The 10 Best Beaches in AUSTRALIA: Reviewed and Ranked in 2024

Australia, encircled by magnificent oceans, is home to some of the world’s most breathtaking and varied coastlines. Each beach, with its distinctive allure and personality, ranges from Queensland’s shimmering sands to Western Australia’s dramatic shores. These coastal havens deliver tranquil vistas, thrilling aquatic adventures, and environments welcoming to families. This guide stands as your reliable source of uncovering the best coastal treasures, for what Australia is renowned for, its beaches. 

Here are my top 10 recommendations, of the best beach and their towns, across Australia.

10. Casuarina Beach, Casuarina – Total Score: 65/100

Casuarina Beach in Casuarina stands as a serene retreat, offering visitors a blend of natural beauty and modern convenience.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Cleanliness: 7/10
  • Safety: 6/10
  • Facilities: 7/10
  • Family Friendliness: 6/10
  • Accessibility: 8/10
  • Natural Beauty: 7/10
  • Local Amenities: 6/10
  • Water Quality: 7/10
  • Crowd Management: 5/10
  • Activities Available: 6/10

Casuarina Beach is cherished for its unspoiled coastline, crystal-clear waters, and the lush greenery that frames its shores. Visitors can enjoy the well-maintained walkways, perfect for a morning jog or a leisurely stroll at sunset. The beach is patrolled, ensuring safe swimming conditions for all ages. Local cafes and restaurants offer a taste of the region’s fresh produce, while the nearby Casuarina Shopping Village caters to all your holiday needs. Recent statistics show a steady increase in the cleanliness and water quality scores, reflecting the community’s commitment to preserving their slice of paradise.

Casuarina Beach and its township are ideal for those seeking a quiet escape with the convenience of modern amenities close at hand. Families will appreciate the safe swimming conditions and nearby playgrounds, while couples and singles can explore the local dining scene or engage in water-based activities.

9. Torquay Beach, Torquay – Total Score: 70/100

Torquay Beach in Torquay is an iconic surf destination, known for its vibrant community and active lifestyle options.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Cleanliness: 7/10
  • Safety: 8/10
  • Facilities: 7/10
  • Family Friendliness: 7/10
  • Accessibility: 8/10
  • Natural Beauty: 7/10
  • Local Amenities: 6/10
  • Water Quality: 7/10
  • Crowd Management: 6/10
  • Activities Available: 7/10

Famed for hosting prestigious surfing competitions, Torquay Beach not only boasts excellent wave conditions but also a welcoming atmosphere for beginners. The Surf Coast Walk offers breathtaking views and connects walkers to nearby beaches and landmarks. Environmental initiatives have played a significant role in maintaining the beach’s cleanliness and water quality, earning it high marks in recent evaluations. The town itself is a hub for surf culture, with numerous shops, cafes, and surf schools that embody the spirit of the Australian coast.

Torquay Beach is a haven for surf enthusiasts and those looking to immerse themselves in a vibrant coastal community. Its blend of natural beauty, sporting activities, and family-friendly facilities makes it suitable for a wide array of beachgoers.

8. Noosa Main Beach, Noosa – Total Score: 75/100

Noosa Main Beach in Noosa is a picturesque locale that embodies the Sunshine Coast’s laid-back elegance.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Cleanliness: 8/10
  • Safety: 8/10
  • Facilities: 7/10
  • Family Friendliness: 8/10
  • Accessibility: 8/10
  • Natural Beauty: 8/10
  • Local Amenities: 7/10
  • Water Quality: 8/10
  • Crowd Management: 6/10
  • Activities Available: 7/10

This beach is celebrated for its gentle waves, making it a favourite among families and surf beginners. The surrounding Noosa National Park provides a stunning backdrop and opportunities for wildlife spotting and scenic hikes. Efforts to enhance the beach’s facilities and maintain its pristine condition have been recognized, contributing to its high scores in cleanliness and safety. The Hastings Street precinct, just a stone’s throw from the beach, is renowned for its boutique shopping, gourmet dining, and luxury accommodation.

Noosa Main Beach is perfect for those who appreciate the finer things in life, offering a harmonious blend of natural beauty, sophistication, and a warm community vibe. It’s particularly suited to families and couples seeking a premium beach experience with all the trimmings.

7. Bondi Beach, Bondi – Total Score: 80/100

Bondi Beach in Bondi is a world-renowned destination, embodying the quintessential Australian beach culture.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Cleanliness: 8/10
  • Safety: 9/10
  • Facilities: 8/10
  • Family Friendliness: 7/10
  • Accessibility: 8/10
  • Natural Beauty: 8/10
  • Local Amenities: 8/10
  • Water Quality: 8/10
  • Crowd Management: 7/10
  • Activities Available: 9/10

Bondi Beach is not just a beach; it’s an experience. From the iconic Icebergs Swimming Club with its ocean pool to the bustling Bondi to Coogee coastal walk, the area is a magnet for both locals and tourists. The beach hosts a myriad of activities, including surfing lessons, volleyball tournaments, and public art events. Its commitment to safety and cleanliness, combined with a plethora of dining and entertainment options along Campbell Parade, has cemented Bondi’s status as a top destination.

