Arrivals & Departures Australia’s top 20 best beaches

Photo of Angie Tomlinson

Guess which beach has been named Australia’s best?

Described by Charles Darwin as “heavenly” in 1836, Cossies Beach on Cocos (Keeling) Island off the coast of Western Australia has been named Australia’s best beach.

The 300m stretch of powder white sand that meets emerald and turquoise water topped Australia’s 11,761 beaches as the best, according to beach expert Brad Farmer.

Mr Farmer, who is recognised by Tourism Australia as a “Friend of Australia” and who has been researching, writing books and reviews about beaches since 1985, revealed Australia’s 101 best beaches with the Federal Minister for Territories and Regional Development Fiona Nash at Bondi Beach on the weekend.

The remote Cossies Beach, 4.5 hours' flight from Perth, was named after Australia’s Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove.

Australia has 10,654 mainland beaches and 11,761 including 30 large islands. According to Professor Andy Short, only 16 per cent of Australian beaches are accessible by conventional road, a further 12 per cent via unsealed roads, 29 per cent by four-wheel-drive. Some 43 per cent are inaccessible.

The top 20 beaches for 2017 are:

1. Cossies Beach, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Indian Ocean

2. Nudey Beach, Fitzroy Island, Far North Queensland

3. Moonee Beach, Coffs Coast, New South Wales

4. Turquoise Bay, Coral Coast, Western Australia

5. Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast, Queensland

6. Maslin Beach, Adelaide, South Australia

7. Dolly Beach, Christmas Island, Indian Ocean

8. Shelly Beach, Nambucca Coast, New South Wales

9. Boat Harbour Beach, North West Coast, Tasmania

10. Apollo Bay, Great Ocean Road, Victoria  

11. Horseshoe Bay Beach, Capricorn Coast, Queensland

12. Garie Beach, Royal National Park, Sydney, New South Wales

13. Merewether Beach, Newcastle, New South Wales

14. Long Beach, Great Keppel Island, Capricorn Coast, Queensland

15. Hawks Nest Beach, Myall Coast, New South Wales

16. Camp Cove, Sydney, New South Wales

17. Broken Head Beach, Byron Coast, New South Wales

18. Narrawallee Beach, Shoalhaven Coast, New South Wales

19. Dynamite Bay, Coral Coast, Western Australia

20. Ellis Beach, Far North Queensland

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