A survey of travel experts reveals the top 10 most charming beach towns in Australia.
We asked 50 travel writers, photographers and a few professionals to name what they found the most attractive holiday destinations in Australia. Respondents were asked to pick their three favorite resorts, in no particular order, and we collated these results into a top 10.
So, what do we know about Australia’s vast coastline? There is no denying the impressive diversity of natural and man-made landscapes that surround Australia’s coast, from the more developed eastern seaboard to the Indian Ocean sunset in the west.
But wherever you visit the Australian coast, you’ll find miles of sun, sand and surf, lazy beach towns and an abundance of top-notch dining options, whether it’s rustic beach huts serving fresh sea fish or fine dining restaurants serving imaginative cuisine.
Here, needless to say, in alphabetical order, you will find what many people consider the most charming beach towns in Australia.
Aireys Inlet, Victoria.
Nestled between bush and beach, this gorgeous little village encapsulates the enduring charm of the rugged coast of Australia’s southeastern coast. The diverse natural landscape is juxtaposed with picturesque landmarks and pristine white sandy beaches that attract a large number of visitors each year. Visually, the town’s most prominent attraction is the Split Point Lighthouse, with many nearby walking trails to enjoy and even more spectacular trails through the Great Otway National Park. The local creeks and beaches are also great places to fish.
Airlie Beach, Queensland
For most visitors to Airlie Beach, their time here is a prelude to their main activity – a trip to the nearby Whitsunday Islands. However, it’s not surprising that it was in the top 10 in our survey. The town has a delightful, laid-back tropical feel, ideal for acclimating to your surroundings before your island adventure. The lush rainforests of the lush Whitsunday Coast give everyone who comes here a sense of peace and tranquility, and the quaint boutiques, cafes and shops on the town’s main drag have a similar effect. You can also schedule time to relax at the Airlie Beach Lagoon.
Apollo Bay, Victoria
No matter which way you look at it, there’s no escaping the beauty of Apollo Bay. Apollo Bay is located in the foothills of Ottawa National Park and is filled with waterfalls, ferns and clear streams. In short, it’s a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts. That’s not to say that there are also many man-made attractions here, including gift shops, galleries, tea houses and a plethora of culinary delights to choose from. There’s also a vibrant weekend market selling local crafts, art, antiques and fresh produce, all of which have helped Apollo Bay gain a foothold in the hearts of many voters.
Broome, Western Australia
With its off-the-beaten-path feel, multicultural population and typical inland hospitality, Broome offers more than just a traditional beach vacation. That’s not to say beach lovers won’t enjoy every minute of it, as its pristine, uncrowded coastline gives it a sense of solitude, a rare privilege on Western Australia’s bustling coastline. However, it would be a real shame if you didn’t delve into Bloom’s rich cultural heritage. If you find yourself drawn to the water again, you can take a cruise to a local pearl farm and see for yourself how Broome became the Pearl Capital of Australia.
The laid-back, chic vibe, with a hint of luxury, is a reasonable summation of this charming seaside town nestled on the north coast of New South Wales. There are some of the best beaches in the area, spectacular coastal trails and amazing marine life, while surfing, snorkeling, kayaking and reef diving are just some of the most popular activities here. For a bird’s eye view, you can jump in a hot air balloon, or a true adrenaline junkie might prefer tandem skydiving and hand gliding.
Eden, New South Wales
When you go to the name “Eden”, expectations demand that you have to be pretty special, and this beach town doesn’t disappoint. With its rugged coastline, golden sand dunes and ancient forests, it’s a nature lover’s paradise, while wildlife lovers will enjoy plenty of whale watching and bird watching opportunities. In fact, if you happen to be visiting during the migratory season, it’s also one of the best places in Australia to see humpback whales. Eden is also one of the deepest natural harbours in the southern hemisphere, with a lively atmosphere created by a conveyor belt of cruise ships and cruise ships that add to its charm.
The laid-back, Mediterranean-style vibe is probably the best way for Lorne to set itself apart from the rest. The town’s unique feel, combined with its lively arts community, makes it one of Australia’s most popular beach resorts. The first stop for many visitors is Lorne Surf Beach, and keen anglers often head straight to Lorne Pier, which is a great place to fish. In the meantime, the kids love exploring the rock pools at Shelley Beach. If you can drag yourself away from the coastline, take a stroll inland and stroll through Lorne’s main shopping district, which is full of boutique gift shops, wine cellars, restaurants and galleries.
Port Douglas, Queensland
There’s no doubt that the aptly named Four Mile Beach, the core attraction of Port Douglas, is a white sandy beach surrounded by palm trees that attracts beach lovers from all directions. But this quaint and rich fishing village has much more to offer than its idyllic coastline. There’s also plenty of shopping, dining and drinking opportunities, and if you’re into yachting, head to Dickson Inlet and Reef Marina, where the luxurious gin palace is moored. Port Douglas. For a superb excursion, the Great Barrier Reef’s outer parameters and less than an hour offshore.
Port Victoria Fairy
The last destination on Victoria’s famous shipwrecked coast, this small fishing village is dotted with beautiful 19th century cottages and old stone churches that exude charm. While one might expect the place to feel a little sleepy, it doesn’t take long to realize that there is a surprisingly lively atmosphere, largely due to the strong cultural atmosphere in the village. Walking down the coast to the city centre, you’ll find several antique and craft shops, while Fairy Harbor hosts Australia’s largest music festival, the Fairy Harbor Folk Festival, every year. As for more geological types of pursuits, don’t be surprised to see surfers or boating enthusiasts wandering the grounds, as the village is a popular spot for water sports enthusiasts, who often surf on the three main beaches.
Wye River, Victoria
The famous English poet T.S. Eliot said, “The journey, not the destination,” and few words could be truer than this one in the case of the Wye River. This coastal town sits on one of the most spectacular sections of the Great Ocean Road off the southeast coast of Australia and is the end of one of the best road trips in the world. Upon arrival, you’ll find the landscape is rugged cliffs and lush mountain foliage, while the main sandy beach is surrounded by rocky pillars and reefs that appeal to fishing enthusiasts and intrepid explorers all year round.