Best Beaches in Australia for Swimming

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Exploring Australia Through its Magnificent Swimming Destinations

With a coastline that spans 27,000 kilometers, it’s not surprising that Australia boasts of more than 10,000 beaches. Visitors from near and far flock this stunning paradise to enjoy the beach culture through extreme water sports like kayaking, surfing, and snorkeling. If you’re not into high-adrenaline water activity, you can enjoy swimming in the clear turquoise waters of the Australian beaches.

However, some beaches are safer for swimming than others. You don’t want to end up at a beach without a life-saving club, no patrols on the beach, high waves that could drown you, and no measures to keep the jellyfish (stingers) away from you. Yes, we get it, you want to swim at a breathtaking destination. It should also be a safe destination.

 Whitehaven Beach - Whitsunday Islands

Whitehaven Beach – Whitsunday Islands by Horst Müller from Pixabay

What are the Best Beaches for Swimming in Australia?

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Best Beaches in Queensland

Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Island

This immaculate, award-winning beach is located on the largest island in the Whitsundays – the Whitsunday Island. Its crystal white silica sand spans 7 kilometers and borders crystal, turquoise-colored waters. Dubbed Australia’s most photographed beach, this beauty looks as spectacular in real life as it does in the pictures.

Whitehaven beach has maintained a pristine, pollution-free environment by prohibiting cigarette smoking and dogs. This policy has kept local and tourist swimmers wanting more of this immaculately clean beach. In 2008, the beach received an award for Queensland Cleanest Beach from Keep Australia Beautiful, and in 2010, CNN named the beach, the top eco-friendly beach in the world.

The sand found on Whitehaven beach is 98% pure silica. It does not retain heat like regular sand, which makes it a dream to walk barefoot along the beach on a hot summer’s day. The sand is so fine, the feeling of walking on it will make you understand why tourists keep going there.

Every year in November, the beach hosts a 2km open swimming competition – the Whitehaven Beach Ocean Swim. This competition is connected to the Hamilton Island Triathlon and is open to tourists and locals.

Four Mile beach Port Douglas Australia

Four Mile Beach, Port Douglas

This exclusive beach starts at the northern rocky headlands and stretches for four more miles with no sight of civilization to interfere with the spectacular view. Imagine the sound of the breeze against the palm trees as you stroll across four whole miles without any sight of a building.

This beach is perfect for swimming. Whether it be the clear waters, snorkeling along the reefs, or lazing on the sand while admiring the ocean and rainforest. If you’ve worked up an appetite after your swim, you won’t have to walk too far to grab a bite. During the wet season, the northern part of the beach uses a stinger net for a safe swimming enclosure.

Burleigh Heads Beach, Gold Coast

This beach is a 2km stretch of sand between South Nobby headland and the Burleigh Heads. It’s one of the most beautiful beaches at the Gold Coast. Even the busy highway alongside this beach doesn’t take away from its clean and pristine beauty.

Locals and tourists can safely enjoy swimming here as lifeguards are constantly patrolling swimming areas. Make sure you stay within the two patrolled areas at Burleigh and North Burleigh. In addition to the two surf life-saving clubs, a lifeguard tower is available for extra protection. Other activities at Burleigh Heads include surfing and fishing.

Noosa Main Beach

Noosa Main Beach, Noosa

This is the prime beach in Noosa. It’s among the few beaches that face north. As a result, the waves are smaller – usually less than one meter high. The sand is flatter. These conditions make it a safe location for swimmers and novice surfers all year round.

The beach is located near the much-frequented Hastings Street famous for shopping, restaurants, bars, and accommodation. Safety is a top priority as the Noosa Surf Lifesaving Club patrols the beach 365 days of the year.

Mooloolaba Beach, Queensland

This expansive white, sandy beach is one of the cleanest beaches on the Queensland coast. Novice swimmers will enjoy its tranquil waters. This family-friendly beach provides several shallow water areas, and the patrolled areas are marked with life-saving flags.

Mooloolaba’s beachfront is the home of accommodation facilities, restaurants, cafes, fashion boutiques, juice bars, and play areas. Of all the Sunshine Coast beaches, this is the safest, especially under normal low wave conditions. Facilities on the beach include a caravan park and the surf life-saving club.