Bondi Beach is ideal for those who thrive in a dynamic environment and enjoy a mix of relaxation and recreation. It caters to a broad audience, from families to adrenaline seekers, making it a must-visit for anyone exploring Australia’s beaches.

6. Cottesloe Beach, Cottesloe – Total Score: 84/100

Cottesloe Beach in Cottesloe is a stunning stretch of sand that captures the essence of Perth’s coastal lifestyle.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Cleanliness: 9/10
  • Safety: 9/10
  • Facilities: 8/10
  • Family Friendliness: 8/10
  • Accessibility: 9/10
  • Natural Beauty: 9/10
  • Local Amenities: 8/10
  • Water Quality: 9/10
  • Crowd Management: 7/10
  • Activities Available: 8/10

Known for its clear, turquoise waters and majestic sunsets over the Indian Ocean, Cottesloe Beach is a favourite among Perth locals and visitors alike. The beach’s terraced lawns provide a unique vantage point for picnics and sunset views. Recent upgrades to facilities and accessibility have enhanced the overall beach experience, ensuring it remains a top choice for families and beachgoers of all ages. The annual Sculpture by the Sea exhibition transforms the beach into an outdoor gallery, showcasing the community’s vibrant arts scene.

Cottesloe Beach is recommended for those seeking a blend of natural beauty, cultural experiences, and recreational activities. Its appeal spans generations and interests, making it a quintessential Australian beach destination.

5. Whitehaven Beach, Whitsundays – Total Score: 90/100

Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsundays is an idyllic paradise, renowned for its breathtaking beauty and pristine conditions.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Cleanliness: 10/10
  • Safety: 9/10
  • Facilities: 8/10
  • Family Friendliness: 9/10
  • Accessibility: 8/10
  • Natural Beauty: 10/10
  • Local Amenities: 8/10
  • Water Quality: 10/10
  • Crowd Management: 9/10
  • Activities Available: 9/10

With its 7 kilometres of silica sand and crystal-clear waters, Whitehaven Beach is often listed among the top beaches in the world. The beach’s remote location, accessible only by boat, helicopter, or seaplane, contributes to its unspoiled charm and exclusivity. Environmental protection efforts ensure the beach remains pristine, offering an unparalleled experience of nature’s beauty. Visitors can explore the nearby Great Barrier Reef, partake in guided walks, or simply revel in the tranquillity of this spectacular setting.

Whitehaven Beach is the epitome of a luxury escape, suited for those who seek solitude and unspoiled natural beauty. It’s an ideal destination for honeymooners, nature lovers, and anyone wishing to experience one of Australia’s most iconic beaches.

4. Byron Bay Beach, Byron Bay – Total Score: 91/100

Byron Bay Beach in Byron Bay epitomises the free-spirited, eclectic lifestyle for which the town is famed.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Cleanliness: 9/10
  • Safety: 9/10
  • Facilities: 9/10
  • Family Friendliness: 9/10
  • Accessibility: 9/10
  • Natural Beauty: 9/10
  • Local Amenities: 9/10
  • Water Quality: 9/10
  • Crowd Management: 9/10
  • Activities Available: 10/10

Byron Bay Beach is not just a destination; it’s a way of life. With its wide sandy beaches, reliable surf, and vibrant community, it’s a place where nature and culture converge. The beach offers something for everyone, from world-class surfing and whale watching to yoga retreats and music festivals. The commitment to environmental sustainability is evident in the town’s shops, cafes, and accommodation, all of which contribute to Byron’s unique charm.

Byron Bay Beach is perfect for those who embrace a holistic lifestyle and value community, sustainability, and natural beauty. It attracts a diverse crowd, from families and surfers to artists and activists, making it a dynamic and inclusive destination.

3. Manly Beach, Manly – Total Score: 94/100

Manly Beach and Sydney Harbour, image by Maksym Kozlenko

Manly Beach in Manly is a vibrant coastal suburb that offers a perfect blend of beach lifestyle and urban convenience.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Cleanliness: 9/10
  • Safety: 10/10
  • Facilities: 9/10
  • Family Friendliness: 10/10
  • Accessibility: 10/10
  • Natural Beauty: 9/10
  • Local Amenities: 9/10
  • Water Quality: 9/10
  • Crowd Management: 9/10
  • Activities Available: 10/10

Manly Beach is renowned for its friendly atmosphere, excellent surf conditions, and the iconic Manly Ferry, which offers a scenic route to Sydney’s CBD. The Corso, a bustling pedestrian street, links the harbour to the ocean side and is lined with shops, cafes, and eateries. Manly’s commitment to safety, with regular lifeguard patrols and designated swimming areas, makes it a family favourite. The beach also hosts a variety of events throughout the year, from surf competitions to cultural festivals, reflecting its lively community spirit.

