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
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    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
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    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.

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  • Gold Coast
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    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
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    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
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    #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.

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  • Byron Bay
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    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.

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