Balmy breezes, beaming sun and the lulling lap of waves on the shore: a beach holiday can be complete bliss, and Australia is home to some of the world’s best stretches of coastline to sink your toes into.
Though the far-flung country is a picture of idyllic beach perfection, naturally holidaymakers risk crowds, dangerous rip tides and even swarms of jellyfish if they aren’t in the know about where to lay their towels.
Thankfully, we’ve rounded up some of the top seaside haunts in Oz to guarantee travellers will find blue flag quality beaches on their winter sun escapes.
From city-side surf swells to the white swathes of Fraser Island, here are the best Australian shorelines to sunbathe, swim and surf on your next holiday Down Under.
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Seventy-Five Mile Beach
For a very long stroll or a thrilling 4WD adventure at low tide, Seventy-Five Mile Beach is an oasis of white dunes fringing the rainforests and freshwater lakes of Fraser Island just off southern Queensland. Stretching Fraser’s east coast, the beach highway on the world’s largest sand island is a must-drive Australian adventure.
Little Hellfire Bay
Just a short walk away from Hellfire Bay in Cape Le Grand National Park, Western Australia, is its smaller and more secluded younger sister, Little Hellfire Bay. The crowd-free cove makes for a relaxing reading spot with secluded swimming in crystal-clear waters and a scenery primed for barbequing fresh seafood and speciality beetroot hamburgers with a Victoria Bitter in hand.
Turquoise Bay in Exmouth, in Western Australia, is true to its name, with vivid deep blue waters home to turtles and spectacular snorkelling reefs. The remote shore in Cape Range National Park can be reached by seasonal shuttle buses from Exmouth town 40 miles away – tag the journey on to a hike in Yardie Creek for the ultimate Aussie adventure.
Burleigh Heads Beach
On Queensland’s Gold Coast, one beach part of a new wave of accessible Australian sands is Burleigh Heads. Though hailed as a spot for experienced surfers for its unique wave patterns and a hit with beach bums due to glistening white sands, the shore has made adjustments to make the natural landscape more inclusive. Two beach wheelchairs are available free of charge for those who need them to access the water from the hard sand, with matting rolled out by a team of surf lifesavers towards a shade tent near the water line.
The iconic white shores of the Whitsundays are at their purest on Whitehaven Beach. With sands consisting of 98.9 per cent silica and an average annual temperature of 24C, Whitehaven is a paradise you won’t want to miss. The Australian spring, from September through November, is the peak for comfortable weather conditions and sailing excursions to spot marine life including whale sharks, manta rays and humpbacks that swim in the teal Coral Sea.
With a 5km stretch of white sand, diving, canoeing and bush trails, Western Australia’s kangaroo haven, Lucky Bay, boasts 303 annual sunny days and welcoming coastal campsites ideal for pitching up to beat the crowds. Wild roos hop the pristine swathe while dolphins hop the crystal waters; so it’s no surprise the bay took the title of the “Best Beach in the World” for 2023.
No trip to Sydney would be complete without a sunbathe or a surf on one of Australia’s most famous beaches. Bondi, a magnet for the surfing elite, buzzes with activity, from bodyboarders bobbing the waves to swimmers racking up lengths in the Bondi Icebergs Pool most hours of the day. The big, brash golden sands may be overrated but they certainly aren’t boring.
A two-hour drive from Melbourne, with an unrivalled surf heritage, Bells Beach is located along the Great Ocean Road in Victoria with a whole coastline of some of the world’s best waves. Lapped by the Southern Ocean, The Rip Curl Pro, formerly the Bells Beach Surfing Classic – a world championship tour event – is held every Easter on the serious swells up to 15ft.
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