Comedian Al Murray once said that Australia is great around the edge – but a bit more work is needed in the middle.
But perhaps Australians simply can’t tear themselves away from the edge. After all, it’s home to some of the very best beaches in the world.
And here we present the photographs that prove it. Twenty-one images of beaches, from Perth to Sydney via Tasmania, that have it all – powder-soft white sand, other-worldly turquoise water, epic surf waves and, of course, kangaroos.
These are beaches worth travelling around the world for.
There is a 121-mile-long beach, a strip of sand that hosts the longest-running event in competitive surfing, a beach that was voted the best in the world in 2023 and some super-chic city beaches.
Scroll down to behold them. Which one is your favourite?
THE COORONG, SOUTH AUSTRALIA: The Coorong, south of Adelaide, lays claim to being Australia’s longest continuous beach. This epic strip of sand stretches for 194km (121 miles) from Cape Jaffa to the Murray Mouth (above)
MEMORY COVE, EYRE PENINSULA, SOUTH AUSTRALIA: Memory Cove lives up to its name – it’s unforgettable, with jaw-dropping blue water and snow-white sand. It’s an Instagram-baiting slice of pure Australiana that will be etched in your memory bank forever, says the South Australia tourist board. It lies an hour and a half’s drive from Port Lincoln at the tip of Lincoln National Park. Visitors can drive on to the beach and there’s a shady beachfront campsite so you can extend your stay in paradise. Access to Memory Cove is, however, limited to 15 vehicles per day and a $12.50AUD (£6.70) entry fee must be paid, with overnight stays charged at $29.50AUD (£16). Visit www.parks.sa.gov.au/parks/lincoln-national-park
DOLPHIN BEACH, YORKE PENINSULA, SOUTH AUSTRALIA: Dolphin Beach lies at the southern tip of the Yorke Peninsula in Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park, an easy drive from Adelaide. It’s described as an ‘unspoilt oasis’ by the South Australia tourist board, which adds that the ‘800-metre-long stretch of shimmering sand and calm turquoise waters are surrounded by dramatic cliffs’. The beach lives up to its name, too, with dolphins often spotted in the bay, while kangaroos like to bath in the sun landside
PALM COVE, TROPICAL NORTH QUEENSLAND: Palm Cove lies a 20-minute drive north of Cairns and offers a peaceful village atmosphere beside golden sands. Living up to its name, it’s lined with towering palm trees. There are several beach cafes and restaurants there, including the award-winning Nu Nu led by chef Nick Holloway, making Palm Cove a mouth-watering prospect all round
NINETY MILE BEACH, VICTORIA: Behold a 90-mile-long stretch of pristine sand that lies between Bass Strait to the south and the Gippsland Lakes to the north. The waters here are teeming with life – researchers studied a 10-square-metre section of sand and discovered 860 species
ANGOURIE BACK BEACH, NEW SOUTH WALES: This eye-catching stretch of sand is described by Visit New South Wales as being popular with swimmers in benign conditions, but one to be wary of – ‘rips and undertows are common, and the surf can be deceptively powerful’
WINEGLASS BAY, FREYCINET NATIONAL PARK, TASMANIA: No, you’re not dreaming. It’s real. This image shows Wineglass Bay as seen from the summit of Mount Amos, which is reached along rough and steep tracks (so good hiking boots are a must). The reward for the effort is a view that will never be forgotten
RAINBOW BEACH, QUEENSLAND: This inviting beach is located between Fraser Island and Cooloola National Park, with visitor temptations including diving with nurse sharks, galloping along the sand on horseback or swooping over the coastline in a helicopter. Visit www.visitsunshinecoast.com/place/rainbow-beach
BOOMERANG BEACH, PACIFIC PALMS, NEW SOUTH WALES: This stretch of sand gets rave Tripadvisor reviews. For example user ‘pattie9’ described it as ‘the best beach I’ve ever visited’ and user ‘Nunngo’ as ‘glorious’
