Australia’s sun-kissed coastline stretches for nearly 37,000 kilometres and includes 11,761 named beaches – more than any other nation in the world. Sure, it’s a land of quaint country towns, the rugged Outback and bustling cosmopolitan cities, but its beach lifestyle is what truly sets it apart on the world stage. After all, according to tourism figures, beaches are the number one reason why tourists visit the country and the number one reason why Australians travel domestically. But which of its endless number of beaches are best? From tranquil coves in the Whitsundays to the rugged shores of remote Western Australia, we hand-picked the country’s 8 finest stretches of sand.
Burleigh Heads, QLD
Queensland Gold Coast is a renowned beach holiday destination, so it’s no surprise it has an extensive list of paradise-esque beaches. While the increasing crowds on some stretches of its coastline might take away from some of its natural charm, Burleigh Heads remains untouched by the effects of tourism. A secluded oasis from the pulsating streets of nearby Surfers Paradise, a sunrise spent watching the local surfers hit the waves is a must.
Hyams Beach, NSW
With a listing in the Guinness Book of Records for the whitest sand in the world, Hyams Beach is located on the sheltered shores of Jervis Bay, the second most popular dive spot in Australia following the Great Barrier Reef. Enveloped by national and marine parks, this two-kilometre beach is a favourite among snorkelers and Instagrammers alike – and with the bushland of Boderro National Park surrounding it – expect to share the sands with a few kangaroos.
Wineglass Bay, TAS
This moon-shaped crescent of pure white sand within Freycinet National Park is bordered by the Hazards – a spectacular mountain range consisting of five spectacular granite peaks. Interestingly, Tasmania’s most iconic natural site is indeed shaped like a wineglass. Getting to this unique spot can only be done by boat or foot: the steep hike through The Hazards can take up to three hours – keep your eyes peeled for the elusive Tasmanian devil.
Cable Beach, WA
Famous for hosting one of the best sunsets in the world, Cable Beach boasts 22 kilometres of blindingly white silica sand and is surrounded by the tropical turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean. Watching the strings of camels hobble along the water’s edge while dusk lights ups the skies with pastels of orange, pink and red is brochure cliché – but absolutely irresistible.
Glenelg Beach, SA
Adelaide’s most popular beachside destination, Glenelg’s vibrant mix of lazy beach life and bustling streets full of hipster cafes, bars and restaurants rivals the appeal of Bondi. A stroll down the jetty is a just, as is catching a jaw-dropping sunset.
Whitehaven Beach, NSW
Stretching seven kilometres along the uninhabited Whitsunday Island – the largest of the islands that make up the Whitsunday archipelago – Whitehaven is Australia’s most photographed beach. At its northern end is Hill Inlet, a gorgeous cove where the tide shifts the sand and water to form a phenomenon of swirling whites, emeralds and aquamarines. The sand is in fact 99% quartz, making it ultra-white, ultra-fine and unable to retain heat, meaning you can walk on it on even the most sizzling of summer days.
Turquoise Bay, WA
Located just metres off Ningaloo Reef – which rivals the beauty and colours of its sister reef on the East Coast – this bay is one of the best snorkelling spots in the entire country. Wade just a few steps into the water and you will be surrounded by an array of marine life going about their day… loggerhead turtles and 500 different species of fish included! Thanks to its remote location in Cape Range National Park, its the perfect place if you’re after uninterrupted paradise.
By Natarsha Brown
Main image courtesy of Tourism Australia © Maxime Coquard