Looking for the best beaches in NSW? After travelling up and down the East Coast Of Australia a lot, it’s about time we share some of our favourite beaches you need to visit! While many people think of Bondi Beach when they think of beaches in Australia, we’re so lucky to find thousands of beautiful beaches in New South Wales to visit.
If you’re looking for beach towns in NSW to visit or simply looking for holiday ideas, we’re going to share some of the most beautiful beaches which we go back to time and time again!
Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
Best Beaches In NSW
We’re going to break this article down in regions so you can skip to the area you’re looking for. We’ve got the following for you to see!
When you think of Northern NSW beaches, you’d probably think of Byron Bay. And you’d be right to think of it as it’s home to some of the most popular beaches in Australia. But, there are some awesome beaches in Northern NSW which we’ll share with you below!
1. Cabarita Beach
Did you know Cabarita Beach won the award for the best beach in Australia in 2020 according to Tourism Australia? When we heard about it, we made a beeline down to this Northern NSW beach town on our way back to Sydney from Queensland.
It’s a lovely beach town that kinda reminds me a lot of Sawtell in a way with lovely cafes and restaurants in the town. We had super high hopes for this being an incredible beach and although it is lovely, we have seen a few better in NSW personally.
2. Brunswick Heads
If I could live anywhere, I would live in Brunswick Heads. I remember coming here years ago and it was just like any Aussie beach town. Since coming here recently, it’s been transformed into a cool town with loads of vintage and antique shops, hipster cafes and restaurants and a decent put to drink at.
Located just 10 minutes drive from Byron Bay, it’s not as busy as Byron Bay Main Beach, but there’s something special about this place that makes you feel like you’ve found a local’s secret hangout.
3. Byron Bay Main Beach
Of course we couldn’t put this list together of the best New South Wales beaches without mentioning the legendary Byron Bay Main Beach. We’ve always loved the vibe in Byron Bay for being such a fun beach town like no other in Australia. Although people seem to roll their eyes at Byron these days for being ruined by tourism, the touristy vibe is what makes it special to me.
Make sure you walk up to the famous Byron Lighthouse and you’ll want to stop by Clarke’s Beach and The Pass on the way up. Byron Bay is easily one of the best beaches in NSW in our eyes!
But, we can’t leave our Byron Bay section without mentioning the wonderful Wategos Beach. It’s always been one of our favourite beaches in Australia, especially since we stayed in this airbnb on my birthday one year there. It’s a gorgeous slice of paradise, even if it does get super busy and finding a car park can be almost impossible here.
I love the drive down to the beach and although I look at the exclusive houses with envy there, it’s somewhere I have to visit every time I go to Byron Bay.
Tip – pop around the corner to Little Wategos Beach, it’s much quieter!
5. Angourie Point Beach, Yamba
I feel like since Covid, Yamba Beach has finally got onto everyone’s radar. Known as the new Byron Bay, we made a beeline to this beach town as soon as the borders opened up to see if would be a place for us to consider moving to.
We could definitely see the potential with a few hipster cafes and shops popping up here. And of course the Yamba beaches are all stunning, but after living remote in Agnes Water, we decided we needed to be nearer to a city again. Yamba is located 1h15m drive from Byron Bay and 1h30m from Coffs Harbour.
When we visited, we really loved Angourie Point Beach which is a little away from the main beaches. It’s quiet and untouched and just has a beautiful feel to it.
Don’t forget to visit Angourie Green Pool and Angourie Blue Pool. Both are legendary rock pools that need to be seen on your trip! Read our guide for the Best Things To Do In Yamba before you go!
I have to admit, the Mid-North Coast is home to some of the best beaches in NSW! Stretching from as North as Coffs Harbour and as South as Seal Rocks, there’s some awesome beaches you must check out!
6. Emerald Beach, Coffs Harbour
We couldn’t believe how many amazing Coffs Harbour Beaches there actually are. Trust me, we considered moving to Coffs Harbour as well because we wanted to live near Bellingen, so we scoured the whole town.
Emerald Beach is a well known beach for being able to see kangaroos hanging out on the Look At Me Now Headland. We couldn’t believe it when we saw loads of kangaroos here. Come at sunset or sunrise to get some amazing photos with the backdrop of the beach behind them.
