NSW's Cabarita Beach Has Been Named Australia's Best Beach for 2020

Two inland beaches have made the Tourism Australia list for the first time, too.
Samantha Teague
December 12, 2019

During the summer months, there's often one thing at the top of our to-do lists: hitting up as many beaches as possible. Australia has a lot of them (11,761 of them, to be exact) and choosing which ones to go to can be difficult. Where won't be too busy? Too seaweed-y? Which one has the whitest sand? The bluest water? Is the best for beach cricket? There's a lot to consider. Thankfully, Tourism Australia's Beach Ambassador (how do we apply?) Brad Farmer AM has done the hard yards and pulled together a tidy list of the top 20 Australian beaches for 2020.

Farmer chose the beaches based on water quality, cleanliness, capacity, facilities, safety and 'wow' factor, as well as a host of other factors. Topping the list for 2020 is Cabarita Beach on the Tweed Coast, tucked between Byron Bay and the Gold Coast. As well as being a great surfing spot that's reasonably quiet, Cabarita is filled with lauded dining destinations and a brand-new glamping retreat a thong's throw from the award-winning beach. Farmer calls it a "quintessential Aussie beachscape showcasing a truly diverse range of settings to swoon over".

Wagga Wagga Beach by Destination NSW.

Also on the list, for the first time, is an "inland beach". Wagga Wagga Beach, coming in at number nine, is located on the banks of the Murrumbidge River a five-hour drive inland from Sydney. It's far from the coast — and the seashore — but Farmer said "it's time we extend the meaning of a beach". "There are so many aquatic environments across Australia's interior," Farmer said in a statement. "These water spaces...socially connect rural and remote communities in often dusty and dry, drought conditions." At a time when so many parts of rural Australia are suffering through a two-year drought, it seems a fitting time to recognise our inland water bodies.

A second non-coastal beach made the list, too: the pristine Lake McKenzie on Queensland's Fraser Island, which came in tenth. Rounding out the top five are the Gold Coast's Currumbin Beach at number two, NSW's hidden Minnamurra Beach (aka Mystics Beach) at number three, and Maria Island in Tasmania and Queensland's Cape Tribulation at number four and five respectively.

Some of Australia's busiest (and, arguably, most popular) beaches — ie Bondi and Jervis Bay— didn't make the short list, but are both on Farmer's long list of 101 top Australian beaches for 2020. As did the Whitsunday's Whitehaven Beach, Australia's top-ranking beach in FlightNetwork's global list.

So pack your togs (and your beach cricket set), round up some mates and start ticking these off. We see many road trips in your future.

Lake McKenzie by Ashley Dobson


1. Cabarita (NSW)
2. Currumbin (Qld)
3. Minnamurra (NSW)
4. Maria Island (Tas)
5. Cape Tribulation (Qld)
6. Brighton Beach (Vic)
7. Bettys Beach (WA)
8. South Port Beach (SA)
9. Wagga Wagga Beach (NSW)
10. Lake McKenzie (Qld)
11. The Basin, Rottnest Island (WA)
12. Fingal Bay (NSW)
13. Smiths Beach (WA)
14. Neds Beach, Lord Howe Island (NSW)
15. Quobba Station Red Bluff (WA)
16. Cossies Beach (Indian Ocean)
17. Lake Tyers Beach (Vic)
18. Diamond Head (NSW)
19. Pondalowie Bay (SA)
20. Killiecrankie Beach, Flinders Island (Tas)

Top images: Cabarita Beach by Destination NSW

Published on December 12, 2019 by Samantha Teague
Tap and select Add to Home Screen to access Concrete Playground easily next time. x