17 Queensland Beaches You Will Love
This list of the most beautiful beaches in Queensland will help you plan a drive up the east coast of Australia or a beach holiday escape.
- The Best Beaches in Queensland from South to North
- Currumbin Beach Gold Coast
- Main Beach North Stradbroke Island
- Tangalooma Beach Morton Island
- Sunshine Beach
- Noosa Main Beach
- Granite Bay Noosa
- Rainbow Beach
- Seventy-Five Mile Beach, K’gari (Fraser Island)
- Northern Beaches and Dolphin Heads Mackay
- Whitehaven Beach
- Strand Beach Townsville
- Radical Bay Magnetic Island
- Mission Beach
- Nudey Beach Fitzroy Island
- Trinity Beach
- Port Douglas (Four Mile) Beach
- Cape Tribulation
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Last year’s lockdown has made it difficult for us to spend time on any Queensland Beaches, so we have called on some of our friends to help pull together the list of some of the most beautiful beaches in Queensland so you can add them to your bucket list for your next road trip north or even a quick flying via one of the states regional airports.
The Best Beaches in Queensland from South to North
If you are planning a road trip up the east coast, you are in luck; we have listed these beaches in order from the NSW border to Cape Tribulation. They have been chosen for their natural beauty and holiday appeal.
Currumbin Beach Gold Coast
Currumbin Beach is a picturesque and peaceful beach in the south of Queensland, just above the border with New South Wales. The Gold Coast region offers many great things to do and see, but Currumbin Beach is a quieter option than the heaving tourist centres like Surfers Paradise.
Featuring unique rock formations and fantastic views of the skyscrapers further up the coast in Surfers Paradise, this Queensland Beach is the perfect spot for a long walk along the sand, a picnic lunch or even a spot of fishing. The beach is also a renowned area for beginner surfers to start learning.
The easily recognisable rock formation, Elephant Rock, is a feature of Currumbin Beach and is also the home of the local surf life-saving club, which is also a great spot for a reasonably priced lunch with a view. Elephant Rock is a great example of ancient volcanic rock that has been eroded over years and years of coastal weather to become the unique formation it is today.
Currumbin Beach is also the site of the local dawn service on ANZAC Day, remembering the fallen soldiers of World War One as the sun rises over Elephant Rock.
Suggested by Emma from Emma Jane Explores
Main Beach North Stradbroke Island
North Stradbroke Island/Minjerribah is the perfect place to recharge the batteries. Just 40 minutes by ferry from Brisbane – so close, yet so far. It has everything you need, the perfect mix of civilisation and wilderness. It’s the world’s second-largest sand island behind Fraser Island.
Main Beach stretches 38 kilometres from Point Lookout to Jumpinpin Inlet, and it’s the longest on the island. At the northern end, the town of Point Lookout is easily accessible and patrolled, loved by swimmers and surfers.
The North Gorge Walk, a must-do when visiting Straddie, starts and finishes in Point Lookout. It is ideal for animal spotting, dolphins, turtles, sharks, mantas and, from June till November, humpback whales – all play in the turquoise waters of the Pacific Ocean.
To access the other parts of Main Beach, you will need a 4WD, and that’s where the fun begins. There is foreshore beach camping, but you must be fully self-sufficient. Hang up your hammock and enjoy the views – milky way during the night and amazing sunrises in the morning.
Suggested by Julia & Sam from Where is Julia and Sam
Tangalooma Beach Morton Island
A short boat ride from Brisbane lies a sand island that is full of adventure. While there are many things to do on Moreton Island, the beach is arguably the main attraction. Tangalooma Beach is a must-see beach in Queensland.
You will see the beach as you approach the island on the boat. All of a sudden, the water colour changes from a darker, murky blue to a bright, clear blue in the distance. The shoreline is usually full of people engaging in all sorts of beach activities. At 8 km long, there is so much to explore.
Just offshore there are placed shipwrecks that make for a perfect snorkelling experience. The shipwrecks are home to many fish, and if you’re lucky, you will see some other ocean creatures. Take care if you decide to swim out to the wrecks, as there is a strong current at times.
Taking one of the island’s tours can give you peace of mind, as there will be guides in the water with you. Because of the clarity of the water, this is a perfect place for glass-bottomed kayaking. If you get tired of ocean activities, you can walk along the long beach. There are usually dolphins that swim close to the shore at sunset, which is an extraordinary sight.
The one tricky thing about visiting the island is food. The nearby Tangalooma Resort does not allow visitors to access their restaurants, which means the options are limited. You can drive to Castaways in the north part of the island.
