Tourists travel to Australia to swim between the iconic red and yellow flags at Bondi Beach, but there are many other sandy shores to explore and Instagram. We don’t like to play favourites but if we had to choose 10, these would be it.
1. Whitehaven Beach, Whitsundays, Queensland
Affectionately known as “The Beach”, Whitehaven Beach tops the list of eco-friendly beaches and also happens to be Queensland’s cleanest beach. Its turquoise waters and greenery may captivate your attention but its signature white sand makes Whitehaven Beach the main attraction.
- Claim to fame: Its powder-like white sand is made up of 98% pure silica, giving it a dazzling brilliance.
- What to do: Explore the shallow waters to spot turtles, schools of colourful marine life and dolphins. A scenic aeroplane flight might set you back $299 per person but if it’s out of the budget, Tongue Point on Whitsunday Island offers post-card like views, especially during low tide.
- If you want to be one with nature, you can camp on the beach or book a campsite on the southern end of Whitehaven Beach. If you prefer the luxuries of a bed and resort amenities, it might be best to stay on Hamilton Island and take a day trip to Whitehaven Beach.
- Best time to visit: October to December is the most popular time to visit but locals will recommend a visit during April – June. The temperature is warm (average of 24C.) and predictable with blue skies and less showers than other months of the year.
- How to get there: Many companies from Hamilton Island offer day trips to Whitehaven Beach. A high speed catamaran from Hamilton Island is the most convenient way to get there and it’s a 30 minute trip. Catamaran-Camira leaves from Port Airlie at 8.00am and returns at 5.54pm, costing $195, which covers snorkel gear, beach activities, morning tea and afternoon tea.
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2. Obelisk Beach, Mosman, New South Wales
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to swim at a nudist beach where your birthday suit is mandatory and the tan lines are non-existent? At Obelisk Beach you can strip off and slap on the sunscreen (recommended) and watch sailors, seagulls and Sydney ferries plod along. Including fellow nudists in your Instagram pictures may not get you the most “shareable” photo so you want so it might be best to shoot your bathing suit on the sand and etch in the sand.
- Claim to Fame: A beach where it’s legal to be nude.
- What to Do: Sunbathe without the tan lines (but don’t forget the sunscreen).
- Best Time to Visit: October-March
- How to Get There: It’s a short drive from the city but during the summer months, parking can be tricky. Avoid the hassle of driving through Sydney traffic and opt for public transport. Take Bus 244 from Wynyard station and it’s a 25 minute bus ride.
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3. Hyams Beach, Jervis Bay, New South Wales
According to the Guinness Book of Records, Hyams Beach in Jervis Bay is home to the whitest sand in the world. If you are travelling with a family in tow, they will love kayaking, wind surfing, snorkeling and stand up paddle boarding.
- Claim to fame: Dolphins leaping in and out of the water, putting on a show for sun bathers. We also love it for its tranquil waters – friendly for swimmers of all levels.
- What to do: Book a trip on one of the dolphin and whale watching tours and witness incredible sea mammals dive and jump metres away. For guaranteed Instagram comments, film the moment a pod jump in unison. Pods of dolphins call Jervis Bay home so if you don’t spot any dolphins on your tour then you’re really out of luck. Tours are available from Huskisson. Visit Dolphin Watch Cruises for more info.
- Best time to visit: The best time to visit is during the summer months but we found February-March to be the best time for dolphin spotting
- How to get there: Go for a road trip. Jervis Bay is about a 3 hour drive from Sydney.
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4. Lucky Bay, Western Australia
Australians are constantly dispelling myths about having kangaroos at our back door, but at Lucky Bay in WA, you’ll find them bouncing along or sunbaking on the shore. This bay stretches 5km, offering visitors the opportunity to escape and enjoy a patch of the beach all to themselves. If you don’t want to be packed like sardines on Bondi Beach, you won’t regret visiting Lucky Bay.
