Australia's best beaches

White sand and wide-open skies

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Jules Pearson

Ronnie McCluskey
HomeAway travel expert

Surfers ParadiseAustralia is one of those rare countries whose appeal is so broad, it’s difficult to express or sum up succinctly in a single sentence. People visit Las Vegas to party or gamble, New York to shop and sightsee, Paris for the culture and food; but Australia’s treasures are virtually illimitable, stretching in every direction. Modern cities, rugged outback communities and stunning strips of coastline vie for your attention - it would be difficult to see everything of note in a lifetime, let alone a holiday. For this article, we’re going to narrow our gaze and focus on Australia’s best beaches - and by extension some of the best beaches in the world.

Australians love the beach; you’re much more likely to see surfboards than paperbacks under people’s arms, though the clichéd image of the Akubra hat and the Mick Dundee humour isn’t very accurate. This giant island is ringed by incredible sand and surf, and so it simply behoves you to sample one of these golden playgrounds on your trip Down Under. Read our at-a-glance guide to some of the country’s best beaches, judged by their beauty, cleanness and marine life. If you’re planning to visit one of the beaches on the list, why not browse HomeAway Holiday Rentals for a selection of comfortable properties to suit any budget.


Top five Australian beaches


Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Island Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Island

The word divine can’t be applied to many beaches, but the remote, uninhabited Whitehaven Beach is one of them. A narrow band of swirling silica sand, backed by rainforest, gives onto vivid turquoise blue waters, perfect for swimming and spotting schools of tropical fish. Yacht, ferry and boat tours regularly depart from the mainland at Airlie Beach, giving you an opportunity to explore this breath-taking 7km of coastline, scalloped along the edges with numerous lagoons, inlets and coves. Head for the northern end of the beach, where the lookout across Hill Inlet is unforgettable; as the tides shift, the sand and water coalesce to create a mesmeric mosaic of colours. 

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Ninety Mile Beach, Gippsland, Victoria Ninety Mile Beach, Gippsland, Victoria

Ninety Mile Beach is truly one of a kind. It’s difficult to argue with 90 miles of continuous golden sand, devoid of rocks and headlands, that look out on waters teeming with marine life; there are whales, dolphins and even - gulp - sharks, as well as turtles and rays. The beach separates the Gippsland Lakes from Bass Strait, and you can explore a series of lakes and lagoons beyond the sand dunes behind the beach itself. One thing’s for sure, you won’t struggle to find a patch of sand to lay down your beach towel. 

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Noosa Main Beach, Sunshine Coast, Queensland Noosa Main Beach, Sunshine Coast, Queensland

It doesn’t come much better than the impeccably maintained Noosa Main Beach. The water is crystal clear, the sand soft as talcum, and if you’re lucky you might even glimpse pods of dolphins in the near distance, or perhaps a migrating whale or two. The waves are also suitably strong, making this a perfect beach to boogie board, though there are better spots for dedicated surfers elsewhere in the state. It’s another bonus that the adjacent car-park is free - you’ll appreciate this if you’ve ever shelled out to leave the motor near Bondi, for example. If you’re peckish, there are plenty of cafes and bars nearby offering splendid views over the water.

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Bondi Beach, Sydney Bondi Beach, Sydney

Bondi Beach is definitely Marmite; you'll either love the boisterous crowds, the buzz, and the wide-open sky - or you'll hate the boisterous crowds, the noise, and the music. Love it or hate it, though, this beach definitely inspires a reaction. Absurdly overpopulated, its surf is nonetheless clean and smooth, its waters excellent for swimming and boarding; just be careful of the swells if you’re an inexperienced swimmer. Bondi is also perfect for people-watching; tourists from all over the world flock here, and the beach’s proximity to Sydney means you can switch from beach mode to city mode in a matter of minutes. Cafes, bars and eateries, meanwhile, spread out in every direction. Give it a go.

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Cottesloe, Perth, WA Cottesloe, Perth, WA

Cottesloe is often overlooked as one of Oz’s great beaches. Sure its dimensions are modest, but it is the quaint, seaside feel that makes Cottesloe such a fantastic spot. Pretty as a picture, the beach has fine white sand, smooth blue water perfect for swimming and snorkelling, and an abundance of cafes, fish and chip shops, and bars in the vicinity. Located just 15 minutes’ drive from Perth, the beach is neither isolated nor overcrowded and the grassy slopes overlooking the sand offer excellent spots for a picnic, with trees imparting necessary shade. If you visit in March, the Sculpture by the Sea art exhibition is not to be missed - the foreshore is transformed into a dazzling outdoor gallery.

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Australia Holiday Rentals

BRONTE Tipper Avenue 4 Bdrm house

The Property: The Location: Soak up Bronte's renowned lifestyle with a leisurely 10-minute stroll to the Beach and take your pick of vibrant local cafes. Be sure to do the spectacular Bronte to Bondi coastal walk and enjoy eas...

Eco Luxury Boat Access Only Retreat On Sydney's Exclusive Berowra Waters

Only 45 minutes north of the Sydney CBD, the azure water, pristine eucalypt bush and 200 million year old Hawkesbury sandstone cliffs of Berowra Waters will seduce you. Surrounded by 360 degrees of national park, our luxury escape offers guests th...

Large 5 bedroom House A Few Minutes Walk From Bondi Beach

Huge, stylish, fully furnished, completely self contained, two level, five bedroom house that sleeps up to 11 people is just perfect for your next holiday rental! Just a very short stroll to Campbell Parade, then it's across the road to the beac...

Spacious, Airy Beach House In Secluded And Private Locked Estate

Our spacious, light filled vacation home with pool and tropical gardens, is located in prestigious Noosa, nestled in an immaculately kept, private estate. Noosa is in Queensland, Australia, on the stunning Sunshine Coast. Unlike many homes in busy...

White Beach, Tasmania

Travel to Tasmania, home of the Tasmanian Devil, and a wonderful escape from all of the other Loony Tunes in your life. An elevated beach shack overlooking the beautiful, family friendly, dog friendly White Beach which is only 50 footsteps away! ...
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