Moreton Island truly is a paradise, and being so close to a major Queensland city makes it the perfect day trip or short holiday.
Suggested by Samantha from A Truthful Traveler
Noosa is home to more than its share of beautiful Queensland beaches and we feature three because we could not choose just one!
The Sunshine Coast of Queensland has more stunning beaches than you could count, but you’ll find one of the best at Sunshine Beach in Noosa. This 15km sandy beach is massively popular with surfers for its consistency and clean waves, and people travel from across Australia and even the world to surf here!
If you’re not interested in surfing, Sunshine beach is still a gorgeous place to sunbathe and is loved by families. Lifeguards patrol every day, meaning you can swim or surf without worrying about safety.
Sunshine Beach is free to visit and, since it’s a bus journey away from central Noosa, it is normally quiet and spacious. It’s also the starting point for the Noosa National Park coastal walk, a 5.4km hiking trail. This walk is one of the best things to do in Noosa and is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the region.
After a day of sunbathing and surfing at Sunshine Beach, don’t miss stopping by one of the many cafes and restaurants in the area. Sum Yung Guys restaurant is a local favourite for epic Asian food, and FOMO is the most popular to head for a post-surf beer.
Suggested by Ella from Many More Maps
Noosa Main Beach
There are several reasons Noosa’s Main Beach is of the best Sunshine Coast beaches for a seaside holiday. Main Beach is part of a World Surfing Reserve. As a north-facing beach, it is perfect for families and kids learning to surf.
The beach is patrolled year-round by lifesavers from the Noosa Heads Surf Life Saving Club. The club’s history dates back to 1928 and an excellent bistro where the seafood platter for two is a popular item on the menu.
Noosa’s Main Beach has a relaxed vibe and is next to the famous Hastings Street, packed with cafes, bars, restaurants, and boutiques. There is plenty of accommodation to suit a range of budgets, including beachfront rooms and apartments. At night, the timber boardwalk along the beach lights up like a fairyland and is a romantic spot to stroll while watching the sunset.
Besides learning to surf, other water activities include stand-up paddle boarding, windsurfing, fishing, jet skiing and boating. Main Beach is also the venue of several popular events, such as the Noosa Festival of Surfing. There are several fabulous nature walks in Noosa National Park at one end of the beach, including a 4.5km track to Sunshine Beach.
Suggested by Christina from Travel 2 Next
Check out our first timers guide to visiting Noosa for more ideas of fun things to do
Granite Bay Noosa
Noosa National Park, wrapped around a stunning section of Queensland coastline at Noosa Heads, is riddled with many concealed coves and sandy beaches. One standout spot along this coast is Granite Bay, tucked beneath a walking track that stretches around the headland.
This sheltered beach is lapped by sparkling azure waters, and secluded by boulders of granite that jut out at either end, hence the name. As it is contained entirely within the national park, the inland surroundings are green and rainforested, with an array of wildlife to be seen. Marine life is abundant too, and occasionally you can even spot turtles, dolphins and whales off the shore.
Granite Bay is located a couple of kilometres east of Noosa Heads Main Beach. It makes for a peaceful alternative if you want to escape the crowds. It is easy to reach via a gentle walk along the coastal path, with some impressive viewing spots along the way.
Continue past Granite Bay to the cliff-top lookout point at Hell’s Gates. When you get there, try some wild swimming in the natural Fairy Pools nearby.
Low tide is the best time to visit Granite Bay when you can enjoy the cosy beach at its fullest. Bring a picnic and plenty of water, and it’s a lovely spot to relax, soak up the natural scenery and watch surfers out on the swell.
Suggested by Alex Trembath, Career Gappers
Jump in the car and take a self-guided tour of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland
Rainbow Beach is one of the must-see Queensland beaches due to its multi-coloured cliffs and its mineral-rich sand. The beach gets its name from the rainbow dunes, and the Kabi people state that this happened when a spirit – Yiningie – plunged into the cliffs after a conflict with a malicious tribesman.
It is a common stop-off destination on the way to Fraser Island and is a popular spot for outdoor enthusiasts.
Rainbow Beach has the longest surf break in Australia, which means it is a great idea to get on the water or opt for a surf lesson. It is a well-patrolled beach throughout the year, with designated swimming areas and lifeguards on duty.
Also, if you opt to go on a boat or kayak tour, you will have the chance of seeing an abundance of marine life. It is not uncommon to see dolphins, turtles, manta rays, stingrays. From June – November, you may be lucky enough to see Humpback Whales.
