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Australia is renowned for its beaches. It’s home to some of the most beautiful clear waters, softest white sands, and longest stretches of untouched beaches. With over 11,000 beaches along nearly 37,000 kms of Australian coastline, the bigger question remains: What is Australia’s Best Beach?

I would be lying if I said I’ve been to them all and have all the answers for you. The truth is, I have barely even scratched the surface, as so many of Australia’s beautiful beaches are tucked away in small towns miles away from the hustle and bustle of  the big cities. And for many, Australians beaches carry a certain emotional connection as well.

“I love Mooloolaba Beach in the Sunshine Coast”, says my Aussie friend Rebekah. “When I was growing up, my family would spend a few weeks up there over the summer holidays. It reminds me of childhood. So of course, to me, this is the best beach in Australia, no matter what anyone else says”

No matter what, opinions will stay divided, but I think many would agree with the following list.

Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Island, QLD

Whitehaven Beach needs no introduction. This world renowned beach in the Whitsundays has topped the charts of not only Australia’s best beaches, but also best beaches in the entire world. Known for incredibly white cool silica sand, stunning views, and crystal clear waters, it’s a beach definitely worth visiting on your trip to Australia.

White silica sand on Whitehaven Beach. Sailing in Whitsundays. Australia

White silica sand on Whitehaven Beach

Related Post: Sailing in the Whitsundays

Main Beach, Noosa, QLD

You can’t question the appeal of Noosa’s Main Beach. It’s got everything you would expect from a perfect beach. A long stretch of clean nice sand for all your sunbathing needs, pristine turquoise waters that are safe for swimmers of all skill levels, beautiful surroundings of the Noosa National Park, along with plenty of accommodation, restaurants, and shopping options nearby. It’s no wonder that Noosa is one of the most popular places among locals and travelers in all of Queensland.

Noosa Main Beach, Noosa National Park

Noosa Main Beach, Noosa National Park

Related Post: Exploring Noosa National Park

Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast, QLD

Burleigh Heads Beach is renowned for its amazing surf breaks. But even for the casual beach bums, Burleigh presents a great deal of appeal. Unlike many other beaches on the Gold Coast, Burleigh has remained rather free on tourists and crowds, making it one of the favourite weekend beach spots for the locals. It’s well patrolled and great for swimming with fantastic stretches of sand that you wouldn’t expect to find in the middle of the city.

Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast, Australia

Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast, Australia. Photo credit: Flickr CC Herry Lawford

Coolangatta, Gold Coast, QLD

It’s not surprising that not just one, but two beaches on the Gold Coast made my list of the best beaches in Australia. After all, this is my backyard, it’s where I frequently spend my weekends. (Yes, I live within an hour and a half’s drive of 3 of Australia’s best beaches, it’s just one of many reasons why I love living in Queensland. Try not to be too jealous!)

The entire Gold Coast shoreline is filled with beautiful beaches, but none of them compare to the picturesque scenery and perfect surf conditions of Coolangatta. The Surfers Paradise skyline in the distance makes the views at Coolangatta really special. And those sunsets, oh my!  And you know the beach is stellar when world famous surfers come to Coolangatta every year for the annual Quiksilver Pro ASP World Surfing Tour event. You know guys like Kelly Slater, Mick Fanning, and Taj Burrow? Yeah this is their playground. If this beach is good for them, it surely is for the rest of us!

Snapper Rocks Bay, Coolangatta, Gold Coast, Queensland

Snapper Rocks Bay, Coolangatta, Gold Coast, Queensland

Byron Bay, NSW

Now I definitely have a soft spot for Byron Bay. Not only do I absolutely love this beach town for its great food, unique shopping, laid back atmosphere, and a great crowd, but Byron Bay Main Beach will always hold a special place in my heart. After all, it was here that a few months ago Max got down on one knee and popped the question!

 Related Post: I’m Engaged:  The Sunset and the Ring in Byron Bay

But even without this incredibly personal connection, Byron Bay Main Beach never disappoints. With the views of mountains in the distance, this long stretch of sandy beach is a great place for a day in the sun, an afternoon stroll, or a romantic evening. When the sun goes down, the backpackers, out of town families, and locals can often be found mingling together, gathered around a few buskers with guitars, right there on the beach. There is a certain sense of community here, and it’s that feeling that draws many to come back to Byron Bay over and over again.

