If you’re looking for some of the most stunning coastal places in Australia, I have some hidden – and not so hidden – gems for you. As part of our 10 month (re) Discover Australia road trip, I have been left breathless with much of the coastline Australia has to offer.
I’ve been asked a few times now what my favourite places have been on this road trip. It’s a hard question to answer. Thinking about it though, I’m drawn to the ocean. I crave the water. I guess it’s no surprise (to me) that my favourite places (so far) have been coastal.
Many of these places are ones I’d never heard of previously. To be honest, I’m embarrassed to admit that. As an Australian and as a traveller. These are some of Australia’s best destinations. I found them through friend’s recommendations or pointing at the map and saying ‘let’s go there.’
These places have stunning coastlines. They need to be shared.
They are guaranteed to leave you either insanely jealous or have you planning your own road trip. Hopefully the later, because these are worth visiting.
The water in these places vary from a deep turquoise to a crystal-clear baby blue, depending on the weather and location. In some places, the water is so clear you see fish coming to nibble on your painted toes, which are magnified in the water. In other places, marine life is so close, you want to just reach out and touch it.
From the far tip of Australia’s East Coast to Western Australia’s south, here are some gems you need to put on your Living List.
Wilsons Promontory, Victoria
The Prom, as it’s known locally, is one of Victoria’s most-loved places.
At the southernmost tip of mainland Australia, it offers spectacular scenery of huge granite mountains, open forest, rainforest, sweeping beaches and coastlines.
Great bushwalks extend from under an hour to over three days. Visitors can camp, caravan or stay in huts, cabins, wilderness retreats or lodges at Tidal River where there is a general store and take-away food shop.
Wilsons Promontory Lightstation is perched on a small peninsula jutting into the wild seas of Bass Strait.
The waters surrounding the Prom are protected as a marine national park and marine park and offer outstanding diving.
Why I Love It: Wilsons Promontory was one of the first places I put on our (re) Discover Australia itinerary, after reading rave reviews. I’ve been to New Zealand and Hawaii, along with various parts throughout Australia, that match these kinds of views. Yet here I was, totally in heaven. Wilsons Promontory has stunning vistas, equalled with amazing bushwalks and wildlife. You feel like you’re part of the landscape.
Check out my post for more: Is Wilsons Promontory on your Australian Itinerary?
Kangaroo Island, South Australia
Kangaroo Island is a pristine wilderness – a place that has offered protection to substantial populations of native Australian animals, a place of beauty and a place of escape. Kangaroo Island (or ‘KI’ as the locals call it) is also big and surprisingly diverse.
You’ll find soaring cliffs, dense bushland, towering sand dunes, wetlands and massive arcs of bone white beach.
A BIG Island – as the third largest island off the coast of mainland Australia, Kangaroo Island is more than a day-trip destination.
At 155 kilometres long and up to 55 kilometres wide, it covers an area of 4,416 square kilometres.
Why I Love It: To say Kangaroo Island is exceptional would be an understatement. It’s one of Australia’s hidden gems, although it is gaining a lot more notoriety due to their award-winning restaurants, lodges and produce. After three amazing days, KI has lodged a place deep in my heart. It has character, charm, not to mention scenery that will blow your mind. And, as I said to Rich, I’ve not seen so much Australian wildlife in one concentrated area – in my life. If this place isn’t on your Australian Itinerary, you need to add it. Seriously.
Check out my post for more: The Unforgettable Kangaroo Island. A Must For Your Australian Itinerary.
Head of Bight, South Australia
One of the most spectacular whale watching sites in South Australia (or indeed, the world) is the HEAD OF BIGHT, near the Nullarbor Plain in the State’s Far West coast.
Together with the adjacent Nullarbor National Park and Regional Reserve plus the Great Australian Bight Marine Park the precinct contributes to a sense of isolation and discovery in this near wilderness location.
At this unique geographical spot, a mini-desert of towering sand dunes meets a sheer line of 90m limestone cliffs.
In the sheltered waters of the bay below, Southern Right whales congregate en masse to give birth to calves.
Combining accessible viewing platforms with the spectacular backdrop of the Bunda Cliffs and superb pristine beaches, the facility offers travellers an unparalleled opportunity to view the large numbers of Southern Right Whales.
Why I Love It: Two friends recommended stopping at Head of Bight as we made our way across the Nullarbor because our timing coincided with whale season (May-Oct). The thought of seeing whales as we crossed the desert though, didn’t make sense. It seemed…odd. So, of course, I had to see it.