Nearby, you can visit the spectacular 15 hectares Carlo Sand Blow (a moonscape dune) and the freshwater Poona Lake. Also, 7.5km from Rainbow Beach is Seary’s Creek, a popular spot to swim or walk on the boardwalk through woodland.
The laid back town’s eateries are all on the main street – bakeries, pubs and cafes. An excellent restaurant to try is the popular Italian – Arcobaleno on the Beach, but ensure you book ahead to reserve your table!
Suggested by Rachel from Average Lives
Seventy-Five Mile Beach, K’gari (Fraser Island)
Stretching the entire length of Fraser Island’s (K’gari) east coast, 75 Mile Beach is a National gazetted highway and is the gateway to all the island’s main attractions. With huge stretches of wide sandy beach, this stunning beach is perfect for driving. It is not suited to swimming with its rough waters and healthy shark population. Nevertheless, this is one of the Queensland beaches you don’t want to miss!
While you may not be able to swim in the ocean off 75 Mile Beach, there are many other places along the beach for swimming. One of the most popular areas for a splash is Eli Creek, a natural lazy river that gently flows from inland out to the beach. Another brilliant swimming spot is the Champagne Pools. This is where the ocean fills these natural rock pools, creating a bubbly champagne-like swimming experience.
K’gari which means “paradise” is the traditional name given to the island by the Butchulla people
Other iconic Fraser Island attractions also call 75 Mile Beach home, including the Maheno Shipwreck, Indian Rock, Wabby Lake, Hammerstone Sand Blow, Ocean Lake, Nkgala Rocks, Waddy Point and more. From 75 Mile Beach, you can also drive inland to reach the island’s other attractions, including the world-famous Lake McKenzie.
There are a few little towns along 75 Mile Beach where you can stop in for lunch. The first town from the south is Eurong, which is home to the Eurong Resort. Here you’ll find the most options for food, including a restaurant and bakery. Then there is Happy Valley, Cathedrals, and Orchid Beach; all towns have great little cafes/pub-style places where you can grab a meal.
While driving up 75 Mile Beach, be sure to have a 4WD with high clearance and carry recovery gear with you at all times. Plus, be sure to stay off the beach for two hours on either side of high tide.
Suggested by Melissa from Queensland Camping
Northern Beaches and Dolphin Heads Mackay
Mackay has over 31 beautiful beaches to choose so which do you pick if you are looking for things to do in Mackay? My recommendation is to head to the Northern Beaches. Located a short 20-minute drive from Mackay’s CBD, the Northern Beaches comprises Black’s Beach, Eimeo Beach, Bucasia Beach and Dolphin Heads.
Blacks Beach is Mackay’s longest beach and offers 6kms of palm tree-fringed golden sands. Bucasia Beach, at 4 km long, is a pet-friendly beach popular for swimming and fishing.
Eimeo Beach is in a sheltered bay and is a popular beach with local families. The beach is patrolled during the summer months. On your way, drive through the beautiful Mango Avenue, which is a heritage-listed attraction. The 80-year-old mango trees form a canopy above the street.
Nearby Dolphin Heads is a rocky headland and beach which can be reached from Eimeo Beach at low tide. Named because of its shape, which resembles 2 dolphin heads, this is a popular destination for photographers. Alternatively, head to the Dolphin Heads Resort or Eimeo Pacific Hotel for lunch and superb views of the Coral Sea and southern Whitsundays islands.
Suggested by Tracy from Tracy’s Travels in Time
Whitehaven Beach might be one of the most famous beaches in Australia, or maybe even the world. With 98% silica, the sand on this beach is one of the whitest you can find and makes Whitehaven Beach a favourite among tourists.
Located on the Whitsunday Islands, you can only access Whitehaven Beach via boat. Much of the islands are a protected nature reserve, although some neighbouring islands have a good selection of resorts.
Most visitors come to Whitehaven Beach on a day trip with one of the many boat tour companies that offer guided tours. You can relax on the beach, go for a swim or snorkel in one of the nearby coves. There are also some hiking or camping opportunities nearby, although you should plan to stay a few days if you’re interested in that.
The best time to visit Whitehaven Beach is in the early morning before the crowds of tourists arrive. Make sure you have plenty of time at the beach so you can really enjoy the incredible beauty of this gorgeous spot. Sometimes you can spot sea turtles nearby, so don’t forget to pack your camera.
Contributed by Victoria from My Australia Trip
Strand Beach Townsville
The 2.2 km Strand promenade stretches along Townsville’s premier ocean frontage. Alongside and forming an integral part of the promenade is Strand Beach.