Kings Beach, Caloundra

Located in the urban center of Caloundra, Kings Beach is the most frequented beach in Caloundra. Its clean white sand is an obvious attraction for locals and tourists. This is the ultimate family vacation destination and offers water sport activities like swimming and surfing with a water fountain and play area for the kids.

The Australian Lifeguard Service provides safety by patrolling the pool area. If you’re not into waves, the 25m seawater, lap swimming pool, is an exciting alternative. There’s also a children’s pool. These activities keep the atmosphere fun and festive all year round. Facilities like cafes, ice-cream shops, barbecue, fish ‘n’ chip shops, and an outdoor gym are all within a walkable distance.

Alexandra Headland

Locals fondly call this coastal suburb ‘Alex.’ It’s located between Mooloolaba and Maroochydore CBD. The waves on this beach are typically below one meter. However, the frequent occurrences of rips and the presence of rocks demand that you be careful.

The Alexandra Headland Surf Life Saving Club and the Australian Lifeguard Service enhance the safety of the beach with patrols. Other activities at the beach include surfing, skating, biking, barbecue, and picnics. The Sunshine Coast Shopping Center and other attractions are only minutes away.

Best Beaches in New South Wales

Bondi Beach Panorama

Bondi Beach, Sydney

This world-famous beach is the origin of Australian beach culture. Australia’s first-ever Surf Life Saving Club started here in 1907. That same year, the bathing suit protests ushered in surf bathing as part of popular beach culture.

This iconic beach is open to local and tourist swimmers all year round. It’s a popular swimming destination due to its close proximity to the city center and thriving atmosphere. The beach is usually crowded with swimmers and sunbathers from all walks of life.

The Bondi Icebergs Winter Swimming Club was born in 1929 when a group of committed local lifesavers had a desire to maintain their physical fitness during winter. Swimmers can maintain their membership in the club by competing on three out of four Sundays for five years.

Hyams Beach, NSW

This seaside village is located on the shores of Jervis Bay in New South Wales. Hyams Beach made it to the Guinness Book of records for the whitest sand in the world. With a population of only 290 (as of January 2019), this quiet beach is free from buildings that would interfere with its beauty. It’s also not over-crowded, so you’re guaranteed to find a free spot at any time of the day.

Families enjoy this beach because the soft powdery sand is perfect for playtime on the beach, and the clear, calm water is the best environment for swimming. The Hyams Beach Café is open for breakfast, lunch, and pastries with hot beverages.

Best Beaches in Western Australia

Middleton Beach, Albany

Out of all the sheltered beaches protected by King George Sound, Middleton beach is nearest to the center of Albany (approximately 4km). Its gentle waves make it the perfect spot for snorkeling and swimming. During summer, a pontoon boat is put in the ocean at Ellen Cove for swimmers to dive into the water.

Swimmers can enjoy a sumptuous meal at the restaurant, cafe, or fish and chips shop close by. As you climb up the Ellen Cove Boardwalk, you can’t help but notice the eye-catching view of Middleton Bay and King George Sound.

The Great Ocean Drive, Esperance

West Beach, Esperance

West Beach is located in Esperance, a town in Western Australia. The beach is impeccably spotless, and swimmers are drawn to the clear blue water and clean white sand. The Great Ocean Drive is a self-drive tour on which West Beach will be one of the first stops. The boulders of Dempster Head and two large reefs enhance the amazing view of this beach as a backdrop.

Unlike many breathtaking beaches that you would find in a remote area or near a national park, West beach is uniquely located in a suburban neighborhood. That means if you go to the beach on any day, you’ll find people playing in the water and children running around with their pets.

Cable Beach, Broome

Located on the eastern Indian Ocean, this white sand beach stretches over 22km and features a picturesque backdrop of red ochre cliffs. Its flat and wide surface is ideal for camel rides that normally happen at sunrise or sunset. The tranquil waves at this beach favor swimmers, especially during the dry months (May – October).

Swimmers should be cautious during the wet months (November – April) when box jellyfish (stingers) are present. Usually, you’ll find warning signs on the beach to keep visitors aware. At low tide, you’ll get the opportunity to see 130 million-year-old dinosaur footprints at Gantheaume Point, south of Cable Beach.

