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10 Best Beaches on the East Coast of Australia (that Aren’t Islands)

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If you have not been to Australia yet, there are many reasons for it being on your list. Australia has almost every landscape you could think of, ranking pretty high amongst the most beautiful in the world. Australia’s most well-known features are mountains, lakes, deserts, beaches, and rainforests.

Australia is home to over 10,000 beaches that the public can access. There is simply no way for anyone to be able to see all of these beaches! (though this would be a challenge most of us would accept) The best way to see everything that Australia has to offer is to travel the country in full. Break this down into Eastern and Western Australia, and you can start to narrow down and research what you want to do on each side.

No matter what, you are guaranteed to hit a beach, two or ten! The beautiful beaches of Australia are so hard to list and compare, but there are some that you should check out more than others! Traveling to Australia can be a big task, but if you plan correctly, you can travel and save some money!

Planning which beach spots you may want to visit before you go gives you a better idea of how to plan your travel route. It is easy to plan way more than you can handle, so be sure to narrow your itinerary down to a reasonable amount of activities.

Keep in mind the best of the best things that you want to see so you know you are getting the most value out of your time. The East Coast of Australia is more well-known to people from other countries.

The East Coast contains Sydney, some parts going into Melbourne, Gold Coast, Brisbane, and Cairns – which holds the Great Barrier Reef!

Breaking down the beaches of the east coast of Australia is no easy task, so it has been narrowed down even more. This list of best beaches contains only the best beaches on the mainland of Eastern Australia, no islands!

Many parts of Eastern Australia can take ferries or boats out to smaller islands attached to the continent. (Some famous islands you may have heard of could be Fraser Island, Morton Island, Whitehaven Island) These beaches are, of course, stunning. They are islands!

Lastly, the beaches on this list are specific in some larger, well-known areas. For example, the Sunshine Coast is home to multiple beaches on the Eastern Coast of Australia, and these smaller beaches within the Sunshine Coast area are on this list.

Map of Beaches on Australia’s Eastern Coast

The Eastern Coast of Australia comprises two states, Queensland and New South Wales. Victoria can sometimes be considered the east, but it does not necessarily start until the southeastern tip of Australia, so no Victoria beaches will be on this list.

Queensland (QLD) is the northernmost state, and New South Wales (NSW) is the southernmost on the East Coast of Australia. The three most beautiful oceans surround the country: the Tasman, Coral, and Indian Oceans.

East Coast of Australia Map with 10 Beaches Marked in Red Dots

Every beach has a different water tint, sand texture, and overall appeal! In addition, some beaches are next to rainforests, some are next to bars, some are next to cliffs, and some are just in the middle of a cove.

All of these factors go into ranking the best beach on the East Coast of Australia!

Ranking Factors for Best Beaches

Four factors go into the ranking of Australia’s best east coast beaches: overall appearance and scenery, activities available within walking distance, nearby break spots, and tendency to be overcrowded.

It is important for a beach to be visually appealing. The best beaches on this list will have beautiful clear water, white sand, and other natural landscapes while sitting on the beach.

Secondly, there should be something else to casually do at the beach besides sitting on the sand or in the ocean. Whether this is walking through a nearby trail or being a good snorkeling spot, there should be something to help entertain you.

Third, there needs to be easy access to a change of scenery. If you have a person with you who can’t sit still but loves the spot, you need to take a break!

This can mean getting out of the sun to go shopping, get food, or even a cocktail! All of the best beaches have a spot to easily take a quick break at.

And lastly, the beach cannot be overcrowded. Too many people mean too much noise, less personal space, and usually less relaxing. The best beaches on the Eastern Coast of Australia are aesthetic, fun, easy-going, and relaxing. It almost sounds like we are looking for a spouse!

Top 10 East Coast Australian Beaches

10. Ellis Beach, QLD

palm tree beach view from ellis beach bar and grill

Ellis Beach is the northernmost beach on this list! Located above Cairns, this beach is a secluded hideaway with a few unique tendencies- landing it on this list. Ellis Beach has a wonderful break spot close by, Ellis Beach Bar and Grill.

