West Australian beaches are awe-inspiringly beautiful…
They may be less famous than the beaches on Australia’s densely populated eastern seaboard, but once you’ve travelled through remote Western Australia, you’ll find that nothing else will ever compare to the wildness, seclusion and pristine natural beauty of the west coast.
The beaches on this page are among the best-of-the-best and the most iconic – the ones that you simply must visit on your travels through Western Australia.
Why only 10?
In choosing the beaches for this list, I’ve decided to think like a traveller wondering, “Which West Australian beaches are so beautiful, unique or iconic to Western Australia that they’re not to be missed and aren’t too difficult to get to by public transport or in an ordinary two-wheel-drive car?”
There are so many beautiful and amazing beaches along WA’s 28000km-long coastline that I feel like in narrowing the list down to only 10, I’m doing them (and you!) an injustice! So this top 10 West Australian beaches page will be the first of many!
So here are the top 10 unforgettable, iconic West Australian Beaches:
1. Cable Beach, Broome
When you’re flying low over Cable Beach on the approach to Broome airport, you’ll be awestruck by the beauty and perfection that is Cable Beach. I certainly have been each time I’ve had the joy of spending my holidays in Broome, up north in the Kimberley Region of Western Australia.
Picture long, lazy waves rolling onto an almost never-ending beach of sand coloured the palest shade of orangey pink, and gentle pastel blue water (kind of a chalky blue, but crystal-clear) almost all the way out to the horizon.
The huge tidal range of the Kimberley coast – one of the biggest in the world – changes Cable Beach dramatically throughout the day. At low tide the intertidal zone is hundreds of metres wide.
The most spectacular sunsets I’ve ever seen in my life have been at Cable Beach, with a fiery orange sky reflected in the wet sand at low tide.
2. Lucky Bay, Esperance
Right down the opposite end of WA to Cable Beach is Lucky Bay. You’ll find this huge, dramatic bay east of Esperance in the Cape Le Grand National Park. The pristine white beach is overlooked by imposing granite peaks and headlands.
All the beaches in the Cape Le Grand National Park – in fact all the beaches along the entire South Coast of WA – have the purest white powdery sand and ice-cold water clearer than glass.
They are among the most beautiful and pristine beaches on Earth, and Lucky Bay is the most iconic and well-known of them all. Chances are, you’ve already seen the photos of kangaroos on the beach against a background of brilliant turquoise water.
Sometimes there’ll be a small crowd of tourists on the beach near the carpark, oohing and aahing at the kangaroos, but at 5km long there’s plenty of space to find peaceful solitude on Lucky Bay Beach.
3. Greens Pool and Elephant Cove, Denmark
Greens Pool and Elephant Cove are two picturesque beaches right next to each other in the William Bay National Park near Denmark. I couldn’t decide which was the more unique or beautiful, so I’m including them both.
Greens Pool is the most perfect beach for swimming as could be imagined (that is, until you feel the freezing cold Southern Ocean water!). A steep hillside and a line of tall granite boulders shelter Greens Pool from the wind and waves. The water is always crystal-clear, calm and gentle.
The boulders offshore and up on the beach are easy to climb, so they’re the perfect places to soak up some sun before plunging into the refreshing ocean.
A 5 minute walk from Greens Pool across the granite headland will lead you to the dramatic Elephant Rocks, a cluster of tall sheer-sided boulders that tower over the beach and calm water of Elephant Cove.
The two tiny swimmers in the picture below give a sense of scale to the Elephant Rocks, some of which can be easily climbed and jumped off into the deep water.
4. Shell Beach, Shark Bay
There are a lot of beaches around the world called “Shell Beach”, but there’s only one I know of that actually lives up to the name…
The Shell Beach in Western Australia’s Shark Bay World Heritage Area is made up entirely of little white cockle shells, with barely a grain of sand in sight! The uniquely beautiful beach of shells continues far away into the distance for over 100 kilometres.
