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Perhaps this list should have been called Australia’s nicest beaches instead of the best Australian beaches, as which Aussie beach you love the most comes down to so many different things. However, whether you prefer to swim, build sandcastles, go snorkelling or snap Instagram photos, there is sure to be a beach here that’s just right for you.

Rainbow Bay, Queensland

Play equipment lines the foreshore and gentle waves lap the crescent-shaped beach which provides a sheltered haven from the big surf of Snapper Rocks, a favourite surfer’s hangout. It’s a five minute walk to Point Danger, a rocky headland overlooking the ocean near Coolangatta, where migrating whales can be seen from June to November.

Snapper Rocks at Rainbow Bay
Snapper Rocks at Rainbow Bay

Manly, New South Wales

Manly has several great beaches to choose from. Start the day with a 15 minute stroll to Shelly Beach where little hands can explore the sea creature sculptures embedded into the rocks alongside the path. Older children will enjoy snorkelling at nearby Cabbage Tree Bay or having a surf lesson at all-round crowd pleaser Manly Beach.

Manly Beach
Manly Beach

Whitehaven Beach, Queensland

Bring a pair of sunglasses to Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsundays as you will (literally) be dazzled by this famous beach’s bright white sand. If you don’t have your own boat, the easiest and most affordable way to get to Whitehaven Beach is on a half-day or full-day tour.  

Whitehaven Beach
Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsundays

Blinky Beach, Lord Howe Island

Swimming isn’t recommended here as the waves on the eastern side of the island can be wild but Blinky Beach on Lord Howe Island is great for boogie boarding and surfing. If you aren’t a surfer and don’t have a boogie board, a walk along this pristine stretch of sand is just as enjoyable plus there are plenty of other things to do on Lord Howe Island.

Lord Howe Island
Blinky Beach, Lord Howe Island

Glenelg, South Australia

Catch a vintage tram from Victoria Square to Glenelg, just 10km from the Adelaide CBD, where there is plenty of room on the sand for everyone. Go swimming in the morning then head to The Beachouse, a family entertainment centre with waterslides, a historic carousel and the only single-arm ferris wheel in Australia.

Glenelg Beach
Glenelg Beach

Loch Ard Gorge, Victoria

You’ll find this visually spectacular beach just few minutes’ down the Great Ocean Road from the world-famous Twelve Apostles. Named after the ship that ran aground just offshore in 1878, the beach at Loch Ard Gorge is framed by imposing cliffs on either side.

Loch Ard Gorge
Loch Ard Gorge near the Twelve Apostles in Victoria

Wineglass Bay, Tasmania

If you’ve ever seen a tourism brochure for Tasmania, you’ve probably seen a photo of this famous beach in Freycinet National Park. The easiest way to get here is on a day trip or a Coral Expeditions cruise but you can also hike to Wineglass Bay from the top of the Wineglass Bay lookout.

Swimming at Wineglass Bay
Swimming at Wineglass Bay

Noosa Main Beach, Queensland

Gentle kiddie-size waves make this picturesque beach in the heart of Noosa a family favourite. Hastings Street’s cafes are just a few steps away and koalas are a common sight in the nearby national park. Bobbing around in the ocean while taking in the scenery is equally popular with adults and children.

Noosa Beach family
Have fun on the beach at Noosa

Cape Tribulation, Queensland

As one of the only beaches in the world where the rainforest meets the sand, Cape Tribulation is a must visit for nature lovers. It’s possible to drive here from Cairns in just a few hours or you can stay overnight and indulge in outdoor activities such as hiking, snorkelling, horseriding and more.

Cape Tribulation offers a serene escape

Sorrento, Western Australia

Sorrento, located 20 minutes drive north of Perth, has pristine white sand, calm water and plenty of grassy spots to enjoy a picnic lunch. When you’ve had enough fun in the sun, check out the Aquarium of Western Australia at the end of the beach.

Want some tips that save time, money and your sanity when you’re flying or at the airport? Check out our suggestions for how to pass the time at an airport with kids, how to access airline lounges (even if you’re not a member), and how to make the most of a stopover.

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Dr Tiana Templeman is an award-winning food and travel journalist, travel author and media industry academic. She is the creator of The Travel Temple, writes for Australian and international media outlets and appears on radio talking about where to go, what to see and travel industry trends.