- Claim to fame: Back in 1802, explorer, Matthew Flinders sailed through the Recherche Archipelago and took refuge in Lucky Bay during a summer storm, hence the name.
- What to do: Go ‘glamping’ at Cape Le Grand National Park (Cape Le Grand Rd, Cape Le Grand WA 6450). The camp site is equipped with kitchens, gas barbeques, picnic tables, toilets and solar hot water showers. Go
- Best time to visit: To make the most of the beach, visit during the warmer months which are from October to April.
- How to get there: Take your 4WD or car and head south 45 minutes from the sea side town of Esperance which is 8 hours south east of Perth.
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5. Wine Glass Bay, Freycinet National Park, Tasmania
Situated in the Freycinet National Park, Wine Glass Bay attracts Australians, tourists and honeymooners who occupy the pristine beach to soak up the deep blue waters. Picture long strips of white sand against the lush green cliffs. This is the beach for the ultimate hideaway. Quite off the beaten track, you will need to walk two hours from the Coles camping ground to get there. Opt for a panorama shot to capture the picturesque view.
- Claim to fame: Wine Glass Bay is ranked #7 on CNN’s top Australian beaches.
- What to do: If you are after a romantic getaway, Wine Glass Bay may be a more affordable retreat. Stay at the Edge of the Bay Resort and admire Freycinet’s renowned granite mountains from your balcony. For the more adventurous couple or if you’re traveling with your family, take a hike and explore the lush green forests against the fiercely blue ocean. To fully appreciate the pink granite rock and topography of the bay, take the view from the top and enjoy a 30 minute Scenic Flight.
- Best time to visit: If you want to swim in the clear blue waters, opt for summer as the water can be very cool during the other months.
- How to get there: You can reach Tasmania by plane. To get to Freycinet National Park, the drive is two and a half hours from Hobart.
Share your snaps: #wineglassbay #discovertasmania #beachlove
6. Wategos Beach, Byron Bay, NSW
If you’re travelling along the East Coast of Australia, it’s recommended you travel as far east as geographically possible. Only then will you discover Byron Bay. This nook of the coast is a surfer’s paradise, with the laid back lifestyle to match. For a view to envy, climb the testing stairs to the infamous lighthouse.
- Claim to fame: Many celebrities flock to Byron Bay, including models, surfers and musicians such as Elle McPherson, Angus Stone and Jack Johnson.
- What to do: Take the 3 hour kayak tour to experience the majestic Cape Byron light house and possibly sight whales migrating north from May to November.
- Best time to visit: Byron Bay offers year-round entertainment, whether it be surfing competitions, film festivals like the Surf Shorts Film Competition, local farmers markets and the Blues Festival, there’s always something to see or do. Expect summers to be hot and rainy and winters to be dry and cool.
- How to get there: Book a flight to Ballina Airport or travel to Byron Bay from the Gold Coast Airport which is 60 minutes north. Alternatively, if you’re in need of a good road trip, the Pacific Highway offers drivers the chance to stop at other beautiful beaches along the way.
Share your snaps: #selfie #byronbay #hangten
7. Murray Mouth, Coorong, South Australia
If you are a naturist then this stretch of sand is your beat. The Murray Mouth is an environmentalist’s “paradise”. This is where river meets ocean with coastal dunes separating the two, stretching 100km.
- Claim to fame: It’s where Australia’s longest river meets the Southern Ocean in South Australia. The Murray Mouth is also of ‘international significance’ to Birdlife International due to the conservation of birds and other biodiversity. You can expect to see the Australian pelican, as well as over 230 migratory birds that travel every year from China, Japan, Siberia and Alaska.
- What to do: Pitch a tent and enjoy the serenity by day and night. This unique ecosystem also boasts a handsome crowd of bird life. If you’re not keen to take a pair of binoculars, then pack your skis. You can also hot foot it to the other side of the dunes and collect Pipi shells for some tucker.
- Best time to visit: Take advantage of the hot summer nights and plan an overnight camping trip in the summer months.
