Best Beaches in Australia: East Coast
When we made the decision to come and explore Australia I must admit I was incredibly excited about exploring some of the best beaches in the world! Coming from England in the United Kingdom it’s safe to say that we don’t do beaches like quite like Australia. Though Scotland and southern England are home to some gorgeous beaches, the weather is often not in our favour. With at least 150 days of complete sunshine a year all over Australia, it’s safe to say that if it’s beach days you want, beach days you shall have! We’ve been lucky enough to explore some of the Beast Beaches in Australia and I want to share them with you today!
Beaches are Everywhere!
You’ll find beaches all over the place in the land down under, you never have to wander far and you’re on a great stretch of sand. I think the furthest away from the beach we’ve been since arriving is when we lived in Brisbane and its still only one hour by car to the Gold Coast. So naturally, when we took a road trip from Cairns to Sydney we got to enjoy some of the best beaches in Australia!
The East Coast is jam-packed with amazing beaches all of which are completely different from one another! From feeling like you’ve been transported to Hawaii on Mission Beach, to the 98% silica sand on the Whitsundays you will 100% be amazed by the East Coast Beaches here in Australia!
Getting together a list of my favourite East Coast Beaches was so hard – they are all beautiful! But here we explore my ultimate favourites and ones you should without a doubt visit on your trip to Australia! And what’s the best thing about the beaches? They are totally FREE! Making it easy for us budget travellers to be able to explore without fretting about the piggy bank!
Best Beaches in Australia: East Coast
Whitehaven Beach – The Whitsundays
Now no Australian bucket list of any sort would be complete without The Whitsunday’s and Whitehaven Beach! I think this is the only beach I’ve ever become speechless over! The beauty that this place oozes is incredible and it’s exactly like what you see on the pictures! Whitehaven Beach is, of course, famous for its magical swirls and bright white beach with sand made up of 98% silica – giving it its white glow! (100% is glass) This beach is literally like no other in the world!
Did you know: The Australian government in the past paid out millions of dollars to give away some of the sand on Whitehaven Beach! Why? Well, you don’t really come across 98% silica sand that often, it’s pretty unique! Researchers say that the sand drifted to Whitehaven Beach millions of years ago and has continued to form the unique swirls we now admire.
Whitehaven Beach is simply like heaven. The sand is as white as you see on those photo-shopped images and the water as clear as day. Because the sand is 98% silica the sand is extremely dense meaning that it’s cool beneath your feet! Yep, your feet aren’t going to burn on this paradise beach front! Although the beach looks simply flawless and the ocean so inviting there are a few important things to note about Whitehaven Beach! Lurking in the water you’ll find marine stingers, baby yellow sharks and manta rays!
Worried about the Sharks and Manta rays?
But don’t worry the sharks won’t hurt you and neither will the manta rays because the ones on Whitehaven Beach don’t have their barbs, therefore, cannot sting you! That said, be careful! The marine stingers will get you! Because we were with a tour company, True Blue Sailing, we weren’t allowed in the water without a stinger suit on! So make sure you listen to your tour guides because they are just looking out for your safety!
The only other downfall of Whitehaven Beach is that it’s only accessible via boat so you do have to pay a little to get there! Make sure you take a trip that goes to Hill Inlet as well as the beach! Hill Inlet is the lookout where you’ll get that sensational Instagram post! I’d go as far as saying that Whitehaven Beach is the best of the best when it comes to the best beaches in Australia!
Mission Beach – Far North Queensland
Imagine blazing sunlight hitting golden sand making each grain sparkle. As the wind blows lightly and the ocean dances in the distance, we are stunned looking out over Mission Beach. I felt like I’d been transported to Hawaii just like that. Mission Beach is a far cry from any of the other beaches in Australia. Lined with palm trees and looking out to dozens of little islands in the ocean, Mission Beach is a tropical paradise! If tranquillity, peace and beauty are what you’re looking for then Mission Beach your place!
Did you know: Mission Beach is the only beach in Australia where you skydive and land on the beach! Click To Tweet
As for the other beachgoers and tourists? They were zero. I couldn’t quite believe it! Australia attracts tourists all year round and the majority of places we’ve been have been crawling with people! But Mission Beach surprised us with not one single another person on the beach we couldn’t believe our luck! We actually wondered if we were supposed to be there! – Cue two Brit’s running to their camper van to drive to a different section of beach! But when we arrived at South Mission Beach we were still the only two people!
You can easily spend a full day here or just a couple of hours! Grab your towel, a good book and relax! If you are staying for the day then pack a good picnic! They aren’t any shops on walking distance of the beach so bring lots of food and water! Maybe a beer if you fancy too! – We did! You’ll find a little hut renting surfboards, kayaks and canoes on South Mission Beach if water sports are your thing!
Watch Out for the Stingers!
A word of warning though, the water is beautiful here and as clear as day! But be warned there are creatures lurking in these waters! Stingrays are all over the waters in Far North Queensland so take care when swimming! We actually saw two when looking in the water so stayed clear! There are warning signs up and down the beach with loads of information on peak seasons etc! You can check out some more details on staying safe in the ocean here!
