How many Beaches are in Australia
Going to the beach is a deep-seeded part of Australian culture – and with good reason. Between Australia’s mainland and the more than 8200 islands that make up the country, there are close to 60,000km of coastline. In total, there are almost 12,000 beaches that make up that coastline – the largest number of beaches of any country in the world. And many of those beaches also rank among the best beaches in the world. Australia’s beaches are a key driver for both domestic and overseas tourism, drawing sizeable crowds particularly in the summer months. Statistics show that 70 per cent of international visitors to Australia enjoy a coastal experience during their stay. However, with so many beaches, there is plenty of room for everyone to enjoy some sun, sand and sea.
What makes Australia’s beaches special?
Australia is known for having some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Crystal clear waters can be found right around the country, along with idyllic sand, stunning coastline scenery and plenty of marine life. The weather conditions also contribute to an enjoyable day at the beach in Australia, with the cool ocean water providing a nice way to escape from the often hot and dry summer heat.
Australia’s beaches are also held in high regard due to generally low levels of pollution and the sands being well maintained. Unlike beaches in some other countries, the vast majority of beaches around Australia have soft, fine sand which is ideal for a range of activities from sunbaking to beach cricket, soccer or volleyball. In the water, there are many beaches around Australia which have great surfing conditions, while other beaches are well-suited to swimming or even snorkelling.
The best beaches in Australia
With so many amazing beaches in Australia, it’s hard to narrow down a list of the best beaches.
However, Tourism Australia did its best when it named the ‘Top 20 Beaches for 2022’. Here is the top-10 from the list.
- Misery Beach, Western Australia – Located just south of Albany at the bottom of Western Australia, this beach is described as coming “straight from the pages of a beachscape artist’s sketchbook”. It has crystal clear waters, white sand and stunning granite outcrops. The area also welcomes plenty of seals, dolphins and migrating whales.
- Horseshoe Bay, New South Wales – On the mid-north coast of NSW, this is a popular family holiday spot which has a lovely patrolled beach during the peak season and also neighbours the Arakoon National Park.
- The Spit, Queensland – At the northern end of the Gold Coast is this 4km stretch of beach which backs onto Broadwater and is a relaxing and quieter area away from the hustle and bustle of other parts of the Gold Coast like Surfers Paradise.
- Flaherty’s Beach, South Australia – A three-hour drive from Adelaide on the west coast of the Yorke Peninsula, this largely untouched beach features turquoise waters and white sands that are said to be “reminiscent of the Maldives”. There are also some stunning – and sizeable – tidal sandbars to explore.
- Lochard Gorge, Victoria – Featuring golden sands, this secluded beach is hemmed in by ancient 30m high towering limestone cliffs which create a narrow opening of water. Located within the Port Campbell National Park, it is a beach of natural beauty that is well worth visiting. However, it is unsafe for swimming. For a safer patrolled beach you’ll have to head down the road to Port Campbell.
- The Neck, Tasmania – To get to this beach, you’ll have to take a 40km ferry from Hobart to the beautiful Bruny Island. This beach is a 7km isthmus, which is a stretch of sand connecting North and South Bruny Islands. There is a nice lookout which provides 360-degree views and The Neck provides habitat for fairy penguins and mutton birds.
- Blue Pearl Bay, Queensland – A tiny enclave on the coastline of Hayman Island in the Whitsundays, this beach provides a blend of “Caribbean and Mediterranean vibes”. While possible to access from land, it is easiest to visit by boat for some top snorkelling and scuba diving.
- Depot Beach, New South Wales – Located on the less crowded south coast of NSW, this beach is considered “every bit as good, if not better” than many of the north coast’s more visited spots. About 270km from Sydney en-route to Batemans Bay, this pristine and uncrowded beach is located within the Murramarang National Park and is good for swimming, fishing and snorkelling around the rocks.
- Murray’s Beach, Australian Capital Territory – While technically part of the ACT, this beach is nowhere near Canberra. It is at the tip of Jervis Bay, looking out to Bowen Island, which is about three hours east of Canberra and a similar distance south of Sydney. The beach falls within the Bouderee National Park, which is under the management of First Nations peoples. There is a modest fee to enter this part of the park, but it is well worth it.
- Dundee Beach, Northern Territory – About 60km southwest of Darwin, you will find this beach which derives its name from the popular film ‘Crocodile Dundee’ and is home to some big crocs. Don’t let that scare you off, though. It is an ideal spot for a day trip or overnight camping trip and features stunning sunsets, great fishing and birdwatching. The surrounding landscape is quite unique and the beach is also a nesting site for sea turtles.
Australia’s most famous beaches
- Whitehaven Beach, Queensland – Located within a national park on Whitsunday Island in the Whitsunday Islands, this is without doubt the most recognisable beach in Australia and often ranks on lists as being among the best beaches in the world. Whitehaven Beach features 7km of powder white sand and is lapped up by bright blue waters. The beach can be easily accessed through day trip tours from Air
- Bondi Beach, New South Wales – Listed as an Australian Heritage Landmark, this beach is heavily frequented by domestic and international tourists given it is an easy 15-minute drive or bus ride from Sydney’s CBD. Home to one of Australia’s first surf live saving clubs and the set of reality TV show ‘Bondi Rescue’, this beach is a great spot for sunbaking, swimming and surfing. However, be prepared to deal with some crowds, especially during the summer months.
- Surfers Paradise Beach, Queensland – Patrolled by lifeguards every day of the year, this beach on the Gold Coast is another popular spot for tourists. Part of a very long stretch of white sand beaches in the area, it is generally clean, well-maintained and has a nice backdrop of high-rise buildings right along the coast. Like the name suggests, there are often quite good conditions for surfing.
- Cable Beach, Western Australia – If you want to go ride a camel on a beach at sunset, this is the place to do it. This beach is famous for the activity, which is popular with tourists. But it provides more than just spectacular sunsets overlooking the Indian Ocean. Cable Beach is a 22km stretch of pristine white sand, backed by stunning turquoise waters. Just 10 minutes from the centre of Broome, you can hire chairs, umbrellas, paddle boards and bicycles. Lifeguards are on duty between May and October for those who want to have a swim.
- Byron Bay, New South Wales – On the north coast of New South Wales, this area is a popular destination blessed with plenty of amazing beaches. Backing onto a rainforest hinterland, it is the most easterly point in Australia and therefore delivers great sunrises. There are beaches that are patrolled year-round and offer good swimming, snorkelling, scuba diving and kayaking opportunities.
- Noosa Main Beach, Queensland – Those looking for some laid-back fun in the sun should consider a trip to Noosa on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. The spectacular main beach runs 1.2km long from the base of the Noosa Heads to the mouth of the Noosa River and mostly faces north, meaning it generally receives only small waves which make it ideal for swimming.
- Wineglass Bay, Tasmania – Making up part of the Freycinet National Park, this bay on Tasmania’s east coast is often referred to as one of the top-10 beaches in the world. Stunning pink granite mountains rising from the sea form a sheltered bay where you can go hiking, swimming, kayaking or just relax on the sand. Wineglass Bay is about two-and-a-half hours’ drive from Hobart.
How to enjoy a safe day at the beach in Australia
If you are heading to a beach in Australia, make sure to remember a few important things. Always swim between the flags at beaches which are patrolled by lifeguards because strong rips and large waves are common at beaches around Australia. Make sure you pack your sunscreen – ideally reef-safe sunscreen if you are going for a swim – because it does not take long to burn in the harsh Australian sun. Also be sure to take not of any other warning signs or flags at the beach and keep a close eye on any children, who can quickly get in trouble in the water.