Australia’s favourite beaches

A beach beloved of bushwalkers, foodies and even cruise passengers has topped the YourLifeChoices readers’ poll of favourite beaches around Australia. So, which one is it? It’s Wineglass Bay, 200km north of Hobart, and a long way from the epicentre of Aussie beach culture.

The bay is a beautiful bowl shape, with its curve accentuated by the slender edging of sand down its western shore. From various lookout points around Freycinet Peninsula, it’s spectacular.

Being in a national park, Wineglass Bay is also secluded and unspoiled. Many visitors arrive via walking trails, either as day-trippers or on supported multi-day hikes. Others visit on gourmet cruises and large cruise ships that detour into the bay. From Coles Bay village, it’s 5km to the carpark, then a 3km walk to Wineglass Bay.

lady sitting on a rock at wineglass bay tasmania

The second-favourite beach among the members is a one with a foot in both camps: isolated enough to take you away from it all but with a booming resort town nearby. That’s Broome’s Cable Beach, a 22km strip of sand in WA’s north-west. It’s a perfect spot to watch the sunset, but you’ll likely be sharing the experience with tourists on Broome’s iconic camel rides.

camels walking across cable beach broome at sunset

The next two favourites are Queensland icons, Noosa and Burleigh Heads, and both epitomise modern beach culture, mixing surfing and sunbathing with cafes, boutiques and nearby resort accommodation.

Rounding out the top five is Whitehaven, a 7km beach claiming to have the world’s whitest sand. On an uninhabited island in Queensland’s Whitsundays, it’s accessible only by boat from nearby resorts, sea plane or Airlie Beach/Shute Harbour. To keep Whitehaven pristine, dogs and even cigarette smoking are prohibited.

whitehaven beach queensland

But the top 10 also includes several secret beaches, the smaller spots where members, perhaps reluctantly, reveal their local piece of paradise.

One is Mandalay, in the south-west corner of WA, and only a small sign points down a dirt road off the South Western Hwy west of Walpole. It’s flanked by dunes and rocky outcrops, and there’s a fine view to Chatham Island.

mandalay beach near walpole western australia

And Hyams Beach, on Jervis Bay in southern NSW, makes its own claim for the world’s whitest sand. Apart from a store with a cafe, the village is made up of respectable weekender cottages and holiday units, so you’re sure to find a spot to yourself.

Finally here are two of our own secret beaches that didn’t appear in the survey. Tiny Bushrangers Bay is a 2.6km walk through trees from Cape Schanck, south of Melbourne. It’s beachcombing heaven but alas too rough for swimming.

bushrangers bay cape schanck victoria

And on South Australia’s Kangaroo Island, on the sparse north coast, is Stokes Bay, with a giant rock pool and other spectacular rock formations.

Related articles:
Best beach campsites
World’s best beach announced

Jeremy Bourke’s favourite travel modes are walking, driving, local buses, trains, flying and cruising – in that order. He’s been a travel writer for 18 years, and his only unvisited continent is South America.

Written by jeremybo


Best beach camp sites

Where are the best beach campsites in Australia?

World’s best beach announced

TripAdvisor has announced its annual list of the top 25 beaches in the world.