Wategos Beach – Byron Bay
If you’ve read my latest post about Byron Bay then you’ll know that Byron has my heart. From it’s beaches to its people, it really is the travellers capital of the Australian East Coast. Byron Bay has so many breathtaking beaches it’s painful trying to choose a favourite. From the busier vibes of the main beach to the more peaceful and quieter waters of Tallow Beach they all ooze beauty. But I have to say when it comes to the ultimate beach experience Wategos Beach is pretty special. I don’t know about you but I love beating the crowds and Wategos Beach is a lot smaller than any of the other beaches.
I’d actually call Wategos quite family friendly, lined with BBQ areas and a little cafe it screams Aussie living exactly how you’d have imagined it! Chilled out sunbathers, happy children playing in the sand, friends getting together for a weekend BBQ! I’d say that this beach is more where the locals go rather than the backpackers! You can find this beach on the way to lighthouse via the Cape Byron Lighthouse Walk – which by the way is a must do! If you’re looking for a quiet stretch of sand to enjoy your latest holiday book then Wategos is a great choice!
Top Tip: Take a picnic or a BBQ and take in the gorgeous scenery around you! Be sure to pack your binoculars too! Byron was the place, not too far from Wategos Beach, where we spotted our first wild Koala!
Milk Beach – Sydney
I only discovered Milk Beach quite recently and boy am I glad that I did! Sydney is bursting with surprises but this beach is certainly one of my favourite parts about Sydney! Located in the beautiful suburb of Rose Bay you’ll find again, one of my favourite walks in Sydney, the Sydney Harbour National Park Hermitage Walk! This walk stretches over a mile long and gives you insane views of the Harbour Bridge, Opera House & City Skyline!
As you wander down the weaving path you’ll cross four beaches before you reach Milk Beach! They are all stunning so take your pick but I must admit Milk Beach has the best views of the Opera House and Bridge! That’s of course as long as there aren’t any fancy yachts parked up blocking the view! (I’m only jealous!). Head to Milk Beach with a friend or by yourself with plenty of food and water and a enjoy a day of pure relaxation! This is the beach I’d opt for over Bondi Beach because you can literally escape the mass of tourists and enjoy the beauty that Sydney has to offer! I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to visit Milk Beach!
Did You Know: Milk Beach and the beaches near Rose Bay and some of the only beaches in Sydney where you can see the Bridge and Opera House!
Bondi Beach – Sydney
Okay, even though Bondi Beach is extremely tourist heavy, all year round! You have to go and check it out. I won’t lie to you, no matter what time of year you head to Bondi Beach it will be packed, and the number of expats on their holidays will be soaring! I often joke around saying the whole population of England and Ireland has relocated to Bondi Beach! But don’t let put you off because the beach is absolutely stunning! After only ever seeing Bondi Beach on the hit TV programme Bondi Rescue I had no idea what to expect!
On the TV Bondi Beach looks huge! I imaged a long stretch of beach, a little like the gold coast, expanding for miles down the Sydney coastline. Turns out that couldn’t be further away from reality if it tried. The beaches that surround Bondi and it’s neighbouring suburbs are all small bays opposed to long stretches of sand. Bondi Beach is the biggest of the clan from Bondi to Coogee is Sydney’s most urban and chic beachfront! Lined with street art and filled with beautiful bodies Bondi Beach is the place to be to hang with your friends on the weekend and catch a wave or two.
There is Something for Everyone at Bondi!
From backpackers to millionaires, teenagers to retirees Bondi Beach attracts the likes of everyone! At only one kilometre in size, it lures in fitness addicts to take a jog on the beach front, families to that can enjoy a swim in the far freshwater pool and wannabe surfers taking lessons on the water! (The category we fall into for sure!) As well all the amenities on the front the surrounding area is full of things to do, cafes, shops, bars, play parks and a skate park – where you’ll always see world-class skateboards and roller bladders doing their thang! It really is a great place to kick back and relax, as long as you don’t mind doing so with the rest of Sydney!
Top Tip: If you want to take a surf lesson in Bondi, Let’s Go Surfing is the only company that do surf lessons here! So don’t waste your time trying to look for a cheaper deal, you won’t find one but I can tell you it’s worth the price! They are amazing!
75 Mile Beach – Fraser Island
Fraser Island, where do you even start? Everything about Fraser Island is fascinating and that doesn’t exclude its beaches! In fact, I think the main Fraser Island Coastline is the most unique of all the beaches in Australia! There was no way it wasn’t making it onto my Beast Beaches in Australia list! This famous coastline on the island stretches a whopping, yes you guessed it, 75 miles long! It’s hard to even imagine it without seeing it!
Though you’d think this beach would be perfect for sunbathing and swimming that is extremely far from the truth! Fraser Island is home to some of the most dangerous animals and sea life in the world. If a Dingo catches you off guard sunning yourself you can say goodbye to your leg! Sharks also lurk very close to the shore at Fraser Island so you’re not allowed in the waters! Although for some crazy reasons that doesn’t seem to stop everyone!
