking or scuba diving, or check out the historic buildings lining the shore.

Need to know: Balmoral Beach is right next to Edwards Beach, with a scenic path leading out to Rocky Point Island between them.

Balmoral Beach, Sydney

8. Wineglass Bay – Tasmania

Set within Freycinet National Park on the eastern coast of Tasmania, Wineglass Bay is named for the deep crescent shape of its coastline. Its far-flung location and dramatic vistas have made it a legendary destination, and it’s well worth the trek to see it in person. Hike through the lush hills and pink granite cliffs surrounding the bay for astonishing views – especially at sunset.

Need to know: We highly suggest staying at the nearby Saffire Freycinet which offers guided walks, boat trips and even scenic flights over the bay.

Wineglass Bay, Freycinet National Park, tasmania

9. Whitehaven Beach – Whitsundays

With 74 islands scattered across the Great Barrier Reef, the Whitsundays boast some of the most famous beaches in Australia. The archipelago’s crown jewel is Whitehaven Beach, which is famous for its gorgeous inlet and shockingly white sand. Wander along 7 kilometres of undisturbed coastline, swim in the sparkling water or charter a boat to sail through the islands.

Need to know: Whitehaven’s sand consists of nearly pure silica, which explains its brilliant colour as well as the convenient fact that it doesn’t absorb heat from the sun.

whitehaven beach whitsundays australia


Embark on a journey to Australia

With soft white sands and crystal blue waters, it's hard to resist dipping in your toes. Australia invites you to explore its sun-drenched coastline and untamed wilderness.

Luxury Accommodation

There are many incredible places to stay in Australia. Here are some of our favourites, handpicked by our travel designers:

Trip Inspiration

Get inspired with our Australia example trips and then get in touch to plan your own adventure