A guide to Australia’s most pristine and serene secret beaches

From hidden coves to calm bays, we’ve scouted out the low-down on the top little-known beaches Down Under

Don’t get us wrong — we love a good beach crowd. The frothing surfers, the glistening sunbathers, the little ankle-biters messing around in the sand… there’s a special kind of comradery found in the shared pursuit of fun in the sun. But when parking takes 30 minutes to find, there’s nary a spot to lay a towel or stake an umbrella, and the lineup is about as stacked as the spaghetti jaffle you had for lunch, it’s time to start thinking about trading Manly for Moonee.

Dreaming of beaches dotted with seashells instead of sunshades? Ready to catch a wave with ease instead of bumping elbows with the competition? Lather yourself with zinc, suit up in your coolest togs, and read on for our guide to some of Australia’s most pristine and serene secret beaches.

Whether you’re looking for hidden beaches in your region or the most popular coastal destinations across the country, our experts at Westpac Concierge are here to be your guides to the lesser known, the world renowned, and everything in between. Want to elevate your beach experience with stays at five-star hotels and reservations at the hottest new restaurants? Our experts can help with that too. If you’re a Westpac cardholder, you might already be eligible for our insider advice.

Click here to to find out. 

Best secret beaches in New South Wales

Reef Beach, Sydney

Best for: A picnic pitstop  

Tucked away at Dobroyd Head, Reef Beach is a secluded section of shoreline just outside Sydney Harbour. Situated right along the well-loved Manly Scenic Walkway, it’s the ideal spot to stop for picnicking, swimming, and sunbathing while enjoying the incredible views across the harbour to Manly. If the tide is low and you’re lucky, you may even be able to spot indigenous carvings on the rocks. 

Moonee Beach, Coffs Harbour

Best for: Kiddos learning to swim  

Delightfully entangled with the Moonee Creek Estuary, Moonee Beach offers clear and calm shallow waters that are perfect for little ones learning to swim. A quiet and secluded spot, Moonee beachgoers can enjoy calm picnics, swimmer-free waves, low-competition fishing for bream and flathead, and potential kangaroo sightings.

If you’re looking for something a bit more active, take a kayak out for a paddle on the smooth waters. 

Hyams Beach, Jervis Bay

Best for: Powderwhite sands 

If visions of snow-white sands and clear turquoise waters are dancing in your head, then Hyams is the beach of your dreams. Located on the shores of Jervis Bay Marine Park, it’s also known for its abundant marine life.

Bottlenose dolphins, fur seals, and cute penguins regularly play here, and humpback and southern right whales make an appearance each year during their migration, which usually occurs between June and August. 

Be a better beachgoer tip #1: Pack it in, pack it out

Camping’s favourite slogan applies to beach life too. We all love beach barbeques, with beers and burgers, but don’t forget to take the empty cans and cast-off containers with you.

Our pro advice for making sure trash doesn’t end up in the claws of a crab? Bring your own trash bag or trash can and make it the centrepiece of your picnic.

Best secret beaches in Victoria

Diamond Bay, Mornington Peninsula

Best for: Surf fishing 

Named after Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, this beach will beckon you with its impressive sandstone cliffs and inviting waters. The extensive rock platforms hugging the cove create a protected area that’s ideal for surf fishing. However, if you prefer lying out for a tan over casting a line, there’s a lovely strip of beach at the base of the bluffs — just make sure to keep track of the tides. 

Shelley Beach, Mornington Peninsula

Best for: Finding seashells (surprise, surprise) 

Neatly tucked between Sorrento and Portsea, this sandy cove is well-loved for its seashell-riddled shores, private jetties, colourful boat sheds, and retro bathing boxes set among the tea trees. Though it’s only a short 90-minute drive from Melbourne, the beach’s limited parking and two access ramps make it rather exclusive, ensuring that you’ll have plenty of space to frolic.  

Half Moon Bay, Black Rock

Best for: Rugged beauty 

Surrounded by ragged rock faces, this beach offers that sense of untouched nature so many of us Bondi and Manly beachgoers crave. The soaring bluffs and crescent shape of the beach protect it from the north wind, making it a popular place for boats to anchor and kids to play in the calm waters. When you’re not swimming or docked at your boat, try out local favourite Cerberus Beach House for a post-swim snack. 

Best secret beaches in Queensland

Mon Repos Beach, Bundaberg

Best for: Seeing baby turtles 

If the thought of tiny baby turtles pattering across the sand to the great ocean beyond warms your heart, then make plans to visit Mon Repos between November and March. During this time, you can join a ranger-guided Turtle Encounter tour to witness the baby turtles’ feat firsthand. The largest turtle rookery in the South Pacific, it remains one of the most undeveloped and protected beaches in Queensland.  

Casuarina Beach, Mackay Region

Best for: Instagram-worthy beach kangaroos and wallabies 

Calling this beach a secret these days may be a stretch… but we’d be remiss not to include it on our list just because of its social media virality. What was once a remote shore in Cape Hillsborough National Park is now a bucket-list destination for Instagrammers worldwide. The draw? Every day, just before dawn, groups of kangaroos and wallabies hop down to the sand to forage for seaweed, mangrove seed pods, and other breakfast snacks.