7. Sapphire Beach, Coffs Harbour
We just love Sapphire Beach in Coffs Harbour. There’s something really beautiful about this area and it’s a beach you should totally put on your list to visit when you’re passing through or holidaying in Coffs Harbour next time.
8. Diggers Beach, Coffs Harbour
Someone told me ages ago to check out Diggers Beach in Coffs Harbour and I can see why now. It’s a stunning beach with the palm trees you’d see up in Noosa which gives it a tropical vibe here.
What gets me about this beach is the location! It’s almost opposite the Big Banana so it totally surprised me how many times I’ve driven past it and didn’t realise this beach existed. You have to drive almost through a holiday park to get here, but it’s a stunning beach.
When visiting the Big Banana, also drive up to the Forest Sky Pier for epic views over the Coffs Coast as it’s beautiful there. Plus! You’ll find loads of honesty boxes on this road, even a freezer full of chocolate coated frozen bananas!
9. Sawtell Beach
We love Sawtell which is located 15 minutes drive from Coffs Harbour. It kinda reminds us of Cabarita Beach as it’s a lovely beach town with a main street full of shops, cafes and an excellent modern pub called The Sawtell Hotel. And yes, we considered moving here too because it’s only 30 minutes from Bellingen.
Sawtell Beach is absolutely beautiful and popular for surfing. Make sure you go to Bonville Head Lookout and check out the Sawtell Memorial Rockpool too.
10. Valla Beach
Valla Beach is just 3km from Nambucca Heads and it’s one of the most beautiful beaches on the coast and easily makes it onto our list as one of the best beaches in NSW. There’s something that feels quite special about it here that it feels like a hidden gem. Put it on your list to visit! Make sure you check out our guide for The Best Things To Do In Nambucca Heads before you visit!
There’s only a few places I can think of where I’ve seen beaches like South West Rocks. There’s a few beaches dotted up the coast where the water is super turquoise as here. Jervis Bay, Noosa, 1770 and Airlie Beach come to mind when I think of that.
I remember Steve’s cousin telling us how wonderful South West Rocks was years ago. When we finally visited, we could see why. There’s a couple of fantastic campgrounds to park up right next to the beaches here, making it an excellent camping getaway and it’s no wonder it makes it into our list for the best beaches in NSW.
It’s obvious the town is emerging and hipster cafes are coming in and transforming the area. Make sure you check out our guide for the Best Things To Do In South West Rocks before you visit.
Down towards the other side of the Smokey Cape Lighthouse sits the beautiful Hat Head National Park. This is the perfect spot to come to if you’re into discovering hidden beaches from many walking tracks. Bring a packed lunch and make the most of finding your own beach to sit on.
13. Diamond Head
A bit further down the coast will bring you to Diamond Head next to Crowdy Bay National Park which is a beach I tried to go to once before getting caught in the bush fires in 2019! It’s located between Taree and Port Macquarie and is known as a locals hidden gem. There’s a campground here too so you can make the most of it!
14. Blueys Beach, Pacific Palms
There’s four beaches all next door to each other in Pacific Palms area of Blueys Beach that all need their own section in this post because they truely are special.
Pacific Palms is located 20 minutes from Forster which is kinda mad because it’s such a gem to visit. A lot of Australians will remember holidaying in Forster as a kid, but when we visited, Forster is a classic Australian town stuck in the 1980s. It’s not exactly exciting, but what it exciting about it is Pacific Palms which is home to our favourite beaches in NSW.
We were lucky to live in Steve’s cousin’s holiday home for a few months in Pacific Palms and just loved being next door to the following beaches.
Up first is Blueys Beach which is probably the most well known in the area for surfing. It’s a stunning beach and has some lovely little shops, cafes and a cacking Balinese restaurant you need to go to.
Elizabeth Beach is just jaw droppingly beautiful. I remember always driving past here on the way to Forster and thinking to myself how lucky I was to live around the corner from this incredible beach. Trust me, go visit it and you’ll see what I mean.
16. Shelly Beach, Pacific Palms
On the right of Elizabeth Beach is Shelly Beach which is technically a nudist beach (left hand side of the beach is the nudist side). But wow, it’s absolutely beautiful and one of my favourite beaches in Australia and definitely one of the best beaches in NSW. There’s something really magical about looking over to Seven Mile Beach that it always made me say to Steve how I felt like we were somewhere exotic.
I say this every time I come here, but I think it truly is the best beach in New South Wales!
