The South West has over a thousand kilometres of coastline. From tranquil bays and bright blue lagoons to limestone cliffs and rugged granite headlands. We have a Mediterranean climate with plenty of sunny days to truly enjoy a day at the beach. If you’re in search of the bustling atmosphere of the European seaside, head to the local town beaches where ice-cream vans and cafes await. If you want to search out your little slice of private heaven, it’s never too far away.
Click to Enlarge Beach Map
Here's some of the South West's best beaches, all easily accessible with plenty of other nearby activities, pop into a local visitor centre for more things to see and do in the area.
Easy drive from Perth
Located within a two to three hour drive form Perth, these beaches make an easy getaway or even a day trip! Koombana Bay (#1) set at the entrance to the city of Bunbury is home to wild and very friendly bottlenose dolphins and the Dolphin Discovery Centre. Here you might be lucky to see them up close in the knee deep water of their "interaction zone". You can also join a cruise or even swim with dolphins in season. Bunbury Back Beach (#2) is also close to the city centre, yet you'll still likely be treated to your own sunset lit stretch of paradise. Take a short loop walk from the Bunbury Light House pathway, onto the beach and back again.
The Busselton Jetty stretches up to 1.8 kilometres over the shallow waters of Geographe Bay (#3). It is the longest timber piled jetty in the southern hemisphere and it even has a red train you can ride to the end. Once there, descend into the Underwater Observatory, described as Australia’s greatest artificial reef, with more than 300 marine species, vibrant sponge and coral. Other summer activities include diving, snorkeling, under water walking tours and mermaid shows.
Bunker Bay (#4) is located near the iconic Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse and set between the two popular coastal holiday towns of Yallingup and Dunsborough. If white sand and that true seaside lifestyle appeals, you cant go past this place of natural beauty.
Koombana Bay Bunbury by Matt Blakers Photo
Bunbury Back Beach by Matt Blakers Photo
Busselton Jetty over Geographe Bay
Bunker Bay by Paul Donovan, @pgdono (IG)
The Margaret River region's 130 kilometer stretch of coastline is world renowned with over 75 surf breaks to chose from. Even if you aren't a surfer, it's entertaining to watch from a lookout or the beach and most of them are in a perfect location to watch the sun set over the ocean.
Injidup Beach (#5) is the focus of many's admiration, popular for swimming, snorkeling and surfing. Its on a stretch of coastline with plenty of unique rock formations including Sugarloaf Rock and Canal Rocks. Gracetown Beach (#6) is a popular surfing location but retains a real off-the-grid feel. Watch surfers from a high vantage point and time your visit with lunch at a casual cafe. Margaret River Mouth (#7) is a great place to explore with the white sandy beach and shallow river mouth close by. Just over 10 minutes from the Margaret River townsite, Gnarabup Beach (#8) gives you that European seaside feel with beachside dining, and a friendly holiday atmosphere.
Injidup Beach with Walk into Luxury by Elements Margaret River
Margaret River Mouth
These beaches are popular fishing locations for both professionals and recreation. Hamelin Bay (#9) is famous for your chance to meet wild but friendly sting rays who are happy to come close to humans after years of feasting on fisherman's scraps. Flinders Bay (#9) in Augusta is named after Captain Matthew Flinders who dropped off early settlers, making it the third European settlement of Western Australia in 1830. Salmon Beach (#10) commonly turns a beautiful salmon colour at sunset. Its also a popular fishing spot for salmon from April to May (can differ annually). Windy Harbour (#11) is a popular camping ground and area to explore by 4WD. It's one of the few beaches along the isolated coastline of the Southern Forests region that is easily accessible by car.
Hamelin Bay by Sean Blocksidge, Margaret River Discovery Co.
Flinders Bay, Augusta by David Ashley Photography
Salmon Beach by Wendy Eiby
Windy Harbour by David Ashley Photography
Secluded Coast and Quiet Hamlets
Not quite meriting the statement of 'town', these beaches are along a stretch of coastline that is home to small hamlets. Fishing, secluded accommodation and the feeling of being away from it all is the theme. Banksia Camp (#13) is a popular camping spot, particularly in Spring; the wildflower season. It's only accessable by 4WD and there are many nearby tracks to explore. Mandalay Beach (#14) is on everyone's bucket list who is aware of it's beauty. It is named after the Mandalay that was shipwrecked on the waters edge in 1911 and remains today but is only seen every so often when the beach is particularly eroded. Take a picnic and enjoy the picturesque boardwalk trail with views of Conspicuous Cliffs and Chatham Island. Peaceful Bay (#15) is a small fishing hamlet and popular family destination in school holidays. It's where the Irwin Inlet meets the ocean offering extra water activities like kayaking. Parry Beach (#16) is comparable to Peaceful Bay, both set between the quiet coastal towns of Walpole and Denmark, they make excellent locations to explore both areas with exceptional natural attractions.
