When it comes to beach holidays, Bondi might have the clout but this Australia is also home to a fair share of dreamy coastal towns that deserve to be a part of your next sea change.
For instance, Byron Bay has sublime stretches of coastline with a hippy vibe that can send waves of bliss through the most uptight city slicker.
1. Byron Bay
Byron Bay is an iconic Australian coastal idyll, known for its boho sea changers and forward-thinking community. It also features pristine beaches, World-heritage rainforest and spirited hinterland towns.
Take a kayak tour around Tea Tree Lake to spot inquisitive bottlenose dolphins, or visit the lighthouse at Cape Byron – mainland Australia’s easternmost point. The area also has a range of top-class restaurants and hotels.
A picturesque turquoise inlet, pristine beaches and nearby nature trails draw visitors to this charming coastal hamlet. Its laid-back ethos and top-notch eateries, from rustic beach shacks to imaginative gourmet cuisine, add to its appeal.
Home of the iconic Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge, this stunning city is the epitome of a great getaway. Whether you stroll the sand or take in a show, the scenery is unforgettable.
3. Palm Beach
Affectionately known as ‘Palmy’, this secluded end of Sydney’s Northern Beaches is fringed by serene Pittwater and the Pacific Ocean. This exclusive area draws Sydney’s wealthy to holiday homes dotted with lush gardens and leafy pine trees.
A relaxed Mediterranean vibe makes this petite town a popular stop on Victoria’s Great Ocean Road. Surfers flock to Lorne’s gorgeous stretch of sand, while keen anglers love casting lines from the pier.
4. Mindil Beach
When it comes to sunset-watching, Darwin’s Mindil Beach Casino Resort is the place par excellence. Tuck into multicultural cuisines at the food stalls and end your meal with a Filipino halo halo shaved ice dessert.
While Bondi Beach gets all the attention, this secluded stretch of sand in Byron Bay is equally gorgeous and far less crowded. It’s also home to a thriving arts scene and rejuvenating day spas.
Amid the soaring cliffs and beaches of NSW’s Illawarra Escarpment, this lively city has something for everyone. The city’s pristine surf beaches and rock pools are cool for a dip, while forest trails encircle the city and nearby Mt Keira.
For a dose of history, visit the city’s fascinating museum, which displays 19th-century domestic and industrial Wollongong life. Train enthusiasts will love the Thirlmere railway museum.
Slathered in sun-kissed sand, this little coastal jewel welcomes surfers, beachgoers and joggers from summer through to winter. It also offers a host of stylish cafes and restaurants that add to its magnetic charm.
6.5 kilometres of powdery white beaches and pretty rock pools make it easy to kick back here. When night falls the town’s slick, bright bars come alive, including many with ocean views.
7. Agnes Water
Located just a short drive away from the Great Barrier Reef, Agnes Water and Town of 1770 are surrounded by National & Marine Parks. Spend your days unwinding on a deserted beach, boating the Clarence River or diving on the world-class reefs.
Head to Chinaman’s Beach for dramatic scenery and quiet solitude. Or tackle the Discovery Trail, a short walk that starts behind the museum.
Despite being named for the year Captain Cook first landed in Australia, 1770 feels like a new frontier. This coastal town offers a quaint mix of boutiques and killer restaurants with seaside views to die for.
The sister beach towns of Agnes Water and 1770 are hidden on a gorgeous stretch of sub-tropical surf coastline north of Fraser Island and the Whitsunday Islands. A stay here is the perfect way to acclimatise before your island adventures.
When it comes to iconic beaches, Bondi gets the lion’s share but Sydney’s southern rival Coogee is equally as stunning and less crowded. The town’s cliffside coastal walk is also underrated.
Bouddi National Park is a coastal treasure trove with secluded beachfront camping, family-friendly bushwalks and spectacular lookouts. Join a guided indigenous walking tour to hear stories and experience an Acknowledgement of Country before starting your hike.
10. Margaret River
Located in far north Queensland, this quirky town is the birthplace of Qantas and the home of “Waltzing Matilda.” Visitors come here to explore dinosaur fossils in an onsite museum.
Wineries and craft breweries line the streets of this picturesque coastal retreat. Clifftop and coastal walking trails are popular and the coast’s iridescent waters host humpback whales (Jun–Nov). Secluded natural swimming holes like Greens Pools and Elephant Rocks offer tranquil rejuvenation.