Your guide to WA’s best South West beaches
Published Thursday, December 19, 2019 in Lifestyle & Inspiration
What does your idea of a beach holiday look like?
- Somewhere with lots going on for the kids to have a great time
- Lazing around in serenity with a great book in hand and the sound of the waves
- Finding the best spot for surfing, bodyboarding or kitesurfing
- Discovering reefs, shipwrecks and hidden treasures
- Exploring the prettiest beach to take photos of and marvel at your surroundings
The good news? We have all of the above in Western Australia. Whether you prefer a beach with epic waves begging to be surfed, or a secluded bay for a relaxing snooze – there’s a beach perfect for everyone.
Best beach for … family-friendly fun
There are countless calm and safe beaches for the whole family to have a great day out. Here are some of the top ones.
This is the quintessential South West beach. It was also the location singled out by Lonely Planet when it declared the Margaret River region one of the top destinations of 2019. Meelup boasts clear calm water, white sand, lots of trees and shade, shower facilities, and a grassed area for BBQs and picnics. There are also walking trails close by, and it’s a great place to play water sports or beach games. This is a busy and fun destination in high season.
Just a ten-minute drive from Margaret River. It’s not as well-developed, perhaps, as other beaches in the region but that’s part of the charm. Descend the wooden staircase to the bay below, and the opportunity to stand-up paddleboard. There is also the popular but casual White Elephant Café directly behind so you can grab a bite to eat or a juice, and relax under the umbrellas.
The Busselton Foreshore has undergone extensive redevelopment and there is an overload of things to do. There are multiple playgrounds, a skatepark, and a bike pathway that meanders all the way along Geographe Bay to Dunsborough. The Foreshore is pet-friendly with lots of shady areas to set up camp. Enjoy swimming, playing games, walking, access to historic Busselton Jetty, or set off on a boating or fishing adventure from here.
The whitest of white sand, turquoise waters, and stunning rock formations that make for magical adventures and a lifetime of memories. Climb the cliff next to the beach to catch an eyeful of the glittering waters below; swim between the huge ancient rocks; or snorkel and spy on fish and other critters including zebra fish and mosaic sea stars.
The Albany locals’ go-to beach, this is a lovely safe spot protected by enormous King George Sound. A big stretch of sand with blue green water, overlooked by a row of iconic Norfolk Island pine trees. There are lots of grassed areas, plenty of shade, and a playground. And the view looking out onto the Sound is unforgettable.
Falcon Bay Beach
Mandurah beaches are family-friendly by nature, and also by design with several manmade beaches around town. For the real deal, we recommend Falcon Bay Beach for its openness. It has a grassed area, playground, a café within the vicinity for coffee-craving parents, and plenty of room for the kids to explore.
Best beach for…serenity
There are not many moments more heart-lifting than driving around a bend in the road and seeing a glimmering ocean below…and absolutely nobody there besides a seagull or two.
Holiday checklist: stunningly beautiful beach with clear blue water. Check. You want a little peace and quiet to read your book, but you don’t want to be too far from civilisation. Check. You also want an upscale café nearby, with a car park, and easy access to amenities. Sound too good to be true? Such a place does exist! Bunker Bay awaits.
You may have heard of the magnificent Greens Pool and Elephant Rocks in the Great Southern, but have you heard about their neighbour Madfish Bay? This is a secluded little gem with shallow waters and large smooth rocks that dot the landscape. The serenely beautiful yet untamed nature of the Great Southern is something you’ll be hard-pressed to find elsewhere.
Best beach for…surfing
Take your pick! These regions are famous around the globe for world-class surf, with the South West being the long-time home of a World Surfing Tour stop, the Margaret River Pro.
There are plenty of opportunities for beginner surfers, plus swimming, snorkelling, and kitesurfing. More experienced surfers, head to Main Break. This is a great all-round beach, with a beautiful lagoon that’s fun for young and old. And once you’ve had enough of the water, take a walk along the rugged cliffs of the national park nearby.
Surfers Point, Prevelly
One of the most famous breaks in the world. It’s easily accessible by board and the surf is consistent, offering both left- and right-handers. There’s no secret pathway to trek; Surfer’s Point is easy to get to, with lots of parking. The beach is gorgeous even if you don’t surf and there’s a great vantage point from the boardwalk.
Best beach for…discovery
Shipwrecks, jetties, islands, reefs, and so many different types of animals to observe. An adventurer’s playground.
To dive a shipwreck, you can’t go past the 140m, 2750-tonne hulk of the HMAS Swan, which lies on the ocean floor in Geographe Bay, Dunsborough. Busselton also has underwater opportunities for the less experienced, with the chance to dive below the surface and check out the jetty’s blooming marine life. Albany also has a huge range of diving options.
Secret snorkelling spot
Near Yallingup is iconic Smiths Beach and ‘the aquarium’. Smiths is perfect for surfing and bodyboarding, and the so-called aquarium is a natural rockpool and a magical little find. The water is so utterly pristine and clear, it’s perfect for snorkelling.
Stingrays and dolphins
To see wildlife up close and personal, visit Hamelin Bay near Augusta to meet the friendly stingrays that come right into the shallows of the waters, or go to Mandurah if you want to see dolphins. These playful animals can often be seen frolicking and playing in the estuary, and there are dolphin tours available.
Best beach for…Instagramming
WA’s big blue cloudless skies and the vibrant red, orange and green hues of the ancient landscape make for dramatic photos.
In the South West
There are too many to choose from, so we’ve picked a three-for-the-price-of-one option: the Castle Rock Bay-Meelup–Eagle Bay trio of neighbouring beaches. Meelup is simply one of the best all-round beaches in the South West and one of the most popular. To its north is the long, picturesque and quiet Eagle Bay, and to its south is the more rugged Castle Rock Bay with big rocks that throw out rusty, red and brilliant orange colours in the sunset.
In the Great Southern
There are so many to choose from in this more remote corner of the earth, but our picks are Little Beach near Albany and Elephant Rocks near Denmark. The former is a, yes, little beach with lush green hills rising steeply from the beach below and hug the bay. The latter has the same beautiful coloured waters but has huge granite boulders that look as if they were carefully placed there. From certain angles they look like a herd of elephants, hence the name.
Don’t just dream it – do it. Book your beach break now.
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