Australia has one of the largest coastlines in the world, stretching for a total of 34,218km around this vast island nation. Our coastline is also incredibly beautiful and diverse, with stunning scenery and some of the best beaches in the world. With most of the country’s arid interior being largely uninhabitable, 85% of Australia’s population also live along this coastline. As such, Australia has some amazing coastal cities and communities. Outside of the big cities, it is in the small coastal towns that you will experience the real Australia, with the laid-back vibes, sun, surf and sea that is ingrained in the Aussie culture. Here are some of the coolest coastal towns to visit in Australia.
Starting in the far north of tropical Queensland, Cairns has to be one of the most popular coastal tourist towns in the country. It is more of a small city these days, but it’s not big enough to give off that busy city feel. Cairns is known as the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and it makes for a great spot to base yourself for exploring this natural wonder. Accommodation in Cairns is fantastic, with some amazing hotels and resorts on offer, plus plenty of budget options. Tours to the reef and other attractions around Cairns, including the surrounding rainforest covered mountains and tropical beaches, are easily accessible, and Cairns also has an international airport.
Moving down the coast to Southeast Queensland, Noosa is one of the best beach destinations on the scenic Sunshine Coast. It is a popular holiday spot for people heading up from Brisbane, so there are lots of great places to stay here, along with amazing restaurants and shopping. The main Noosa beach is just lovely and there are several other less popular beaches just south of town. Outside of town you can head into the picturesque Sunshine Coast hinterland to visit some other cool towns such as Eumundi, which has an excellent market on Wednesdays and Sundays.
If you’re a backpacker, no trip to Australia should be without a visit to Byron Bay on the northern coast of New South Wales. This cool coastal town has long been a backpacker favourite, but it is not just for budget travellers, with lots of great accommodation options and amazing restaurants and cafes. Byron Bay has always had a bit of a laid-back hippie vibe, with great beaches and the feeling that it would be impossible not to relax here. A walk to the Cape Byron Lighthouse is also a must, where you will visit the most easterly point of the Australian mainland.
It’s hard to pick just one town on the Great Ocean Road – one of Australia’s most beautiful coastal drives – but Lorne would have to be near the top of the list. The town has a real art feel to it and is in a great position for exploring the amazing coastal scenery of the Great Ocean Road. It is just big enough to provide you with all the facilities you need for a nice beach holiday, including excellent dining and boutique style shopping. The surf beach at Lorne is fantastic, and there are lots of other cool beaches to explore close to town, plus all the highlights of the Great Ocean Road are just a short drive away.
Although far less popular compared to the east coast of Australia due to its remoteness, Western Australia has some of the best beaches in the whole country. It also has the largest coastline out of all the states, and this amazing coastline is dotting with postcard perfect beaches which you can often find all to yourself. Little communities also dot the coastline, and one of the best is in the far north of the state. The small town of Broome is remote and might feel like you are flying to another country to get there, but it is well worth the trip. You will feel like you are in the outback and in a stunning beach destination at the same time, making it a unique spot to visit in Australia. Broome is the pearling capital of the country and its beaches are world class but so uncrowded that you can truly relax here. The sunsets in Broome are also some of the best you’ll see, and a camel ride on the beach at sunset is a must.
These are just five out of hundreds of amazing coastal towns you can visit in Australia. Do you have a favourite?