Manly Beach is ideal for those who seek a balance between the excitement of the city and the relaxation of beach life. It appeals to a broad demographic, including families, young professionals, and international visitors, offering a comprehensive beach experience.

2. Bells Beach, Torquay – Total Score: 95/100

Bells Beach in Torquay is a legendary surf spot, famous for its powerful swells and the prestigious Rip Curl Pro surfing competition.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Cleanliness: 9/10
  • Safety: 10/10
  • Facilities: 9/10
  • Family Friendliness: 9/10
  • Accessibility: 9/10
  • Natural Beauty: 10/10
  • Local Amenities: 9/10
  • Water Quality: 10/10
  • Crowd Management: 10/10
  • Activities Available: 10/10

Bells Beach’s reputation as a premier surfing destination is well-deserved, with its challenging waves and rugged cliffs forming an awe-inspiring backdrop. The beach’s natural environment is meticulously preserved, offering visitors a truly authentic surf experience. Facilities are thoughtfully designed to blend with the landscape, ensuring minimal impact on the ecosystem. The local community is deeply connected to the surf culture, providing a warm welcome to newcomers and fostering a sense of camaraderie among surfers.

Bells Beach is a must-visit for surf enthusiasts and those who appreciate the raw beauty of nature. It offers a unique blend of adrenaline-pumping action and environmental conservation, making it a standout destination on Australia’s surf coast.

1. Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast – Total Score: 96/100

Surfers Paradise Goldcoast, image by Kgbo

Surfers Paradise in Gold Coast is the quintessential Australian beach destination, combining spectacular scenery with a lively urban atmosphere.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Cleanliness: 10/10
  • Safety: 9/10
  • Facilities: 10/10
  • Family Friendliness: 10/10
  • Accessibility: 10/10
  • Natural Beauty: 9/10
  • Local Amenities: 10/10
  • Water Quality: 9/10
  • Crowd Management: 9/10
  • Activities Available: 10/10

Surfers Paradise is celebrated for its pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and skyscraper-lined shore, offering an unparalleled blend of natural beauty and modern convenience. The beach is equipped with world-class facilities, including playgrounds, picnic areas, and lifeguard patrols, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for all visitors. The bustling Esplanade is home to a myriad of shops, restaurants, and entertainment options, catering to every taste and budget. Surfers Paradise also hosts a variety of events throughout the year, from beach volleyball tournaments to cultural festivals, adding to its vibrant atmosphere.

Surfers Paradise is the ultimate destination for those who want it all: sun, surf, and sophistication. It’s ideally suited for families, couples, and singles looking for an action-packed holiday in one of Australia’s most iconic beach towns.

How I Scored Each Beach

In the following section, you’ll discover the methodology behind the scoring of each beach, learning about the criteria I used and their importance in determining the ultimate beach experience.

Cleanliness

Cleanliness is crucial for a positive beach experience, impacting not only the visual appeal but also the health and safety of beachgoers. A clean beach signifies a well-maintained and respected environment, free from litter and pollution. To score a 10, a beach and its town would exhibit pristine conditions, with effective waste management systems in place and regular cleaning schedules. An example of a beach and town scoring a perfect 10 in cleanliness would be Greens Beach in Tasmania, known for its immaculate sands and clear waters, reflecting the community’s commitment to environmental stewardship.

Safety

Safety measures the presence of lifeguards, signage, and the general security of the area, ensuring visitors can enjoy their time without undue risk. It’s a vital criterion because it affects the confidence and comfort of families, swimmers, and surfers alike. A beach scoring 10 on safety would have highly trained lifeguards, clear water safety signs, and regular patrols. Cable Beach in Broome, Western Australia, exemplifies this, with its well-regarded safety protocols and lifeguard services, making it a secure destination for all visitors.

Facilities

Facilities refer to the availability of showers, toilets, changing rooms, and parking, which enhance the convenience and accessibility of a beach visit. This criterion is important as it significantly influences the overall visitor experience. A beach and town scoring 10 would offer ample, clean, and accessible facilities. Jervis Bay in New South Wales, with its exceptional amenities, including picnic areas, barbecue facilities, and visitor centers, is an example of top-scoring in this category.

