Best Places in Western Australia
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.
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?” .
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.
6. The Basin, Rottnest Island
Mother Nature could not have created a swimming beach more perfect than The Basin at Rottnest Island even if she tried (pardon the terrible cliche – it’s true!).
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., 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)
Do you agree with it, or is your favourite beach in WA missing? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!