Who doesn’t love some barbeque after a swim? In addition, it is a local hidden gem. Being the most northern beach with lifeguards and jellyfish nets, it is about as far north on the east coast as you can safely swim!

Ellis Beach has the break spot and seclusion factors but is not as high on the activities and overall aesthetic factors.

Being in a cove, the beach is a bit smaller, and it is usually a relaxation beach more than an activity beach. If you are looking for a hidden gem to relax at with crystal clear blue water- this may be your jam! This is a wonderful east coast beach in Australia that deserves some attention!

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9. Manly Beach, NSW

Woman Standing at Beach Next to Ocean with Shark Spotting Sign

Manly Beach is located near Sydney and is a great beach with many break spots and activities available. Manly is a breath of fresh air, quite literally, from the big city of Sydney.

Home to many surfers, Manly has waves and the option for many day trips. With a ferry ride that can take you by the Opera House and Bondi Beach, there is definitely plenty to do.

Not to mention, the boardwalk is full of restaurants, bars, and shops nearby. The only reason Manly is not higher up on this list of best East Coast Australian beaches is that the sand is not as pretty as others, swimming can be difficult, and due to the boardwalk, the beach may be overcrowded.

But this is definitely a one-of-a-kind beach offering a lot of activities!

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8. Bondi Beach, NSW

Bondi Beach in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Joseph Oropel / Adobe Stock

Located super close to Manly, Bondi is an iconic Sydney beach spot. It is a must-do beach on the East Coast of Australia because of its sheer uniqueness. Because Bondi is not necessarily a normal beach, it cannot be the best beach in Australia, but it is very worthy of this spot within the top 10.

The beach is visually aesthetic, the water bright blue and pure white sand. The actual beach is situated on a few rocks with two pools. One of which is the famous Bondi Iceberg Pool. The ocean water overflows into this pool, where many beach-goers go.

This beach is so popular. If you go on a weekend, you are almost guaranteed to find many people and many people going in and out. This is a great stop-by but not the best destination for a relaxing day at the beach.

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7. Broken Head Beach, NSW

surfer standing on very white sand looking into water with forrest in background

Broken Head Beach is a less-known version of the popular Byron Bay. Broken Head is a beautiful spot that has a lot of things to look at, and if you come prepared, you can surf, boogie board, or play games on the soft beach.

The best thing about Broken Head Beach is the surroundings. Broken Head is surrounded by cliffs, cliff walks, and rainforests. The beach is beautiful, but there are also plenty of other surroundings.

A bit of a drive away is Byron and many small cafes. Broken Head is usually pretty secluded, but weekends may get busier with families who live nearby. The beauty of the landscapes and seclusion is landing Broken Head on this list of best beaches on the East Coast of Australia!

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6. Hyams Beach, NSW

Hyams Beach in Australia
Katie / Adobe Stock

Hyams Beach is about three hours south of Sydney, closer to Victoria, and the southernmost beach on this list. This beach is probably the best beach when it comes to looks. The sand has the whitest beach in the world, in the Guinness World Records.

The water is in Jervis Bay, combining two beautiful blue watercolor hues. This beach, in addition, can be a spot for whale watching and snorkeling at the right time of year! So there are whales, snorkeling, and beautiful beaches, and it doesn’t seem overpopulated or too well-known.

There is one issue when ranking it to be the best – nothing is around it! This may be great for some but not ideal for others. The beach is far from residences, even as a hidden shore behind some trees. Hyams is a well-deserved spot for its beauty alone, but the full beach package isn’t here!

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5. Palm Cove, QLD

sunset on palm cove beach, sandy grownd wiht multiple spread out palm trees

Just north of Cairns and many beautiful resorts, Palm Cove is a secluded beach that few people will know about. The beach area has, you guessed it, a lot of palm trees. Situated right on the beach area with the smooth sand, the palm trees are great to look at but provide ample shade.

Palm Cove is the perfect place to park a beach blanket and relax. In addition, there are paddleboard and kayak rentals right on the beach for cheap prices! The nearby town is not within walking distance, but just a short drive with well-known countrywide restaurants.