BALMORAL BEACH (LEFT) AND EDWARDS BEACH (RIGHT), SYDNEY: This stunning aerial drone shot shows two of Sydney’s most photogenic strips of sand, separated by Rocky Point. They’re located in a distinctly upscale district and are often merged descriptively and referred to ‘Balmoral’
ADVENTURE BAY, BRUNY ISLAND, TASMANIA: Adventure Bay was named by British explorer Captain Tobias Furneaux after his ship, HMS Adventure, which dropped anchor in the bay in 1773. It’s likely he was gobsmacked. This seven-kilometre-long beach, surrounded by gum trees, is an absolute beauty, and is known for being calm. So it’s ideal for swimming and relaxing walks
STOKES BAY BEACH, KANGAROO ISLAND, SOUTH AUSTRALIA: This gem is known as ideal for wading and snorkelling and is extremely popular with Tripadvisor users. One described it as ‘absolute heaven’, another as the best beach they’d ever been to
LUCKY BAY, WESTERN AUSTRALIA: Lucky Bay, a 45-minute drive from the town of Esperance, in Western Australia, was voted the world’s best beach in a recent survey of 750 travel experts, commissioned by American sunscreen brand Banana Boat. According to Tourism Western Australia it is the only beach ‘that can claim the honour of being Australia’s whitest beach’. At this Indian Ocean hotspot there are turquoise waters – and inquisitive kangaroos roam the shores
COTTESLOE BEACH, PERTH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA: The Western Australia tourism board describes Cottesloe Beach, with its ‘pristine sands’, as ‘pretty as a picture’, adding that ‘Cott, as it’s affectionately known, can be reached by car, bus or train from Perth’
HYAMS BEACH, JERVIS BAY, NEW SOUTH WALES: Yes. Wow. Behold the iconic Hyams Beach, which has all the necessary ingredients to make sunseekers drool – sugar-white sands, crystal clear waters, woodland border. Welcome to paradise
WHITEHAVEN BEACH, WHITSUNDAY ISLAND, QUEENSLAND: Behold Utopia. What helps to make this glorious seven-kilometre- (4.3-mile) long beach – on the largest of the 74 islands in the Whitsundays – so dreamy is the inlet where sand and water mix together to produce a mesmerising blend of colours
CABLE BEACH, BROOME, WESTERN AUSTRALIA: This 22km- (13-mile) long strip of white sand is a must for any self-respecting sunseeker’s beach bucket list. Camel rides, surfing, kayaking, epic sunsets… it has the lot
BELLS BEACH, TORQUAY, GREAT OCEAN ROAD, VICTORIA: Talk about a surf mecca. Bells Beach is home to the longest running event in competitive surfing, The Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach event, which dates back to January 1962, and is the setting for the final scene in surf-crime flick Point Break (though it was actually filmed in Oregon). It was also featured in 1966 surfing documentary The Endless Summer. Truly, it’s the surf capital of Australia, but the waves are frequently strong, so only advanced surfers should jump on a board here. Non-expert surfers can still have a great time, though – basking on the golden sands
BONDI BEACH, SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES: It’s one of the world’s most famous beaches, and deservedly so, with its white powder-soft sand, surfer-baiting waves and buzzy atmosphere. No self-respecting beach bucket list omits this one
BURLEIGH BEACH, GOLD COAST, QUEENSLAND: This beach is described by mustdobrisbane.com as a ‘jewel in the Gold Coast’s crown’, with the site declaring it a ‘surf haven’ and waxing lyrical about its ‘clear blue waters’ that are ‘ideal for swimmers and families’. Between May and November sunbathers should look up from time to time – they might spot a migrating humpback whale or two
VIVONNE BAY, KANGAROO ISLAND, SOUTH AUSTRALIA: This wonderfully secluded, six-kilometre-long U-shaped beach is just begging to light up your Instagram feed. Watch out for frolicking sea lions…