From crystal clear waters to beautifully sculpted rock pools, silky white sand sheaths and the faint smell of fish and chips permeating a summer breeze…sigh. If you ask us, the terms ‘paradise’ and ‘Australian beaches’ are pretty much interchangeable. So, whether you’re a surfer, a sunbaker, or a seafood-enthusiast, why not book a hostel in Australia and rock up Down Under for some quality summer tanning.
With more than 11,000 beaches to pick from, your only problem will be working out which one to visit first! To make that ‘arduous task’ a little easier (and also because we are currently in ‘sun fantasy’ mode), we’ve put together a list of Australia’s Top 10 Best Beaches to get your summer holiday started…
1. Bondi Beach
Sydney, New South Wales
Ever heard of the expression ‘living up to the hype’? As one of Australia’s most well-known sandy shores, Bondi most certainly does it in style. With everything from surf competitions to trendy seafood cafes, beachside markets, cocktail bars and the oldest life saving club in Australia, this seaside paradise is the epitome of true blue Aussie beach culture.
Don’t miss: Taking the Bondi to Bronte scenic cliff walk…and rewarding yourself with fish and chips at the end!
Where to stay: Score some free snorkelling gear, hire a surf board and check out the awesome beach views from Bondi Beachhouse YHA. Rooms are from €25.27 per night.
2. Bells Beach
Calling all surfers! Lying three miles southwest of the small town of Torquay, Bells Beach has become a legendary locale for committed surf enthusiasts. Everything about this area is geared towards surfing, from the clothes shops to surfboard manufacturers and mere relaxed demeanour of those beachy blonde-haired locals. Head to one of two unique reef sections – the ‘Rincon’ with surf in the 2-4ft range, and ‘The Bowl’ which will hold waves of up to 15ft.
Don’t miss: Heading down over Easter Weekend to watch Rip Curl Pro – the longest running surf competition in the world.
Where to stay: For those who fancy a trip down the Great Ocean Rd, your best bet is to seek out a Melbourne backpackers hostel and take part in one of the many tours on offer. Check out the popular Habitat HQ in beachside St Kilda, offering rooms from €19.50 per night.
3. The Gold Coast
The Gold Coast, Queensland
Tucked away in Australia’s sunshine state, the Gold Coast is actually a collection of nearly two-dozen beaches, including perennial favourites like Main Beach and Surfers Paradise. Great for everything from surfing to family outings and warm midnight strolls along the white sandy shore.
Don’t miss: A trip to the action-packed theme parks of Surfers Paradise – Dreamworld, Sea World, Movie World and Wet’n’Wild!
Where to stay: Located on the sandy shores of Nobby Beach in the Gold Coast, Santorini Holiday Units offer self contained family-style beach apartments from €27.80 per night.
4. Coral Bay
Coral Coast, Western Australia
A small settlement overlooking Ningaloo Reef, Coral Bay beach is the ultimate Great Barrier Reef alternative (being 10 minutes, rather than 2 hours, from the shore!) Break the clear turquoise waters and mingle with spectacular marine wildlife, from humpback whales to manta rays, sea turtles and reef sharks.
Don’t miss: Donning a snorkelling mask and some fins before jumping in to the stunning Ningaloo waters!
Where to stay: Planning a trip down the coast of WA? Located north of the Coral Coast, Exmouth Cape Holiday Park provides a gateway to both Ningaloo Reef and the spectacular Cape Range National Park. Rooms from €19.50 per night.
5. Cable Beach
Broome, Western Australia
With 22 kilometres of pristine white sands fringed by ebbing turquoise flows from the Indian ocean, Cable Beach is renowned as one of the most stunning sandy shores across the globe. And yet, despite its notoriety as a newfound tourist mecca, it is still possible to find your own secluded slice of heaven in this Australian beach paradise.
Don’t miss: Partaking in the quintessential Broome experience – a sunset camel ride at Cable Beach!
Where to stay: For those seeking a cheap hotel in Broome, make your first stop at the Roebuck Bay Hotel. Rooms are available from €26.72 per night.
6. Wineglass Bay
Unlike many popular beaches in Australia, Wineglass Bay retains its status as a secluded paradise, free from the ubiquitous influx of tourists, surfers and sunbakers. As such, the beach is free from any shops or large crowds, relying purely on its perfect arch of gleaming white sand. Located at the back of Freycinet National Park in Tasmania, Wineglass Bay is inaccessible by road and a 45-minute walk from the nearby Coles Bay carpark.
Don’t miss: A day of simple, no-frills relaxation!
Where to stay: A convenient base for exploring Tasmania’s east coast, Redcliffe House in Swansea offer luxury heritage accommodation from just €51.99 per night.
We couldn’t create a list of the best Australian beaches without mentioning the Great Barrier Reef! Stretching 7km along the uninhabited Whitsunday Island, the island paradise of Whitehaven most definitely leads the pack. Take a ferry or yacht out from Airlie Beach for a breathtaking daytrip adventure complete with ocean rafting, sea-kayaking and jet-boating.
Don’t miss: Taking some quality photographs. These landscape images will trump just abut any ‘picture-perfect’ postcard!
Where to stay: Book in at Whitsunday on the Beach, a popular resort right next to Airlie Beach Lagoon offering rooms from €25.27 per night.
Perth, Western Australia
Whether your preference is for swimming, surfing, snorkelling or sunbathing, they’ll all be on offer at Perth’s Cottesloe beach! Beloved by its inhabitants, these powder-white sands and sparkling sapphire waters are integral to the small town’s identity. Take a walk around the surrounding suburb for a view of some beautifully preserved nineteenth century homes, making sure to stop for a free barbeque at the historic Civic Centre in Broome St.
Don’t miss: Taking part in a Cottesloe ‘Sunday Session’ as generations of locals gather for a few cool drinks in one of the local pubs.
Where to stay: For the ultimate in convenience, book a private or dorm room at Ocean Beach Backpackers, located right on the shores of Cottesloe Beach. Rooms are available from only €17.33 per night.
9. Byron Bay
Byron Bay, New South Wales
A popular beachside town in northeast New South Wales, Byron Bay offers up a range of pristine waters and hidden sandy shores. For those wanting some true blue Aussie sun complete with live music and beachside beers, make sure you check out the action of Main Beach. Other favourite past times include a stroll along Tallow Beach, celeb spotting at Little Walegos, volleyball at Clarkes beach…or even a nudist adventure at Belonigl!
Don’t miss: Experiencing the artistic culture of bohemian Byron Bay. Stop for a flat white at one of the many quirky cafes in this laidback boho town.
Where to stay: Fancy a cheap hotel in Byron Bay? Check out the Byron Bay Motel, offering self-contained studio apartments only 200m stroll from the main beach. Rooms are available from €52.35 per night.
10. Manly Beach
Sydney, New South Wales
It’s the quintessential Sydney experience – a ferry direct to the hot sunny shores of Manly Beach. A veritable tourist mecca, it would be hard to beat the beachside buzz that permeates Manly beach, from its rollerblading tracks to famous surf stores, fish’n’chip cafes and smiling ice-cream vendors. Walk along the palm-tree lined Corso and you can’t help but enjoy yourself in that salty sea breeze!
Don’t miss: Hopping aboard a ferry or JetCat from Manly to Circular Quay.
Where to stay: There are a range of cheap hotels in Sydney within close proximity to Manly Beach. For the traditional beach backpacker experience, check out Manly Bungalow, located only a few blocks away from the beachfront and with rooms from €28.88 per night.