Sunset in Byron Bay. With sights like these, how could you not fall in love with Australia

Sunset on Byron Bay’s Main Beach

Bondi Beach, Sydney, NSW

It’s not the natural beauty of Bondi Beach that landed it a spot on my list. It’s not the great waves, beautiful surroundings, or the crystal clear waters. It’s the fact that Bondi Beach is truly Australia’s most famous beach and an icon of Australian beach culture. In 2008 it was added to the Australian National Heritage List, and rightfully so. It was here that the world’s first Surf Life Saving club opened its doors over 100 years ago, it was also here, in early 1900’s that a series of bathing suit protests paved the way to the “bikini”. In more recent years, Bondi Beach has hosted a beach volleyball competition at 2006 Summer Olympics, has been the location for film festivals, environmental celebrations, and art exhibits. Bondi has also been a popular setting for many Australian TV Shows, including the Block, the Bondi Vet, and Bondi Rescue.

With a rating of 7 (10 being the most hazardous), the South end of the beach is reserved for surfers, while the North End gentle rating of 4 attracts many visitors throughout the year.  Surrounding the beach are plenty of cafes, making it a great spot for people watching all day long.

Best Beaches in Australia: Bondi Beach, Sydney.

Bondi Beach, Sydney. Photo credit: Flickr CC russellstreet

Manly Beach, Sydney

Manly Beach is where the locals from Sydney escape to.  It’s not as crowded and touristy as Bondi, making it an attractive option to get away to for a day. Manly is laid back, clean and safe, and is a particularly good option for those looking for a good place to go out on their first surf. There are plenty of activities on and around the beach, ranging from scenic coastal walks to kayaking and snorkelling.

Best Beaches in Australia: Manly Beach, Northern Sydney, NSW

Manly Beach, Northern Sydney, NSW. Photo credit: http://www.manlyaustralia.com.au/

Hyams Beach, Jervis Bay, NSW

Tucked away on the shores of Jervis Bay, Hyams Bay is a beautiful beach and a popular holiday spot on the South Coast.  The beach is surrounded by beautiful natural attractions and is popular for diving, windsurfing, snorkeling, and kayaking. But it’s the pristine white sands that landed Hyams’ Beach a mention in the Guinness World of Records, along with the crystal clear aquamarine waters, that draw many to this unspoilt piece of paradise.

Best Beaches in Australia: Hyams Beach, Jervis Bay, NSW

Hyams Beach, Jervis Bay, NSW. Photo credit: Flickr CC Julia Koefende

Cable Beach, Broome, WA

Cable Beach is an iconic perfectly flat 22.5 km long stretch of beach near Broome in Western Australia. It’s an ideal spot for walking, running, playing, swimming, sun ray catching, and of course, camel riding. If riding a camel isn’t your thing you can explore the beach on foot or hire a 4WD to push further.

I don’t know if its the magnificent sunsets that are common to Cable Beach, the camel beach rides, or the fact that it’s so remote and hard to get to, but something about this beach makes me want to hop on the plane and head there NOW! Ok… maybe not now, but definitely next year!

Best Beaches in Australia. Cable Beach, Broome, WA

Cable Beach, Broome, WA. Photo credit: Flickr CC Josh Janssen

Turquoise Bay, Exmouth, WA

Voted as the runner up on TripAdvisor’s 2014 Readers Choice Award for the Best Beaches in the South Pacific, Turquoise Bay is one of the best examples of Australia’s pristine clear waters and beautiful white sands. The beach is known for fantastic coral and great snorkeling, particularly its famous drift snorkel. It’s another hidden gem on the Western Coast that’s worth the trek across the country.

Best Beaches in Australia: Turquoise Bay, Exmouth, WA

Turquoise Bay, Exmouth, WA. Photo credit: Flickr CC Robert Young

Ned’s Beach, Lord Howe Island

Last, but certainly not least, is Ned’s Beach on Lord Howe Island. Most travelers have never even heard of Lord Howe Island and I’ll admit, it was only a few months ago that I discovered it myself. Located about 600km east of Port Macquarie, Lord Howe Island is a true Australian paradise.

It’s listed as a World Heritage Site and is so secluded and exclusive that only 400 people are allowed on the island at once. Ned’s Beach is the highlight of the island with its pristine crystal clear waters and a deserted strand of perfectly golden sand. If that’s not enough, Ned’s Beach is also home to an amazing diversity of coral, fish, and marine life, making it a great destination for divers!

Ned's Beach, Lord Howe Island

Ned’s Beach, Lord Howe Island

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10 of the most incredible beaches in Australia, plus 1 you have probably never heard of before that should definitely be on your travel list!

Now it’s your turn! Tell me, did I miss any Australian gems?
What’s your favourite beach in Australia?