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

When purchasing from our site, we may earn commissions. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.


The 12 Best Niagara Falls Tours

Explore one of North America's most impressive natural sights and the surrounding region on a tour.

July 19, 2019

The Cheapest Ways to Travel: 15 Tips to Save Money on Your Next Vacation

These cheap travel tips can help you save big on your next getaway.

July 18, 2019

The 9 Best San Francisco Wine Tours

Taste some of America's finest wines on one of these daytrips.

July 18, 2019

The 6 Best Sedona Jeep Tours

Take a rollicking ride through Sedona's natural beauty in a rugged SUV.

July 16, 2019

The 12 Top Florida Keys Beaches

Relax on the sandy shorelines from Key West to Key Largo.

July 15, 2019

The 15 Best New Orleans Walking Tours

Take on the Big Easy with a stroll through its streets.

July 15, 2019

The 8 Best Charleston Ghost Tours

Experience the Holy City's history and haunts on one of these excursions.

July 12, 2019

The 5 Best Oahu Helicopter Tours

Tour this picturesque island from the air on one of these excursions.

July 11, 2019

The 15 Best Los Angeles Tours

Maximize your time in Los Angeles with the insider tips and historical context provided by the best local tours.

July 3, 2019

The 15 Best Las Vegas Tours

See a different side of Sin City – its attractions go beyond gambling.

July 2, 2019