At one end of Strand Beach is the Rock Pool, and at the other, Strand Boat Marina. The beach is interrupted briefly by some interesting man-made headlands and Strand Jetty, all with wonderful views of Magnetic Island.
Although surf is not huge in Townsville, Surf Lifesavers patrol the Rock Pool, Stinger Enclosures 1 & 2 and Strand Waterpark.
Strand Beach has won several awards for Cleanest Beach and in 2021 was awarded best beach by Queensland Surf Lifesavers
The Lifesaver award took into consideration nearby facilities and safety. The Strand has great amenities, is beautifully landscaped and offers restaurants, cafes and the historic Seaview Hotel with a newly renovated beer garden.
There are many opportunities to swim safely at Strand Beach, and children love the playgrounds and standing beneath the big bucket at Strand Waterpark to cool down.
Have a beach volleyball game near the Rock Pool, walk or ride an e-scooter to The Ville Casino, Jezzine Park or Queens Gardens at the base of Castle Hill.
Getting around the Strand is as easy as jumping on an Orange or Purple E Scooter, riding, skating or walking.
Shorehouse Restaurant at the rock pool end of the Strand is our favourite for Asian inspired tapas, cocktails and ocean views from the open-air deck and bar, not forgetting their air-conditioned dining area for those super hot days.
Suggested by Jan from Budget Travel Talk
Radical Bay Magnetic Island
When looking for the must-see Queensland beaches, you can’t go by Radical Bay, on Magnetic Island. This 52 kilometres squared Island is just a short, 30-minute boat ride off the coast of Townsville, in Tropical North Queensland. There are over 2000 people permanently living on Magnetic Island, although over 200,000 tourists will visit each year.
The beautiful Radical Bay is on the Northern side of the island and is only accessible if you have a four-wheel drive. Alternatively, it’s only 3 kilometres to walk one way down the road and enjoy this beach. It’s listed as an official hike on Magnetic Island, and there are a few stops along the way.
This is a tropical-looking beach with plenty of room and where to go to get away from the crowds. It’s exceptional for swimming, and you can snorkel around the edges of the bay for creatures like blue-spotted rays and plenty of fish life.
Tip: While you are there, tick off an Instagram #goal with the famous Radical Bay Piano. Play a tune and get that ultimate photo in this prime spot.
If you’re after a quick bite to eat, then stop by Horseshoe Bay, where there are many cafes and restaurants to choose from. Life literally stops while you’re relaxing here on the Island and is surely not to be missed.
Suggested by Chris Fry from Aquarius Traveller
Not only is Mission Beach one of the best-looking beaches in Australia, but it’s in one of the most relaxed and happified towns. Conveniently, also called Mission Beach.
The beach is covered in lush green palm trees, and this is probably what makes it stand out from the rest of the beaches in Australia. You can frame your own famous photo of yourself hanging off or laying on the curved trees pointing towards the ocean.
If that wasn’t enough, there are many coconuts scattered along the beach, ready to be eaten. Make sure you go coconut hunting on your visit.
If you dare, Mission Beach is very popular for skydiving. It is one of a handful of places you get to land on the beach. It would be a glorious sight, skydiving looking down on the beautiful ocean, sand and palm trees.
The locals of Mission Beach are very friendly and welcoming. The vibe of the locals and the whole town can be summed up in a local Café. The family-run café is called Bingil Bay Café; it has a hippy vibe with colourful 1970’s décor with live music every Friday night.
Mission Beach is great to stop over on a bigger journey on the East Coast. 1-2 days is recommended, but be sure not to skip this town.
Suggested by Kerrie & Woody, Just Go Travelling
Nudey Beach Fitzroy Island
If you close your eyes and imagine a post-card perfect beach, you’ve likely just envisioned Nudey Beach on Fitzroy Island, Queensland. With pristine white coral sand contrasting beautifully against lush green vegetation and turquoise waters, it is truly one of Queensland’s must-see beaches.
Visiting Fitzroy Island is one of the best things to do in Cairns. Just a short 45-minute ferry ride from the city, it offers the perfect place to soak up the year-round sun away from the crowds. So whether you just want to kick back and relax on the beach, discover the Great Barrier Reef or immerse yourself in tropical rainforest, it’s a great escape from the city. If you have more time, it’s well worth considering staying the night on this tropical island to truly explore.