As you cross the Nullarbor, there are opportunities to see the coastline, but it’s not until you get to this point, that you see the whales so spectacularly. As I wandered down the boardwalk from the Visitors Centre at Head of Bight, I started counting. Counting whales. There were six, right in front of me, and that wasn’t even the section I’d been advised they would be. After two hours of being mesmerised by these gentle giants, I counted 40 whales. They were just beyond the waves. Some of the calves were frolicking, testing their skills at slamming tails or breeching, some hovering close to their mummas. It’s a nursery of sorts. The whales birth their calves here because the area is relatively protected, and stay until the calves are ready for the open waters.
Add in the spectacular rawness of the Bunda Cliffs, this place is a must see.
Bremer Bay, Western Australia
Bremer Bay is a coastal town situated on the south coast of Western Australia in the Great Southern region between Albany and Esperance. It is 515 kilometres (320 mi) southeast of the state capital, Perth, and 180 kilometres (112 mi) east of Albany. The population is only around 240 people, so you really feel like you’re getting away here.
Wander along the estuary which takes you from town to the beach and features interpretive signage explaining the history of the area, inlet and local fishing. You can find some nine species of orchid on this walk and if you are lucky (and if the seasons match your visit), you could see a whale breeching from the beach.
Why I Love It: Bremer Bay is one of those off the beaten path places that you’ll remember for a long time. As a fishing village and summer destination, it’s pretty remote. The nearest town for shopping is two-hours away, so you need to come prepared. There is a general store for basics but, as we found out, they don’t always stock the basics either. In fact, our Airbnb hosts made us some homemade bread because there was ‘none to be found in town’ prior to our arrival. But I like that. With a map, provided by our host, we discovered the magnificence of this place. It’s remote and beautiful.
Check out this video for more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oOastMW3Acc&feature=youtu.be
Or check out mine (if you dare):
Greens Pool, Denmark, Western Australia
Greens Pool lies on the edge of William Bay National Park and is famous for its turquoise green waters and pristine white sandy beach. Large granite boulders surround the pool, protecting it from the might of the Southern Ocean.
Beautiful at all times of the year, Greens Pool is especially popular in summer. The calm waters provide great recreation opportunities for the whole family. You can swim or snorkel or just relax on the beach or on the rocks overlooking the water.
Many fish and sea creatures live in the calm waters of Greens Pool. Why not go for a snorkel and explore this fascinating seascape? Zebra fish, silver drummer, six-spined leatherjackets and mosaic sea stars are just some of the creatures you may encounter.
Why I Love It: Greens Pool has become one of my favourite places in all of Australia. When I walked down from the carpark, I audibly gasped when I saw just how beautiful this pool of water was. The clarity of the water was amazing and the serene feeling I felt being there, took me by surprise. I instantly felt relaxed (not something I often am, believe it or not.) I wanted to wander. I wanted to sit on the sand and just ‘be’ for a while. I wanted to paddle into the water and float on my back in the water and simply let the hours pass by. I knew straight away that it was a place I would return to.
Augusta & Hamelin Bay, Western Australia
World-class windsurfing, kite-surfing, paddling, snorkelling and whale watching are some of the main Augusta attractions. The town is sheltered by Flinders Bay and overlooks the tranquil Hardy Inlet.
Outlying the town is spectacular rugged coastal scenery with the treacherous seas of the Southern Ocean. Augusta is the most south-western town in Australia and is nearby to Boranup Forest, Jewel Cave and Hamelin Bay. Augusta attractions also include the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse which stands as a guardian for the passing ships. It is a working lighthouse offering tours to the top where there are amazing views of the Southern and Indian oceans.
Come and meet the famous sting rays at Hamelin Bay. These beautiful creatures love to come to the shoreline to say hello to visitors. A visit to stunning Hamelin Bay is a MUST DO on many a holiday schedule. A vast bay of bright white sand, turquoise waters filled with marine life and spectacular coastal cliff walks. Swimming, snorkeling, fishing, diving.
Why I Love It: When it’s a place to see two oceans meet, and experience marine life up close, Augusta is a must for the Living List. I was eager to see the dramatic clash of the oceans at Cape Leeuwin and it was just as amazing as I had hoped, although a little further out than I anticipated. Augusta also hosts river dolphins gliding up and down the river channel and, if you sit awhile at the old town jetty, you may see them. They may even come by and say hello.
Hamelin Bay looks like a postcard but add in the attraction of stingrays fluttering to the water’s edge, it becomes an unforgettable experience. The stingrays usually come in for a fishy treat, thrown to them by the locals, so you need to be patient if you want to see them. (It’s rumoured that they are more active during the warmer months.)
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