While all the activities are not right at your fingertips, and the restaurants and shops nearby are a bit of a hop and skip away, the water is crystal clear, and the Great Barrier Reef is nearby! Deserving of spot number 5 on the best east coast beaches.

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4. Wategos Beach, NSW

Rocky Beach

Also, a beach close to Byron Bay, Wategos, is a perfect small-town beach with many things to do nearby. Wategos is a beach with some free-standing rocks, which makes it great for snorkeling and diving.

The water is a turquoise color, and in the background of the ocean are mountains and the infamous Byron Bay Lighthouse. A nature walk along the rocks will take you to the lighthouse, and you may also see a few pop-up shops.

Overall, Wategos has all four factors: beauty, activities on the beach, nearby break spots, and mildly secluded.

3. Tweed Heads, NSW

bright blue ocean with forrest and rocks behind it

Right in the middle of the continent is Tweed Heads. Just barely crossing over into New South Wales, Tweed Heads is usually a stopover for most on a road trip, but this can easily be a fun beach day.

Tweed Heads Beach is below a cliff where beachgoers must park atop. At the top of the cliff is a monument showcasing the two states separating and a perfect little cafe, bar, and art gallery combined into one.

The beach is in a small cove, making it a nice swimming and surfing spot for those interested. The view on the beach is one of the Gold Coast skyscraper skylines in the distance, with beautiful water and cliffs. The perfect day could be spent here swimming, walking along the cliff, and in the gallery cafe.

The best part about this beach is that it is easily secluded. This beach is so well-deserved as one of the best beaches in Australia, beyond the east coast.

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2. Noosa Heads, QLD

Surfers in Australia

Noosa, Noosa, Noosa! This is a MUST. This beach is so different than any other beach you will go to and in the best way possible. The elegant town of Noosa itself is one you should visit anyway. The beach you could go to multiple days in a row and have a different experience.

One of the best parts of Noosa is the Fairy Pools. The beach runs along a cliff/ rainforest/ national park. You can access the beach from any point in the national park. There is a trail taking you from Main Beach around the cliff.

The sand is lush on all the beaches within this park, and the waves are fun but not dangerous.

Waves Crashing on White Sand

Within this beach, you can come across fairy pools on the cliff walk. These are a perfect break spot and activity all in one. There are little pools of water between gaps in the cliffs that you can swim in! The Noosa Main Beach has ice cream shops, boutiques, and bars behind it.

Noosa Heads is the best beach for exploring, activities, relaxing, surfing, swimming, and general Australian beach vibes.

The only reason Noosa Heads is not #1 is that it can get a bit crowded. There are only a few fairy pools; if you have to share them with others, they may become crowded! But, nonetheless, this is one of the best beaches on the Australian East Coast.

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1. Burleigh Heads, QLD

Creek Connected to the Ocean

Making it number one of the best east coast beaches in Australia is Burleigh Heads Beach on the Gold Coast! The Gold Coast is known for being a city on a beach, a sight. Burleigh Heads is at the bottom of the Gold Coast, away from the bustling city life.

The best thing about Burleigh Heads is that it has two different beaches in one. You have Burleigh Heads Beach, and then Burleigh Heads National Park leads you to Tallebudgera Creek.

Australia has some of the prettiest lakes, creeks, and oceans. Burleigh Heads brings you everything you could want. White sand, bluest of blue water, a nature park element with trees and amazing lookouts, a secluded creek, and bars, restaurants, and boutiques behind the main beach.

Burleigh Heads truly have all of the elements of a great beach to the fullest extent. The beach, national park, and creek are all some of the most visually appealing in Australia. The National Park has multiple hikes for activities, not to mention a surf school on the main beach.

There are plenty of break spots in restaurants, bars, shops, or at the creek, and the multiple layers of this beach create little secluded nooks and crannies everywhere, making it as private or public as you would want!

Australia is full of the best beaches, the East Coast especially, and Burleigh Heads truly has it all, making it the inevitable number-one spot for the best beach on the east coast of Australia!

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