Conspicuous Cliffs at Mandalay Beach
Peacefull Bay by Viv Campbell
Elements Margaret River with Parry Beach Houses
Rolling Green Coastline
From steep plunging cliffs to the most still gentle waters you've seen. What seems like diversity in landscapes that you should see over days, are actually within 1 hour drive of each other. Greens Pool (#17) is famous for its protected waters. Even on a rough day, the granite boulders protect the shallow lagoon. There's plenty of space as well as another beach just a few minutes walk away around the flat rocks or by the marked track. Just as stunning as the last, Elephant Cove is famous for the group of large smooth granite boulders that look like a herd of elephants. It's long rectangle shape also protects the still waters on 3 sides. Ocean Beach (#18) lives up to it's reputation as the most popular surf beach in the Great Southern region. Just 10 minutes drive from Denmark, its suitable for all swimming abilities with shallow waters at one end near the equally swimmable Wilson Inlet. The smooth rolling waves of Ocean Beach infront of the Surf Life Saving Club is also an ideal location to learn how to surf.
Shelley Beach (#19) in West Cape Howe National Park is a captivating and pristine area. Try your hand at paragliding or 4WD to Torbay Head, a sheer granite cliff and the most southerly point of Western Australia. Sand Patch Beach (#20) is one of the most popular sections of the Bibbulmun Track, a 1000km walking track from Perth to Albany. Take a walk from the Albany Wind Farm carpark, past a windmill, around the coastal boardwalk and back up the first flight of stairs for a spectacular view of the beach where you can commonly see whales in early Spring. To get onto the beach you'll need to go down about 500 steps.. meaning you have to climb back up!
Greens Pool, Denmark by Elements Margaret River for Parry Beach Houses
Ocean Beach, Denmark
Shelley Beach by Elements Margaret River
Sand Patch, Albany by Lynton Bennett @Lyntonwb
White White Sands
Its seems each beach is whiter than the last on the south coast. Middleton Beach (#21) is the city of Albany's most popular beach, spoiling you for choice with a beachside bar, tavern, wine bar and coffee shop. The playground shaped like a ship is an absolute favourite for kids and the historic Ellen Cove Boardwalk starts from here, passing by the Albany Heritage Park that houses the National Anzac Centre. There's a pontoon, jetty and a stretch of beach further along to walk your pooch. Betty's Beach (#22) and nearby Cheynes Beach are popular camping destinations and well located to explore vast sand dunes as well as the Porongurup and Stirling Ranges.
The most easterly area of the South West region is Bremer Bay and the Fitzgerald River National Park. Blossoms Beach (#23) is just one of many perfect turquoise beaches in the area and one of the most popular. Point Ann (#24) is the last but certainly not the least on our list. Exceptional as it's one of the few known Southern Right Whale nurseries in the Southern Hemisphere. Here you can commonly spot mothers and their calves from the lookout between July and October. It's also a popular camping spot, particularly in Spring when wildflowers are at their peak with many walking tracks to explore and see the area's famous Royal Hakea and Scarlet Banksias.
Middleton Beach by Elements Margaret River
Blossom Beach, Bremer Bay
Point Ann by Peter Nicholas and DPAW
When to visit
In truth, our beaches are beautiful at any time of year. In Summer, these places are great for a dip and some even for activities like canoeing, snorkelling, diving and barbeque facilities. It's also the best weather to swim with dolphins in Bunbury and the season to see killer whales that come to the bountiful waters off Bremer Bay. In Autumn the weather is moderate and ideal for adventuring the surrounding hiking and cycling trails. In Winter, whales migrate around the coast and can commonly be seen around Augusta and Albany. As the swell rises and waves are crashing, there's nothing nicer than rugging up in a coastal shelter with a thermos of hot cocoa. In Spring the colourful coastal wildflowers make the turquiose waters look even more dazzling and there are still plenty of whales to be seen off the coastline, particularly around Busselton and Dunsborough.
You might also be interested in...