The 20 Best Beaches in Western Australia

I’m not sure exactly what percentage of the articles on this blog have to do with the beach, but knowing my affinity for the sea and obsession with swimwear, I wouldn’t be surprised if it were at least half of them.

Regardless, I feel like I’m pretty dang qualified to bring you this list of the best beaches in Western Australia. I’ve personally stepped foot on all but the first one on the list (it’s pretty remote); in fact, many of these Western Australia beaches have already been mentioned in my articles on a Perth to Broome road trip, a Perth to Esperance road trip, and Esperance.

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If you were to make a road trip out of it and drive along the coast of WA to each of these 20 Western Australia beaches, you’d cover 4000km (2500mi). Or you can opt to break it into a couple of shorter road trips over time like I did.

Either way, Western Australia is a really special place – and part of what makes it so special is that so few people make the effort to explore it. Which is sad, but also kind of a blessing because you often end up having beaches mostly to yourself.

From Broome to Esperance, these are what I consider to be the 20 best beaches in Western Australia:

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Cape Leveque

KNOWN FOR: Red, white, and blue hues

Cape Leveque sits at the top of the Dampier Peninsula, which is situated just north of Broome. It’s probably the most remote of the best beaches in Western Australia, but it’s definitely one of those instances where big effort = big payoff.

Why? Well, what other beach do you know of where red rocks meet white sand meets turquoise water? And I’m talking real red, not orange rock like you’ll see throughout the south coast of Australia.

Here’s the kicker, though: the drive from Broome to Cape Leveque is 210km on mostly bumpy dirt road, so you really need to have a 4WD vehicle to get there (which is why I have yet to explore this region).

You could attempt it in a regular 2WD car and take it slow, maybe just go part way down the road and stop somewhere closer like James Price Point (which is only about 60km in). OR, for ease and peace of mind, you can just book a 4WD tour of the Dampier Peninsula.

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Cable Beach

KNOWN FOR: Camel rides on the beach

I’ve been aching to return to Broome since my first visit back in 2006. Flights to this remote town are stupid-expensive though, and it almost always makes more sense to fly just about anywhere else in Australia for a holiday.

But you know what, maybe it’s a good thing because those who are willing to spend a little more money to get there will get to enjoy Broome’s #1 gem, Cable Beach, without any crowds.

In short, Cable Beach is the Aussie beach where you can ride a camel. It’s kind of the thing to do there. But apart from camel rides, Cable Beach serves up 2.5 miles’ worth of golden sand and a direct view of the sunset.



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Turquoise Bay

KNOWN FOR: Having the bluest water in all the land

Cape Range National Park sits at the very top of Australia’s west coast, about equal distance from both Perth and Broome (~1300km/800mi, or about 14 hours of nonstop driving).

In other words, getting here requires EFFORT. And most people don’t want to make that effort, so you’re not likely to see many other people around even during peak season (which is Australian winter).

Cape Range National Park is really beautiful and peaceful though. It’s a place where emus cross the road on the regular, and where idyllic untouched turquoise beaches exist.

If names are to trust, then Turquoise Bay might just be the best of the bunch.

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Coral Bay

KNOWN FOR: Ningaloo Reef, where you can snorkel, dive, and swim with whale sharks and manta rays

Two hours south of Cape Range National Park is Coral Bay, which doubles as one of the best beaches in Western Australia AND as an access point for Ningaloo Reef.

Ningaloo Reef is the world’s largest fringing reef, has not experienced bleaching the way the Great Barrier Reef has, and is one of the few places in the world where you can swim with whale sharks. And like most every other location and beach mentioned in this article, it doesn’t feel the slightest bit touristy.

You can book yourself onto a tour that will take you out to view the reef and its marine life, either through a glass-bottomed boat or by snorkeling. But honestly, the beauty of Ningaloo Reef is that you can just walk off the beach at Coral Bay and into the reef that’s just offshore, no boat needed.

If you want to see the bigger creatures, a boat tour is the way to go. You can typically swim with whale sharks from March-July and watch for humpback whales from June-November. Manta rays and turtles may be spotted closer to shore, depending on the time of year.



explore, travel, the 20 best beaches in western australia

Shell Beach

KNOWN FOR: Being one of the only beaches in the world comprised entirely of seashells

Shell Beach is about 500km (300mi) or a 5 hour drive south of Coral Bay, and sits within Francois Peron National Park.

Truthfully, I don’t find Shell Beach to be one of the prettier WA beaches, but I had to include it on this list because it’s one of the only beaches in the world comprised entirely of seashells.

Instead of sand, you’ll find hundreds of thousands of tiny white cockle shells – how cool is that? Just be sure to wear your shoes when stepping onto the beach, as it’s not soft like typical sand beaches are.

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Red Bluff Beach

KNOWN FOR: Its red cliffs

Just outside of Kalbarri National Park is Red Bluff Beach, which is framed by some seriously gorgeous red cliffs. It’s well worth stopping here to view the intricate rock formations, walk all over the smooth rock platforms, and take in the views from above at the Red Bluff Lookout.

You can opt to walk the Beach to Bluff trail, which runs from the sand to the Red Bluff Lookout and is 1.7km return.

As you might be able to tell from the photos, this is a different kind of red rock from what’s found on the Dampier Peninsula and Cape Leveque. Red Bluff Beach’s color contrasts are much more subtle, and the red rock is lighter in color than its northern counterpart.

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My favorite thing about the beaches in Perth? They’re all lined with sand dunes!

Cottesloe Beach

KNOWN FOR: Being Perth’s most popular beach

Truthfully, all of Perth’s beaches kinda feel “samey” to me, so feel free to sub out Cottesloe for most any other beach in Perth. It’s all basically one really long stretch of sand broken up by names for convenience. And it’s all GORGEOUS, particularly under the late day sun and during sunset.

Cottesloe Beach is great for swimming, snorkeling at either end, and surfing on the south end. There are some trendy cafes and restaurants just off the beach, and a pathway along the coast that’s made for walking and cycling (the views!!).

explore, travel, the 20 best beaches in western australia

Little Salmon Bay

KNOWN FOR: Rottnest Island’s best snorkeling

Just a 30 minute ferry ride from Perth is Rottnest Island, a glorious car-free oasis with over 63 beaches. It is well worth the journey if you’re already traveling Western Australia or visiting its capital city.

My new favorite beach on Rotto is Little Salmon Bay, which is a popular spot for swimming and snorkeling. The reef and clear blue turquoise water make it especially photogenic.

While most beach-goers will station themselves on the smooth white sand (can you blame them?), I prefer to walk down the rocks and jump in at the little cove just to the right of it. I had it alllllll to myself.


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The Basin

KNOWN FOR: Being Rottnest Island’s most picturesque beach

A visit to Rottnest Island would be incomplete without a stop at The Basin, which I suspect is the island’s most photographed beach. It’s ridiculously picturesque, what with the sand dunes, lighthouse, and shallow reef shelf.

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