Woorim Beach, Bribie Island

Best for: Peaceful island ambience 

An island you can drive to? That’s about as ideal as it gets. Just North of Brisbane is Bribie Island, connected to the mainland by an 830-plus-metre bridge. All around the island are calm beaches with stunning views of the Glass House Mountains and Moreton Island, but Woorim Beach stands out for its small, consistent waves — perfect for splashing in the shallows and open-water swims. 

Be a better beachgoer tip #2: Check your sunscreen’s ingredients

Slathering on some high SPF is key to having a fun and safe beach-day experience, but make sure to read your sunscreen's ingredients' label before applying it. Many lotions and oils contain a chemical called oxybenzone, which can harm the internal structure of corals and cause coral bleaching. Learn more about marine-toxic and marine-safe ingredients

Best secret beaches in Western Australia

Chidley Point Reserve, Mosman Park

Best for: Beachside barbeques 

Tucked away in the suburbs of Mosman Park, this beach on the banks of the Swan River has all the features one could need for a day at the beach, from picnic tables and barbeques to green grass and salty sands. A calm beach with shallow waters, it’s the perfect place to launch a kayak or paddleboard, or frolic with the family and watch the boats putter by. 

James Price Point, Dampier Peninsula

Best for: Pitching a tent 

Known as one of the best free camping spots in Australia, this beach is the ideal destination for those looking to reconnect with nature and enjoy life’s simple pleasures. The striking red cliff faces that line the beach further accentuate its rugged, prehistoric appeal and create little nooks for staking a post, pitching a tent, and setting up camp.  

Sydney Street Beach, Cottesloe

Best for: Salty pooches 

Sydney may get a lot of attention for its coastal living and beach breaks, but Cottesloe, a suburb of Perth, offers all the joys of living on the water without the hustle and bustle of a beach like Bondi. Sydney Street Beach is the local ocean access point in Cottesloe and is a favourite neighbourhood spot for dog owners looking to tire out their peppy pooches.  

Best secret beaches in South Australia

Sellicks Beach, Fleurieu Peninsula

Best for: Rolling right up 

One of the few beaches where parking is allowed on the sand, Sellicks makes it easy to show up for a full day at the beach with all the gear, supplies, and toys at the ready. Though it’s just an hour from Adelaide, the beach feels rural and remote as it’s surrounded by the green slopes of the Sellicks Hill range. 

Pondalowie Bay Beach, Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park

Best for: Multisport groups 

Along the shores of Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park is where you’ll find this 4km stretch of beach with soft sand and clear waters. The southern part of the bay has the calmest waves, making it ideal for swimming. As you progress further up the beach the waves get higher and are better suited to surfing and fishing. Whether you’re looking to splash in the water or catch a few waves, there’s a sporty activity to satisfy every appetite at Pondalowie.  

Maslin Beach, Onkaparinga

Best for: Hanging out (and hanging loose) 

While it’s renowned for its accolade as the first official nude beach in Australia, Maslin Beach could just as well be commended for its pristine natural scenery. Its rocky cliffs and glistening sands are what garnered the beach its secondary title as one of the prettiest in Australia. The nude areas of the beach are clearly signposted, making them easy to avoid — or to find.  

Best secret beaches in Northern Territory

Wagait Beach, Darwin

Best for: Tropical vibes 

A quick ferry ride from Darwin, Wagait is a favourite weekend getaway for locals seeking a slice of the tropics. With wildlife such as dolphins, dugongs, and manta rays as well as historical WWII memorabilia such as gun emplacements and bombers, there are plenty of sights to see and views to enjoy. And if that’s not enough to stir your curiosity, there’s an added bonus: it’s dog friendly. 

Darwin Waterfront Precinct, Darwin

Best for: Safe swimming 

The Northern Territory isn’t typically known for its beaches, primarily because of the crocodiles and jellyfish that make its shores risky for hopeful swimmers. The Darwin Waterfront Precinct however, has stinger nets to keep jellyfish out of the lagoon and regular monitoring by lifeguards to ensure that swimmers are safe from dangerous wildlife, so everyone can enjoy the warm waters with less fear and more fun. 

Be a better beachgoer tip #3: Give wildlife space

Australia is known for its cool creatures, from cute kangaroos and wallabies to dangerous jellyfish and crocodiles — there are countless species to encounter and observe. While it may be tempting to snap a selfie with a wide-eyed marsupial, it’s important to remember that these animals are wild and require space and protection from human interference.

Background image taken by Richard Anson

Best secret beaches in Tasmania

Cockle Creek, Recherche Bay

Best for: Looking out into the great beyond 

Located in Recherche Bay, on the fringes of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, Cockle Creek is the furthest point south you can drive in Australia — the literal end of the road. Beyond this beach lies only ocean (until, of course, you hit Antarctica). Aside from its impressive location, it’s also a popular departure point for hikes into the Southwest National Park, home to some of Australia’s best walking paths. 

Boronia Beach, Hobart

Best for: Beach walks 

Accessible only by foot, Boronia Beach is as secluded as it is beautiful. To get there, visitors must come from the southern end of Kingston Beach, and from there descend through the cypress pines and bushland down to the Mediterranean-like blue waters of Boronia. Blue gums and she-oaks frame the shores, creating a picturesque sheltered cove that is perfect for snorkelling and spotting sea dragons.