17. Boomerang Beach, Pacific Palms
We lived just a minute’s walk from Boomerang Beach in Pacific Palms and it’s absolutely beautiful. Honestly, these beaches I’m talking about in Pacific Palms are making me want to go back right now. I just love it there so much!
18. Seal Rocks
Seal Rocks will always be one of those special places we just adore. It’s located just a 20 minute drive from the Pacific Palms beaches which is separated by the Smiths Lake. Home to amazing campsites and popular with surfers, it’s an area that feels so authentically untouched.
However, it does come with the crowds and can be super busy. Head to the quieter Treachery Beach in the area if you’re looking to escape the crowds and make sure you read our Seal Rocks Guide before you go 🙂
I’ll tell you what! The Newcastle region is home to some amazing beaches you must go and visit which make a great day trip from Sydney. Check out our guide for the Best Beaches In Newcastle to see more.
19. Zenith Beach
The Port Stephens Zenith Beach is one of those amazing beaches you need to visit in the area. Port Stephens is a 1 hour drive from Newcastle but feels like a world away. Weirdly it reminded me of Krabi in Thailand when I first visited. When you drive over the hill to Shoal Bay and see Tomaree Mountain, it just reminded me of it so much.
Merewether Beach is like the equivalent to Bondi Beach in Newcastle. There’s a fantastic coastal walk from here that takes you up onto the Anzac Memorial Walk which over looks the beach and is beautiful! Plus! the Merewether Beach swimming pool is very popular for a morning swim!
Merewether Beach is a long beach that is actually broken up into separate beaches. At the far end, you’ll find Bar Beach which is also one of our favourites in the area. When we lived in Newcastle with Steve’s family for 8 months, I used to come down to Bar Beach every morning to do yoga and go for a swim and I just loved it there.
22. Catherine Hill Bay, Munmorah State Conservation Area
Famed for the famous Catherine Hill Bay jetty, Catherine Hill Bay is a beautiful stretch of sand that you could spend all day at. Located 45 minute drive from Newcastle in Munmorah State Conservation Area, it’s a special area that’s home to some beautiful beaches we’re going to talk about in this article.
Catherine Hill Bay is also known for the famous pink caves (be careful when visiting) and of course the bikie favourite, Catho Pub.
If you’re looking to find some sea caves in the area, go check out Caves Beach which is very family friendly and not dangerous to visit. The Caves Beach Hotel also does good food and is a brilliant place for lunch.
23. Ghosties Beach, Munmorah State Conservation Area
Around the corner from Catherine Hill Bay is Ghosties Beach which is a beautiful beach with some amazing caves to visit. To get to Ghosties Beach, park up around Hooey Street and walk across Moonee Beach . Trust me, we ended up coming from Timber Beach and it was a proper bush bash to get there!
So the next set of beaches along in Munmorah are Frazer Beach and Bongon Beach. These two beaches were always my favourite beaches near Sydney. There’s something really beautiful about them and there’s loads of rockpools to float in and enjoy a day trip away from the city!
Heading further down the coast will bring you to Maitland Bay in Bouddi National Park which is a 1h30m drive from Sydney. I felt like I hit the jackpot when I first visited Maitland Bay Beach! Maybe it was because there was no one else there apart from a catamaran floating around which made me feel like I could have been on a beach in Greece or something.
It’s a stunning beach with shady spots, but I’m sure you’ve already got a cool cabana right?
26. Pearl Beach
Pearl Beach is another stunning beach which overlooks Palm Beach from the other side. I’ve always loved this part of Sydney and NSW and think it’s a bit of a hidden gem!
As you know, you’ll find the most famous beaches in Australia in Sydney!
27. Bilgola Beach
We love Bilgola Beach in the Northern Beaches in Sydney! While there are so many beautiful beaches in the Northern Beaches to choose from, Bilgola Beach was one of the first beaches I fell in love with in Sydney. It felt like a hidden gem which is hidden off the road from Palm Beach and although I’ve now been there hundreds of times, there still feels something special about this one.
Balmoral Beach in Sydney is a picture postcard beach in Sydney popular with families for its calm waters. I love the bridge going over the water to the island and of course have visit The Boathouse so many times for fish & chips, it’s one of the best beaches in Sydney!
