Australia’s Top 20 Beaches to Visit

Australia has a total coastline that measures 25,760 kilometers—that’s a lot of space for some amazing beaches. Tourism Australia recognizes that fact, and they tapped Brad Farmer, co-author of 101 Best Australian Beaches, to rank those shoreline gems. What makes Farmer an expert on Australia’s beaches? Over the course of his lifetime, he’s visited around 4,000 of Australia’s 12,000 beaches.

Farmer’s list starts with Cabarita Beach being named the top beach of Australia. Just north of Byron Bay, this beach is popular with surfers. Coming in a close second is Currumbin Beach on the Gold Coast. Farmer considered each beach’s affordability, accessibility, and authenticity when making up his list, which led to interesting choices like including Wagga Wagga beach. It might seem weird that Farmer would include an inland beach just five hours out of Sydney, but he has good reasoning behind the choice. “It opens up the interior of Australia to be recognized and included,” says Farmer. “I’m not about to pick a fight with people of Wagga who call it a beach. Who am I to quibble? It’s a superb botdy of water and sand…if you’ve got a shark phobia, it’s a good beach.” Cossies Beach retained its place in the top 20, keeping the far-flung Cocos (Keeling) Islands on everyone’s radar. Coming next on the list is a beach that Hollywood stars Matt Damon and Chris Hemsworth already know about—Quobba Station. What you won’t find in the top 20 are Kings Beach and Bondi beach. Sunshine Coast, in fact, didn’t fare well on the list, nor did any of Sydney’s beaches.

Farmer says this may just be his last list. The Tourism Australia ambassador has been making the list for decades now, and he’s a bit worn out. “I think this will be my last ever beach review—it’s a huge cash bleed,” says Farmer. “I’d like someone else to jump into my boardshorts.” Visiting beaches all year long and then writing up a review? Sounds like a pretty good post to have.

Here’s the full list of Tourism Australia’s Top 20 Australian Beaches below:

  1. Cabarita Beach (NSW)
  2. Currumbin Beach (QLD)
  3. Minnamurra Beach (NSW)
  4. Maria Island (TAS)
  5. Cape Tribulation (QLD)
  6. Brighton Beach (VIC)
  7. Betty’s Beach (WA)
  8. Southport Beach (SA)
  9. Wagga Wagga (NSW)
  10. Lake McKenzie (QLD)
  11. The Basin (WA)
  12. Fingal Bay (NSW)
  13. Smith’s Beach (WA)
  14. Ned’s Beach (NSW)
  15. Quobba (WA)
  16. Cossies Beach (Cocos Islands)
  17. Lake Tyers (VIC)
  18. Diamond Head (NSW)
  19. Pondalowie (SA)
  20. Killiecrankie Beach (TAS)

Related: Here’s 11 Ways You Can Help Those Affected by the Australian Bushfires