Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast, Queensland © Tourism Australia
Australia’s best beaches for a family vacation
Australia’s coastline is an aquatic playground for all ages. Let the beach fun begin.
By Amy Fraser
With an endless coastline dotted with dazzling white sands and pristine water, it’s little wonder that Australians get acquainted with the beach at an early age. From secluded rock pools, laid-back kangaroos and activities galore, there’s entertainment for the whole family across the country’s epic collection of beaches. Here are some of the best for little ones, young kids and older children alike.
Kid-friendly beaches near Sydney
If you’re looking for beautiful beaches with quiet waters, then look no further than Sydney’s harbour. Balmoral Beach, located on Sydney’s north shore, is a favourite for tiny tots. With calm waters, an enclosed playground, rock pools, and even an island, it’s more of a children's utopia than a beach. Further north in Manly sits the secluded Shelly Beach. The still, iridescent water is the perfect cool-off spot for little ones. Nestled in Sydney’s eastern suburbs is Parsley Bay Reserve where little ones will enjoy splashing in the calm waters and exploring the nearby playground. Families can spend the whole day at Parsley Bay with easy access to shade, picnic facilities and amenities.
Kid-friendly beaches near Adelaide
Located in the city of Adelaide, the bustling Glenelg Beach comprises everything a family needs for a day at the beach. Spend quality time with your little ones on the soft sand or seek shade in the multitude of shops, restaurants and side streets. If you’ve got older kids in tow, they’ll love the Foreshore playground and Mosley Square activities. The charming seaside village Port Noarlunga has a similar appeal and makes a great stop along the coast towards McLaren Vale.
Kid-friendly beaches near Cairns
The charismatic Palm Cove is perennially popular with families. Its picturesque beaches are primed for sandcastles, while safety nets in the gentle waters keep parents' minds at ease when it’s time to cool off. If you’re in Cairns, head to Trinity Beach for a splash between the protected nets and a family BBQ under the shaded coconut trees.
Kid-friendly beaches near Perth
Western Australia’s coastline is as breathtaking as it gets with wild waves, dramatic cliffs and beguiling marine life. But amidst the excitement are an abundance of serene rock pools, including Rottnest Island’s Basin and Perth’s Mettams Pool. All boasting crystal-clear, safe waters to paddle around in, they’re nature’s answers to a toddler’s pool.
Kid-friendly beaches near Canberra
Canberra may not be located by the ocean, but the Australian Capital Territory has been awarded a dazzling slice of beachside land around Jervis Bay, just a three-hour drive from the capital. Jervis might be a small town, but it’s certainly made a mark on the big map with its calm, aqua blue waters and sparkling white sands. Families with small children can bask in the bay’s beaches, from the iconic Hyams to the lesser-known Honeymoon Bay, complete with picnic tables and toilet facilities. Further down south the charming Ulladulla Harbour Outer Beach and Sea Pool has everything a young family needs for a memorable day at the beach.
Kid-friendly beaches near the Gold Coast
Aqua blue waves, natural paddling pools and beaches enveloped by shaded national park; there’s little wonder families flock to the shores of Byron Bay every summer. With plenty of safe paddling opportunities in calm and shallow waters, The Pass Beach is practically designed for small children. Yamba, another family locale just south of the Gold Coast, is home to Whiting Beach. Known as the most sheltered beach in the Clarence Valley and with facilities galore, it’s an ideal place to introduce your little ones to the ocean. Or if you're looking for a beach on the Sunshine Coast, be sure to check out Kings Beach where child-friendly water fountains, facilities and a protected swimming area are at your fingertips.
Kid-friendly beaches near Melbourne
Port Melbourne Beach has everything a parent can ask for: safe water, refreshments and plenty of shade. Grab a coffee, take a dip with your little one and soak in the picture-perfect views. Another great spot for tiny tots sits just outside of Melbourne at Port Phillip Bay. Families are spoilt for choice at this local port area, with sixteen bays to choose from. The calm waters of Indented Head and Portarlington Beach continue to be favourites amongst locals and holidaymakers.