So what exactly is this beach used for? Well, this beach is the main highway on Fraser Island! Yes, you can drive up and down this beach to your heart’s content! It’s actually classed as a national highway, therefore, all the regular driving rules apply! Speed limits, indicators, safety when driving you’ve got to abide by it all! It’s definitely a once in a lifetime experience to drive along this amazing coastline!Did You Know: The 75 Mile Beach on Fraser Island is also home to a runway. It's the only place in Australia where planes are allowed to take off and land on the beach! Click To Tweet
Rainbow Beach – Queensland
Now, I can’t imagine Rainbow Beach makes it onto many peoples Best Beaches in Australia lists! I don’t know why but it takes a far while off the beaten track to get there and the town is pretty average, sorry not sorry! But I personally found the beach quite special! It was pretty dead when we visited with only one or two others enjoying the beach! Rainbow Beach is surrounded by sand dunes which is why I found it so cool! I was not expecting the mountain of sand piled behind the beach! Apparently, you can even sand board down some of them, we could see a few people tackling the dunes in the distance! Other than this it’s simply a lovely beach! I imagine it gets busy in the summer months but it’s definitely worth a visit if you’ve got the time! I found it unique and beautiful!
As for the area, there isn’t much to do at Rainbow Beach. The beachfront is lined with a few bars, cafes and tourist shops! A lot of people go to Rainbow Beach as it’s where a lot of the Fraser Island day tours depart from! So if you heading to Fraser from Rainbow Beach make sure you take a visit to the beach!
Top Tip: You’ll also find this cool Rainbow stairway if you drop down onto the beach!
Manly Beach – Northern Beaches Sydney
If you haven’t guessed by all the beaches listed that Sydney hosts some of the best then you can’t have been reading properly! Sydney is full of beaches wherever you turn and I know there are some beautiful ones that I haven’t even explored yet like Palm Beach! But the town of Manly is what you expect when you think about living in Australia! It’s one of the most sought after areas to live in Australia and with its gorgeous beach and wharf, it’s no surprise why!
Manly is home to a few beaches but the most popular are Manly Beach and Shelley Beach! The boasts a lush stretch of pale golden sand met with aqua coloured water at the shore. You can also find some of the best waves for surfing in Sydney here at Many Beach. It sure attracts hundreds of surfers and beachgoers every day! Though Manly Beach is full of tourists you also get a lot more locals, unlike Bondi Beach where every local avoids! There are loads to do when visiting Manly Beach, you can hire a surf or body board, go for a walk along the beach front, sunbathe on the grass or enjoy one of the many cafes or bars that line the beach front.
Top Tip: Manly is located on the Northern Beaches in Sydney, therefore, can take a bit of a commute when coming from the city! The best way to reach Manly is via ferry! You can take the regular ferry taking 30-40 minutes from Circular Quay or the fast ferry taking about 20, also from Circular Quay. The ferry can be quite expensive so make sure you go on a Sunday when travel on transport is capped at $2.70.
Agnes Waters Beach – Agnes Water
I ummed and ahhed about where this last spot of my list of Best Beaches in Australia on the East Coast should go to! It was always going to be between Agnes Waters and Noosa! Even though the beach is gorgeous at Noosa it is very tourist heavy and it’s more the town I loved in Noosa rather than the beach! For that reason, I’m going with Agnes Water! I had no idea what to expect when we arrived in Agnes Water! I didn’t know much about it other than it was a surf town alongside 1770. Everybody I had spoken to and blog posts I had read said it was worth visiting!
It’s the Perfect Surfer Town…
The town of Agnes Water is Quaint and gorgeous! The beach is equally stunning and said to be home to Australia’s most northerly surf. What I liked about this beach is it reminded me of beaches in the UK! I know totally weird and probably not a huge compliment but the sand at Agnes Waters was a deep golden colour a lot like the beaches I used to play on as a child. It was filled with an array of visitors from surfers, backpackers and families.
The vibe here was total relaxation! Everyone walking around with nothing but their swimmers and maybe a surfboard in tow, it really felt like a haven away from the backpacking hustle and bustle you find on the Australian East Coast! That could’ve had something to do with the lack of phone signal too! – NIL. Sadly, I don’t seem to have photographs of Agnes Water (and I call myself Travel Blogger – HA) so if you have any please feel free to share!
Top Tip: Don’t expect to do anything that you need a mobile signal or internet connection for in Agnes Water! Unless you go searching for WIFI!
And there you have it! My Best Beaches in Australia! I loved every single one of these beaches and feel they all have something different to offer! So if you’re exploring the East Coast make sure you pop them into your itinerary! If you do visit I would love to see your photographs! Tag #aliciaoverseas so I can see all the fun you have on the beaches of Australia!
Best Beaches in Australia: East Coast
Have you ever visited Australia? Enjoyed a beach I haven’t mentioned? Or maybe one of the above disappointed you? I would love to continue this conversation in the comments below so let me know what you think!
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