With nearly 12,000 beaches along the Australian coastline and right on our back doors, or close to it, it’s no surprise that our beautiful Aussie beaches make headlines globally. Normally (pre covid) more than 8.6 million people visit our shores with beach visits on top of their list.
While we’re not currently welcoming international visitors, there’s no better time to soak up everything our glorious coastline – minus the crowds – has on offer. Sure, we’re all familiar with the usual (beautiful) suspects like Bondi, Byron Bay, Burleigh and the Gold Coast, but what about those hidden gems that don’t make the headlines?
I've done some swimming on the net and found the best beaches to chill and enjoy the salty sunshine. If you’re an avid surfer, always check the forecast to find out where the surf is pumping, but for all you non-surfers, read on for my definitive guide to Australia’s best (lesser known) beaches.
Bay of Fires, TAS
So much more than just a beach, Tasmania’s Bay of Fires is widely regarded as one of Australia’s most jaw-dropping stretches of coastline. With a dramatic mix of aquamarine coves, stark white sand and vibrant orange boulders, it’s no surprise that this 29km sweep of seafront has long been on Lonely Planet’s radar of hottest travel destinations. Offering plenty more than just a seriously gram-worthy spot to soak up the salty air, there’s fishing, hiking and even a winery to keep you occupied in the surrounding area.
Ned’s Beach, NSW
Part of the Lord Howe Island World Heritage listed Marine Park, Ned’s Beach is an idyllic spot to wade into the calm, sparkling waters and mingle with some fishy friends. From the ability to handfeed all sorts of wild fish, snorkel amongst vibrant coral or simply lounge on the pristine shores, it’s little wonder it has been described as Australia’s very own Galapagos.
Blinky Beach, NSW
Another entry for Lord Howe Island, Blinky Beach not only features immaculate white sand and untouched wildlife, but is also a board rider’s dream. Strictly limited to 400 tourists on the island at any one time, this could be Australia’s best, least crowded surfing spot. Locals fondly refer to it as ‘Champagne Surf’ due to its sparkling breaks and spectacular landscape – and it’s easy to see why!
Vlassoff Cay, QLD
Move over Maldives, this little patch of paradise in Far North Queensland, set within the Great Barrier Reef, offers your very own streak of sand amongst the cobalt blue seas. Best visited in an elaborate manner to suit the dramatic scenery – by Helicopter – you can be dropped off for a couple of hours with a gourmet picnic in hand and left to explore the pure white sand and coral studded seas.
Refuge Cove, VIC
While it may be a bit of a journey to get to, this idyllic spot is very much worthy of the effort. Refuge Cove is a tiny inlet tucked away on the southwest coast of Wilson’s Promontory, primarily reached by a 17km (overnight) hiking adventure from the nearest road. Your hard work will be rewarded with sparkling waters, meandering wombats and a seriously enviable campsite. If you’re desperate to get there but can’t tackle the walk, Wildlife Cost Cruises offer a fully catered, luxury boat cruise to take in the sights.
Gunyah Beach, SA
Positioned at the southern tip of the Eyre Peninsula within the Coffin Bay National Park, these rolling dunes extend up to 19km inland, giving you a serious fix of silky white sand. Gunyah Beach is a wild spot that is best explored by four-wheel drive and best visited an hour or two prior to sunset. You’ll want to catch the dunes at their most picturesque – as the sun goes down, and as the roaming kangaroos and foxes come out to play. While taking a dip here is off the cards, (it’s Great White territory) you can pop to the nearby Golden Island Lagoon for a swim and snorkel.
Kitty Miller Bay, Philip Island, VIC
Scoring high on the scenery front, Kitty Miller Bay is a secluded cove framed by a rugged volcanic landscape with a shipwreck thrown in for good measure. The SS Speke stranded on the rocks back in 1906 and is accessible at low tide – making it a fun spot for both kids and grown-ups to explore.
South Broulee Beach, ACT
Doubling as a surfing hot spot and a family favourite, South Broulee Beach has something for everyone! The long sweeping beach is protected by Broulee Island and has a gently sloping gradient making it a safe spot for your little ones to paddle and play. The fishing, diving and snorkelling isn’t bad either, so pack the car and make the twenty-minute journey south of Batemans Bay.
Lilli Pilli Beach, ACT
This small, secluded gem is the perfect spot to escape the crowds and soak up the unspoilt south coast. With turquoise waters and tall spotted gums surrounding the curving beach, Lilli Pilli’s glassy waters make it a superb swimming spot for the whole family.
Squeaky Beach, VIC
Featuring sand so fine it literally squeaks beneath your feet, Wilsons Promontory’s most iconic beach has a lot more than just squeaking sand on offer. Take in the large orange granite boulders that form a maze at the northern end of the beach or take a dip in the pristine turquoise waters. Stroll south of the carpark and you’ll suddenly feel like you’ve got the beach to yourself.
Mullaloo Beach, WA
Just a twenty-minute drive from Perth’s city centre will have you transported to the refreshing waters of the Indian Ocean and a striking stretch of white sand. Paved paths extend the length of Mullaloo Beach, providing a leisurely cycling route, and the local fish and chip shop makes for the perfect beach dinner option.
Moonee Beach, Coffs Coast, NSW
Set in a nature reserve, Moonee Beach is a slice of paradise where endangered bats and rare plant species thrive. While the jaw-dropping scenery is enough to cement this on your ‘must visit’ list, Moonee is also a fantastic spot for fishing, diving, or snorkelling, hiking, canoeing, birdwatching, and seasonal whale watching.
In Australia, we really are spoilt for choice when it comes to the best beaches. While we may not be able to visit our favourite spots in Bali or Thailand this year, I'm sure you’ll find something just as magical along our sweeping coastline.
The following advice is of a general nature only and intended as a broad guide. The advice should not be regarded as legal, financial or real estate advice. You should make your own inquiries and obtain independent professional advice tailored to your specific circumstances before making any legal, financial or real estate decisions.