Family Friendliness

Family friendliness assesses how well a beach caters to visitors of all ages, from playgrounds to safe swimming areas. It’s crucial because it determines whether a beach is suitable for visitors seeking a family outing. A top score requires gentle waves, lifeguard patrols, and family-oriented activities. Kingscliff Beach in New South Wales is an example, offering calm waters, a nearby playground, and family-friendly accommodations.

Accessibility

Accessibility measures how easy it is to reach and navigate the beach and its facilities, including access for those with mobility challenges. This criterion ensures that all visitors, regardless of physical ability, can enjoy the beach. A beach scoring 10 would have ample parking, clear signage, and pathways suitable for wheelchairs and strollers. Merimbula Beach in New South Wales stands out for its excellent accessibility, with boardwalks and ramps providing easy access to the beach and surrounding areas.

Natural Beauty

Natural beauty captures the aesthetic appeal of the beach and its surroundings, including the quality of the sand, water, and landscape. It’s important because the visual and environmental aspects of a beach are often the main attractions. A beach that scores a 10 in natural beauty would boast stunning scenery, unspoiled landscapes, and crystal-clear waters. Wineglass Bay in Tasmania is renowned for its breathtaking beauty, offering postcard-perfect views and pristine natural surroundings.

Local Amenities

Local amenities evaluate the availability and quality of nearby attractions, dining, and accommodation options. This criterion is key for visitors looking to extend their beach day into a longer stay or explore the local culture. A top-scoring beach would be surrounded by a variety of high-quality restaurants, shops, and lodging. Port Douglas in Queensland excels in this area, with its array of boutique shops, gourmet eateries, and luxury resorts.

Water Quality

Water quality concerns the cleanliness and clarity of the water, essential for swimming, surfing, and marine life. It indicates the health of the marine environment and the enjoyment of water-based activities. A beach scoring 10 in water quality would have crystal-clear, pollution-free water. Esperance in Western Australia is known for its exceptional water quality, with turquoise waters and visibility that makes it ideal for snorkelling and swimming.

Crowd Management

Crowd management assesses how well a beach handles visitor numbers, ensuring a balance between popularity and over-crowding. Effective crowd management enhances the experience by preventing over-crowding and maintaining the beach’s natural charm. A beach scoring 10 would have strategies in place to manage peak times smoothly. Lorne Beach in Victoria, with its spacious layout and well-planned facilities, manages to offer a relaxed atmosphere even during busy periods.

Activities Available

Activities available gauge the range and quality of things to do, from water sports to beach volleyball. This criterion is crucial for providing a varied and engaging experience for visitors. A beach scoring 10 would offer a wide array of activities, catering to different interests and age groups. Margaret River in Western Australia, famous for its surf breaks, hiking trails, and wine tours, is an exemplary case of a destination offering diverse and high-quality activities.

In Conclusion 

My journey through Australia’s coastal wonders has been a thrilling adventure, uncovering a diverse collection of beach destinations that cater to an array of preferences. From tranquil, untouched shores to lively, activity-rich beaches, this exploration has highlighted the sheer variety and beauty of Australia’s coastline. Each beach, with its unique charm, offers something special for everyone, whether you’re seeking a quiet escape or a vibrant seaside experience. Here is a summary of my top recommendations and their overall scores, reflecting the best of what Australia’s beaches have to offer:

  1. Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast – Total Score (96/100)
  2. Bells Beach, Torquay – Total Score (95/100)
  3. Manly Beach, Manly – Total Score (94/100)
  4. Byron Bay Beach, Byron Bay – Total Score (91/100)
  5. Whitehaven Beach, Whitsundays – Total Score (90/100)
  6. Cottesloe Beach, Cottesloe – Total Score (84/100)
  7. Bondi Beach, Bondi – Total Score (80/100)
  8. Noosa Main Beach, Noosa – Total Score (75/100)
  9. Torquay Beach, Torquay – Total Score (70/100)
  10. Casuarina Beach, Casuarina – Total Score (65/100)

Each beach and its town offer unique attractions, from the unparalleled surf at Bells Beach to the luxury and natural beauty of Whitehaven Beach, and the lively urban beach culture of Surfers Paradise. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or a family-friendly atmosphere, Australia’s coastal towns, including their beautiful beaches, provide a perfect setting for unforgettable experiences.

For those looking to make a more move to one of these idyllic locations, or simply secure a holiday home near the sand and sea, the expertise of a professional residential buyer’s agent can be invaluable. A buyer’s agent can help navigate the complexities of the property market, offering personalised advice and insights to find a property that suits your lifestyle and preferences. Whether it’s a beachfront villa in Byron Bay or a family home in the vibrant community of Manly, a buyer’s agent can ensure you find your dream property in Australia’s best beach towns.

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