- How to get there: The Murray Mouth is 100km south of Adelaide. Be guided with the Murray Mouth Cruise which leaves from Goolwa.
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8. Yallingup Beach, Yallingup, Western Australia
Western Australia boasts many of Australia’s best beaches but we’ve got our eyes on a little one close to the Margaret River region that really seems to have it all -from wine to waves! You can travel from the beautiful beach to the famous Margaret River wineries within minutes (this order of excursion is recommended).
- Claim to Fame: The name Yallingup is an Aboriginal word meaning “place of love”. Yallingup is also considered to have some of the best surfs in Australia and is also the hometown of pro surfer, Taj Burrows.
- What to Do: Yallingup Beach caters to all kinds of beach goers, surfers, swimmers, snorkelers and sun bakers. With a lagoon sheltered by reefs, the sea life is abundant and could occupy your snorkels for hours. For surfers, a world famous surf break awaits.
- Best Time to Visit: This region experiences mild Mediterranean weather making it an ideal holiday vacation year round. If surfing is up your alley, the winter months boast big swell.
- How to Get There: Travel 40 minutes north of the Margaret River. You can take the scenic route along Caves Road or the Bussell Highway.
Share your snaps: #hangten #gonesurfing
9. Lake McKenzie, Fraser Island, Queensland
Lake McKenzie sits 100m above the sea level offering visitors white sand, clear water and pure bliss without the thought of sharing the water with any sharks. Explore the clear water and dig your feet in the sand at the water’s edge and snap away.
- Claim to fame: Fraser Island is the world’s largest sand island with many perched lakes offering fresh water to swim in.
- What to do: Fraser Island is the perfect stomping ground for a 4WD to cruise up and down the coast. Driving solo is not recommended as you may get bogged and require a few strong arms to push your way out. For keen fishermen, Fraser Island also offers an abundant array of fish such as Whiting, Mackerel, Trevally, Tailor and Flathead.
- Best time to visit: Fraser Island is sub-tropical and the temperatures reflect the ocean that surrounds it. For travellers wishing to swim, opt for the spring and autumn months. The wettest months are around January to March. For fishermen, July-November is a good time to catch certain fish species like Tailor at dawn and dusk.
- How to get there: Fraser Island is 200km north of Brisbane. To reach the Island you will need to take the ferry from either Hervey Bay, River Heads or Rainbow Beach. These ferries run several times throughout the day. It is advised to travel in a 4WD due to the tough terrain. 4WDs are available for rent at Hervey Bay. Some 4WD rental companies also offer self-guided tour packages including maps, barge transfers, activities, nature conservation guides, access and camping permits.
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10. Fingal Bay Beach, Port Stephens, New South Wales
Lastly, who could ever forget the beach that played set to Australia’s tourism ad, shocked the world and got Lara Bingle on the list of Australia’s most wanted models? In case you were looking directly at Miss Bingle’s curves beaming smile, the white sandy beach behind her was, Fingal Bay Beach in northern NSW. If you live in Sydney, it’s the perfect weekend getaway.
- Claim to fame: The beach made its debut on Australia’s “controversial” tourism ad in 2007.
- What to do: Fingal Bay in Port Stephens is regarded as the dolphin capital of Australia. You may be able to spot them onshore but if you want to get a closer look, hire a kayak. This region also appeals to keen walkers and naturists with an abundant wildlife near the shore.
- Best time to visit: Port Stephens has moderate temperatures year round without much humidity or seasonal temperature extremes. The summer reaches the high 20s and winters don’t get much below 10 degrees.
- How to get there: If you are driving from Sydney, it’s a 3-hour hour drive via Pacific Motorway.
- Photography tip: Use the rule of thirds when composing your shot. It’s most aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Ensure the photo captures either 2/3rds land or 2/3rds water. For more Photography tips check out our blog on 10 Ways To Nail Travel Photography.
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Looking for a quick weekend getaway? Visit Scoopon for some last minute travel ideas.