Best Beaches in Tasmania

Wineglass Bay

Wineglass Bay, Tasmania

The breathtaking beauty of this beach has made it one of Australia’s most photographed beaches. You can’t help but gaze in awe at the crescent of white sand, circling the dazzling blue ocean with a frame of forested mountains. It’s the kind of view that stays imprinted in your mind long after you’ve experienced its beauty.

This magical sheltered beach is part of Freycinet National Park. It’s 1.7km long and is the ideal spot for swimming, sailing, kayaking, and rock climbing.

Best Beaches in South Australia

Stokes Bay Beach, Kangaroo Island

You can find this secluded paradise on the north coast of Kangaroo Island. It’s an hour’s drive from the largest town, Kingscote, and the perfect place to relax by the beach. It’s the largest cove between Cape Dutton and Cape Cassini along the coast.

A natural barrier of rocks formed a giant pool that protects swimmers from dangerous waves, making it safe for children as well. Other activities at Stokes Bay Beach include snorkeling, surfing, fishing, strolling, and soaking up the sun. Stop by The Rock Pool Cafe for a local seafood meal or opt for a quick fish ‘n’ chips.

Map of Best Beaches in Australia for Swimming

What Sets these Beaches Apart?

Clean and Attractive

These Australian beaches are immaculately spotless. People are naturally drawn to aesthetically pleasing environments. Clear blue waters and clean white sand is the ideal environment for swimmers. They won’t worry about finding dirt or trash along the beach or in the water. Some beaches have even banned pets and smoking to maintain a pristine, pollution-free atmosphere.

Unique White Sand

These beaches have pure white sand, which cannot be found elsewhere else. The powdery white sand at Hyams Beach gave them a place in the Guinness Book of Records. Imagine walking out of the cool, turquoise water after a refreshing swim on a hot day, only to be greeted by hot sand on your feet. Whitehaven beach has 98% silica sand, which does not absorb heat.

Commercial Surroundings

Commercial surroundings make beaches more popular. Most of these beaches are right near restaurants, juice bars, cafes, and landmark hotels. They are conveniently located so swimmers can easily walk from the commercial area to the beach and vice versa. Some of them are lined along the beachfront while others are in a city center close by.

Facilities

Some of these beaches provide family-friendly facilities like children’s swimming pool, children’s playgrounds, water parks, facilities for barbecues and picnics. These facilities make your visit more pleasurable and memorable.

Lifeguard on Duty: Tamarama Beach

Safety

You’ve heard of beaches where safety measures don’t exist, and swimmers get into the water at their own risk. Australia’s best swimming beaches normally have life-saving clubs that patrol the beach most days of the week, some even all days of the year. Some beaches even have lifeguard towers for reinforced safety. On these beaches, the patrolled areas will have life-saving flags so that swimmers know which areas to swim in.

Some swimming beaches are better than others in certain aspects because they look different and formed in different locations. You won’t be drawn to all of them, but we should agree that each beach has something unique about it. Remember, when you’re exploring these swimming destinations, your safety comes first. Everything else comes after that. Make sure the beach you plan to visit prioritizes your safety.

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by Nikos Vasilellis

Nikos Vasilellis is the Founder of Nereids Aquatic Coaching and has a passion and love for aquatic activities which is combined with his care for helping others. Nereids Aquatic Coaching company helps children and adults overcome their fear of water by focusing on their individual strengths and helping them enjoy the aquatic environment.

One Response to “Best Beaches in Australia for Swimming”

Chris Mills

Says:

Great article Nikos. I have to say that I am always interested in people’s views about beaches in Australia – there are over 17,000 of them I believe so it’s not as if we are short of choice! As a resident of the magnificent Sunshine Coast in Queensland I have to say that we kind of tire of all the talk about Noosa Main Beach when there is a coastline here of over 70km, of which Noosa Beach is only one. To any readers of this article, can I suggest that you stay here on the Coast for a week (or two!) and try out some of the others, like Coolum (our favourite) or Mooloolaba which is the most family friendly beach you could hope for. Then of course there is the perennial favourite King’s Beach at Caloundra. They are all patrolled, so just remember to “swim between the flags”! There are also numerous dog friendly beaches here as well where you can let your dogs off leash – the dogs and their owners love that.

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