29. Bondi Beach
Although Bondi Beach might get a bad wrap from locals, it would be odd if I didn’t include it in this best beaches in NSW list. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt about Bondi Beach since I’ve been travelling more up and down the East Coast is that there’s nowhere else like it in Australia. The vibe in Bondi is like no other and it’s a beach you just have to come to at sunrise to see for yourself.
Check our guide for The Best Things To Do In Bondi Beach and enjoy the buzzing holiday vibe around the most beautiful people in Sydney (just wear your gym gear or a bikini to fit in!).
I’ve always loved Bronte Beach which is almost the sister beach to Bondi. While the entire stretch of the Bondi to Coggee Beach walk is home to stunning beaches, there’s something about Bronte Beach I just love. Maybe it’s the famous Bronte Rock Pool, maybe it’s the laid back vibe, but what ever it is, it’s a beautiful beach!
31. Manly Beach
The iconic Manly Beach is a must visit when coming to Sydney! The long stretch of sand is popular with locals and tourists alike. Although it gets super busy here, there’s a reason why! With plenty of Things To Do In Manly and famous Manly Walks to do, you won’t get stuck for wondering what to do if you’re looking spend your day doing a few different things in the area.
Just around the corner is the iconic Shelly Beach in Manly. The famous short coastal walk between the two beaches is worth doing as Shelly Beach is a beautiful beach that is easy to get to. Come here during the week to escape the crowds and bring your snorkelling gear to enjoy some of the snorkelling in Sydney!
Just an hour south of Sydney will bring you to the oldest national park in the world – The Royal National Park. Home to plenty of incredible beaches, there are a few which really stand out for us.
One is Little Marley and Big Marley Beaches in NSW. I remember Steve bringing me to these beaches not long after I moved to Australia with him. I’ll never forget these two beaches being my first secluded beaches in Sydney I’d come across. It honestly felt like paradise to me.
It takes an hour to walk to these stunning beaches. You can either walk from Bundeena via the famous Wedding Cake Rock walking track or in the opposite direction from Wattamolla (which is also a cracking beach too!)
The Garie Beach is what I assumed all Australia beaches would look like. This wild beach actually has a lifeguard, toilet facilities and even a kiosk too. It’s an absolutely stunning beach and a must visit when visiting The Royal National Park in Sydney. Make sure you check out our guide for The Best Walks In The Royal National Park to discover plenty more incredible beaches in NSW.
The Farm is one of the surfing beaches in NSW that Steve used to go to with his friends when he was growing up. When he took me, a new suburb had popped up and kinda ruined the area but it doesn’t take away from the fact that the beach feels pretty special.
Head around the corner to Minnamurra Beach which is where you’ll find the famous rockpools!
36. Hyams Beach
Home to the whitest sand beach in the world, Hyams Beach in Jervis Bay really does live up to its hype. It’s a cracking beach that will totally make you feel like you could be in Mexico with sand that white and water that blue. If driving, head to the end of the road where you’ll find the Hyams Beach Parking carpark and enter the beach from there. I say this because from here, you’ll see the entire long stretch of sand which will make you go ‘wow’.
The beautiful Chinamans Beach next door to Hyams Beach is absolutely incredible. Actually, I must admit, all of the beaches on the White Sands Walking Track are jaw-dropping that you’ll be constantly saying how they are the best beaches in New South Wales.
To be honest, it’s true! You won’t find beaches like this anywhere else in NSW that when we recently visited, we hadn’t long come back from Whitsundays and we were saying that it wasn’t that far off as being on a similar level. Check our popular Best Things To Do In Jervis Bay guide before you visit.
38. Cave Beach
On the opposite side of Jervis Bay, you’ll find Cave Beach which is a secluded and beautiful beach you should make the effort to check out. There’s a fabulous camp ground here but you’ll have to walk a few hundred metres from the carpark to the unpowered site which is also home to many kangaroos too.
39. Depot Beach
Depot Beach in Murramarang National Park just north of Batemans Bay is the hidden gem in the area. As one of the great beaches in NSW, it’s famed for watching the sunrise and being able to get away from the crowds of Aussie tourists at Batemans Bay.
40. Bermagui Beach
Bemagui Beach in the South Coast packs a punch for being home to a stunning coastline and one of the best NSW beaches. Make sure you visit the Horses Head Rock which is a natural rock which literally looks like a horses head! Head over to the famous Blue Pool as well and enjoy hanging out in this slice of paradise.