Best Beaches in Australia

Australia's beaches run the gamut from world-famous surf spots to secluded coves, drawing families, couples, adventurers and solo travelers alike. U.S. News considered factors like beauty, cleanliness, facilities, nearby attractions, restaurants, expert insight and more to create this ranking of the Best Beaches in Australia. Enjoy the list of vacations below and don't forget to vote to help us determine next year's ranking.


Best Beaches in Australia

  • Whitsunday Islands
    Belongs on List?

    Whitsunday Islands

    #1 in Best Beaches in Australia

    Hamilton Island is the premier vacation destination for those wanting to explore the Whitsunday Islands and the nearby Great Barrier Reef. The island itself is home to one of the Whitsundays’ most well-known beaches, Catseye Beach, and features plenty of outdoor activities such as hiking, boating and snorkeling. Keep in mind that most resorts and amenities are located on the northern peninsula of the island. 

  • Great Barrier Reef
    View 27 Photos
    Belongs on List?

    Great Barrier Reef

    #2 in Best Beaches in Australia

    While most visit the Great Barrier Reef for its snorkeling and scuba diving, travelers should pencil in some time to relax on its beaches, too. Located on Whitsunday Island, Whitehaven Beach is known for being Australia’s most photographed beach. This shoreline offers 4 miles of white sand and stunning turquoise water that is broken up by large sand bars, creating a one-of-a-kind beach experience.

    Read More
  • Gold Coast
    Belongs on List?

    Gold Coast

    #3 in Best Beaches in Australia

    Set on Australia's east coast, the Gold Coast is one of the country's most popular beach destinations. Surfers and families will enjoy Burleigh Heads Beach for its impressive surf break while Palm Beach is renowned for its clean, picturesque shoreline that's rarely crowded. Finally, Surfers Paradise is the quintessential Gold Coast beach, thanks to its central location near resorts and restaurants and excellent swimming conditions.

  • Cable Beach
    Belongs on List?

    Cable Beach

    #4 in Best Beaches in Australia

    Located in northwestern Australia, Cable Beach is definitely a trek from Sydney, but travelers say it's worth the trip. The beach stretches 13 miles down the coast of the Indian Ocean, offering plenty of space to unwind and enjoy the scenery. While here, schedule your trip around sunrise and sunset to enjoy one of the beach’s most unique activities: a camel ride.

  • Sydney
    View 40 Photos
    Belongs on List?


    #5 in Best Beaches in Australia

    Known for its laid-back vibes and excellent surf conditions, Sydney caters to all types of beach lovers. Expert and novice surfers can hit Bondi Beach or Manly Beach to test out the waves. Travelers looking to soak up the sun and relax should head to Coogee Beach, which also features many excellent snorkeling spots and nearby eateries.

    Read More
  • Byron Bay
    Belongs on List?

    Byron Bay

    #6 in Best Beaches in Australia

    Byron Bay, located about 100 miles south of Brisbane, is lauded for its stunning beaches and relaxed, hippie culture. While here, be sure to hit up shorelines such as Byron Beach and Wategos Beach as well as Arakwal National Park, which offers trails through the lush landscape and access to the incredible Tallow Beach.

Vote to Add these Destinations to the Rankings

You May Be Interested In

If you make a purchase from our site, we may earn a commission. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.


The 50 Most Beautiful Places in the World

Let these gorgeous destinations inspire you to travel more.

January 16, 2020

50 Amazing Honeymoon Ideas

From relaxing weekend getaways to epic adventures, these honeymoon trips will help couples create memories to last a lifetime.

January 8, 2020

The Cheapest Days to Fly: A Guide to the Best (and Worst) Times to Travel

Use these tips and tricks to get the best deal on your next flight.

December 23, 2019

30 Top Florida Weekend Getaways

Spend sun-filled days exploring Florida's beautiful beaches, cities, parks and small towns.

December 9, 2019

The Best Travel Backpacks for 2020

U.S. News rated the best travel backpacks using recommendations from experts and consumers.

November 25, 2019

30 Top Wellness Retreats

Rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit at one of these relaxation-focused properties.

November 21, 2019

30 Fun All-Inclusive Family Vacations

Book one of these all-inclusive trips that cover food, accommodations and activities galore.

November 14, 2019

5 Ways Cruise Lines Are Becoming More Environmentally Friendly

Industry considers impact as it looks to the future.

November 12, 2019

11 Unique and Quirky Cruise Destinations

Venture off the beaten path for an authentic cruising experience.

November 12, 2019

The 2020 Best Cruise Lines for Families

Gather up the gang and head out to sea with one of these six kid-friendly cruise lines.

November 12, 2019