When planning a trip to Australia, there are so many options to choose from. It’s a massive country with an endless list of unique towns, beautiful beaches, and great surf spots. We’ve narrowed in on the Northeast coast since that’s where we’ve spent the most time exploring. Although we think all of the beaches are worth a visit, here are our best recommendations for the 8 best beaches in Northeast Australia.
- Whitehaven Beach, Whitsundays
Whitehaven Beach is one of the world’s most unspoiled and beautiful beaches. It is protected by the Whitsunday Islands National Park, and in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. This famous beach stretches for 4.5 miles and is washed by swirls of turquoise, blue and green water. The sand is 98% pure white silica, which gives it a brilliant, almost see-through color.
- Wategoes Beach, Byron Bay
This beach is located just east of the Byron Bay town centre. It is a peaceful and sheltered little beach that is ideal for relaxing, a fantastic place to picnic, play in the sand and swim. The local bottlenose dolphins use it for recreation as well, showing off their smooth surfing skills on the incoming waves.
- Coolangatta, Gold Coast
The coast’s famous sandy beaches and world-class surf breaks end at Coolangatta, well known for its casual beach-side culture. Spend the day surfing, SUP or swimming with the locals. You can also take the walking trail to Rainbow Bay then head up the hill to Point Danger and plant one foot in Queensland and another in New South Wales at this lookout which is also a great place for dolphin and whale watching. From here you can also look back on the famous Surfers Paradise skyline at sunset whilst dining at one of many oceanfront cafes.
- Noosa Heads, Queensland
Combine natural beauty with award-winning restaurants and a sleepy-town atmosphere and you’ve got Noosa. Listed as an official Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, Noosa is home to a range of pristine natural environments – from waterways full of birdlife to rocky headlands where you can watch whales swim past.
Noosa’s Main Beach is one of the only north-facing beaches on the east coast of Australia and is calm on most days, which makes it a great spot for families and those learning to surf.
- Nudey Beach, Queensland
This small, pristine stretch of sand lies on the SW shore of Fitzroy Island 45 minutes’ boat ride from Cairns. The island is on the Great Barrier Reef and covered in tropical rainforest, of which 95% is listed as a protected National Park. Just be sure to pack your swimmers – it is Nudey Beach in name only! After soaking up the sights on the beach, get a closer glimpse of the two stunning coral reefs with a local tour operator.
Just 1 hour south of Byron Bay, many of Australia’s pro surfers live here – along with the owner of the infamous surf brand Billabong. This little town oozes that laid back Aussie lifestyle the country is so famous for.
- Shark Beach, New South Wales
Despite the fact that it’s in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, it’s actually pretty quiet. The more high-profile attractions of Bondi, Manly and Tamarama keep the crowds away. Shark Beach boasts glorious white sands and great swimming conditions, as well as incredible Harbor views. Oh, and despite the name, it’s completely safe and shark-free. It’s well set up for food too, with three picnic areas and a café.
- Galaru, Northeast
The Northern Territory isn’t known for its swimming options, and here is no exception. Nonetheless, this stunning wide-open white beach is worth a visit for the views. It is a 30-hour drive from Darwin, or an hour’s flight to the nearby airport. The sunsets are amazing and you can fish or bird watch, relax on the beach or go boating. The area is owned by Yolngu, the Aboriginal people of Northeast Arnhem Land, and recreation permits to visit the area must be obtained from them.
If you have any questions or need any more tips for Australia, feel free to reach out to us at [email protected] We also have a van and sailing trip to this area in September that will be visiting several of these beaches. Check it out HERE.