5. Yallingup Beach, Margaret River Region
Yallingup Beach in Western Australia’s Margaret River Region has everything you could want in the perfect beach, including dramatic views, excellent surf breaks, a protected swimming lagoon, and even a reef that’s good for snorkelling.
It’s made this list of WA’s most iconic beaches because it’s a well-known Margaret River surf spot, with excellent views of the main surf break from South Point. During the summer holidays, it’s one of the safer surf beaches to swim at if you stay between the flags.
6. The Basin, Rottnest Island
Beginning just a few steps from the small beach, a large pool of luminous clear green water is cut out of a shallow platform reef. Walk further out on the reef (and don’t worry – it’s smooth to walk on) and you can dive into cool deep water. I can’t think of anything more refreshing on a hot day than plunging into The Basin
If you find yourself in Perth during the summer months, make sure you head over to Rottnest and try it for yourself.
7. Turquoise Bay, Exmouth
Turquoise Bay is a true desert paradise, along the Cape Range National Park coastline where the hot, arid North West Cape meets the Indian Ocean and the Ningaloo Reef. It’s one of the points where the Ningaloo Reef comes closest to the shore, the main reef being only about 150 metres from the sandbar at the southern end of the bay.
The great thing about Ningaloo is that it’s a fringing reef rather than a barrier many kilometres out to sea. At so many beaches along this coastline you see fish as soon as you hit the water, and can snorkel over coral reefs in calm, shallow water just 50 – 100m from the shore. Turquoise Bay is one of the very best easily accessible Ningaloo shore-based snorkelling spots.
Just south of the sandbar, a current flows northwards parallel to the shoreline and reef. Swim out into the current and let the water move you effortlessly over patches of staghorn coral, and past all sorts of tropical fish and sometimes even turtles and reef sharks.
Photo: Flavio Ricci on Flickr
8. Cottesloe Beach, Perth
Cottesloe is a long beach with several different swimming areas and reefy sections. Of all the beaches in Perth, Cottesloe is the most well-known and picturesque, and really is one of the must-visit places if you’re in Perth during summer. A rock wall gives the main swimming area some shelter from the big waves, and an interesting art-deco building housing the Indiana Teahouse, change rooms and the Surf Club looks out over the busy beach below.
Behind the beach are grassed terracess and a park shaded by Norfolk Island pines, and a bustling strip of cafes, pubs and restaurants.
I prefer the northern end of the beach because it’s more peaceful and less built up than the area in front of the Indiana Teahouse.
Photo: Michael Spencer on Flickr
9. Little Beach, Albany
Little Beach is not too hard to get to, but it has a real remote and secluded feel when you’re on the beach, looking east across Two Peoples Bay towards Mount Manypeaks.
I’ve seen Little Beach wavy and calm, in the rain and the wind, and on bright sunny days like in the photo below. Each and every time I’ve been there, it has been postcard-perfect.
It’s one of those rare beaches that are possibly even more beautiful on a gloomy overcast day, because the water has the clarity of glass and turns the most beautiful pale shade of turquoise under a grey sky.
When you visit Little Beach make sure you climb up over the far headland. On the other side is second beach, known as Waterfall Beach, that is equally beautiful but more secluded. You can see a photo of Waterfall Beach on the Albany Beaches page.
10. Redgate Beach, Margaret River Region (Calgardup)
Redgate is one of the most scenically spectacular spots on the magnificent Margaret River coastline. There’s nothing like standing on the northern headland watching thunderous waves smash behind the rocks and roll into Calgardup Bay.
It’s quite a popular surf break, and on a hot day it’s one of my favourite big-wave swimming beaches. But I’d suggest only getting the water if you’re a strong swimmer with a good understanding of the surf, because the beach is unpatrolled and has some dangerous rips.
The is the site of the locally famous story of Grace Bussell and Sam Isaacs. In 1876 rode their horses out into ferocious surf during the dark of night to rescue survivors from the wreck of the SS Georgette.
What do you think of this Top 10 West Australian Beaches list?
Do you agree with it, or is your favourite beach in WA missing? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!
Last Updated: 25th May, 2015.
First posted on 7th January, 2014 by Bonny.
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