Surrounded by the Great Barrier Reef, Nudey Beach provides the perfect place to explore this natural wonder. It is a particularly great spot for children or those new to snorkelling as the reef that fringes the beach is shallow and easy to reach. Here you can come face to face with an array of technicoloured fish, and if you’re lucky, you may even spot a sea turtle or reef shark.
Additionally, 97% of the island is a national park, with many trails on offer through the verdant rainforest. So for the more adventurous, you can take a hike and look for some of the island’s unique wildlife, including goons, skinks and ospreys.
Suggested by Sophie and Adam from We Dream of Travel
Commonly referred to as The Northern Beaches, several beaches sit around 20-30 minutes north of Cairns city. They are known for their stunning soft golden sand, and beautiful palm-tree lined esplanades. Palm Cove is probably the most well known but comes with the price tag; curious day-trippers and an air of exclusivity to match too. We found our paradise just minutes further south on the more laid-back Trinity Beach.
An incredibly beautiful and family-friendly beach, the waves here are gentle and there is a substantial amount of shade to escape to at the peak of the day along the Vasey Parade. There are several dining options available along the main street for dine-in or take out, along with several low-rise holiday apartments sitting along the beachfront, meaning room to beach in about 30 seconds!
It is not a huge beach in Queensland terms; you can stroll end to end and back within an hour. Heading to the southern end of the beach, you can take on a short coastal walk over the rocks to Taylors Point for some stunning sunrise views over the Pacific Ocean.
Facilities at the beach are of a high standard, spotted with barbecue areas, playgrounds, shaded pergolas, outdoor showers, bathrooms, and the beach is Australian Surf Life Saver patrolled. In the warmer month’s stinger nets are installed for safe swimming.
Undoubtedly one of Queensland’s more laid-back paradises within each reach of the top tourist attractions of Far North Queensland and wonderful family and dog-friendly. Check out Our Globetrotters essential Queensland road trip tips.
Suggested by Our Globetrotters
Port Douglas (Four Mile) Beach
Where the forest meets the sea, Four Mile Beach is a stunning sight from the lookout on top of Flagstaff Hill. A long golden beach with palm trees and coconut. This is exactly the type of beach most people think of when they think of tropical Australia.
Stingers call the beach home from November to May, so while there is a swimming enclosure at the northern end, many people prefer to stroll on the beach rather than take a dip. However, the stinger net area is also croc proof, so if you want to swim here, I would certainly stick to the area. The familiar red and yellow flags will help you find the nets.
This is the perfect walking beach, if you make it all the way to the southern end, you will find it joins the Mowbray River.
A beach accessible wheelchair is available from Macrossan House, and delivery can be arranged to your hotel
The long flat, and usually pretty compacted sand makes this the perfect spot for cycling or running and even some beach cricket, and while there are no official picnic areas backing on the beach, the shade provided by the palm trees make this a great spot to settle in for a lazy afternoon.
While tourism is the primary industry in North Queensland, they have kept the resorts here low rise and mostly hidden by trees, maintaining the look of a deserted paradise. There is an enormous range of great places to stay here and it’s hard to make a choice. We have written a guide to the pros and cons of the different areas to stay that might help
Hungry? It’s about a 5-10-minute walk into town, but Port Douglas Surf Club has a bar and restaurant perfect for lunch by the sea. There is a bbq area at Jalun Park at the Northern end of the beach.
Suggested by us!
The only place in the world where two World Heritage sites come together is Cape Tribulation Beach in Tropical North Queensland. The Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef collide at this beautiful deserted white sand beach, where you find ancient rainforests, creatures that most closely resemble dinosaurs, crystal clear waters and almost complete isolation from the urbanised world.
Located approximately 140 kilometres north of Cairns, along the Great Barrier Reef Drive, Cape Tribulation Beach is the perfect place for an epic 4WD adventure along the iconic Bloomfield Track. Explore the beautiful Daintree River on a boat tour and if you’re lucky, you might spot a crocodile or cassowary.
Other things to do around Cape Tribulation include mountain biking, taking a boat trip out to the Great Barrier Reef, explore the boardwalk tracks that wind through the jungle, take a dip in freshwater rainforest pools, or learn about the fascinating indigenous history of the area.
Except for a few luxury eco-lodges, tropical beach houses and camping sites, there is limited accommodation around Cape Tribulation Beach, so you’ll have to book early.
Alternatively, the beautiful beachside town of Port Douglas is only a short drive away. It offers a wonderful variety of accommodation options, great cafes and restaurants and a tropical, family-friendly holiday vibe.
Suggested by Amanda Twine from Fly Stay Lux
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