Released to coincide with the end of summer, the annual list of Queensland’s top ten patrolled beaches ranks popular locations based on safety, facilities and nearby services.
No doubt, many Queenslanders have their own favourite, choosing our top ten is always a tough job, but one that we enjoy due to the sheer number of beautiful locations along our coastline.
1. COOLUM, SUNSHINE COAST
For the first time, Coolum Beach on the Sunshine Coast has claimed the top spot. More than 270,000 beachgoers packing its shores across summer.
Dedicated lifeguards and friendly volunteer surf lifesavers are on hand 365 days a year to ensure there is someone keeping a watchful eye over visitors. Two sets of red and yellow flags provide ample space for swimmers to enjoy the water.
Its location, access to parking and public transport, nearby services and cleanliness helping it secure the converted position. It is also wheelchair accessible on weekends, making sure everyone can enjoy what it has to offer.
TIP: Always swim between the red and yellow flags.
2. ALMA BAY, MAGNETIC ISLAND
Nestled away on Magnetic Island, picturesque Alma Bay had to feature in our top rankings. Its calm conditions resulted in zero rescues being performed throughout the summer period, despite more than 75,000 beachgoers visiting the bay.
A great spot to snorkel but ensure you stay within your limits.
Patrolled all-year-round, providing ample opportunity for visitors to Magnetic Island to swim between the flags.
TIP: During stinger season make sure you wear a stinger suit.
3. BURLEIGH HEADS, GOLD COAST
Protected from south-easterly winds due to the headland, Burleigh is a great family-friendly beach. Volunteer lifesavers actively patrol on weekends, conducting more than 600 preventative actions over the 2019/20 summer.
Regularly serviced amenities and ample parking space make it appealing to Gold Coast beachgoers, while the surrounding restaurants and shops provide a great place to take a break after a dip in the ocean.
World-class surf breaks around the headland attract experienced surfers to the area, providing a great spectacle to watch from Burleigh Hill.
TIP: Always surf with a mate.
4. FOUR MILE BEACH, PORT DOUGLAS
Four Mile Beach is the gateway to the rainforest and Great Barrier Reef. The beautiful long stretch of beach is patrolled 365 days per year with coffee, shops and food easily accessible.
Located only an hour drive from Cairns International Airport and two hours from Cape Tribulation, it attracts both locals and visitors.
TIP: Stay sun safe and remember to slip, slop, slap, seek and slide.
5. CYLINDER BEACH, NORTH STRADBROKE ISLAND
Cylinder Beach is a regular within SLSQ’s best beaches given its protected conditions throughout the year.
It has a campground within walking distance, making it appealing to visitors. Take a ferry from Cleveland and make a day trip to this piece of paradise. It is easily accessible by public transport, and for those travelling by car, there is ample parking.
TIP: Ask a lifesaver or lifeguard if you are unsure about conditions.
6. NIELSON PARK, BARGARA
Nielson Park claimed the best beach in Bundaberg due to its calm conditions and low incident occurrences, with only four rescues performed across summer.
Local restaurants and food outlets are within walking distance, and the caravan park is a stone’s throw away, so it’s great for both locals and visitors.
Before heading to the beach, ensure to check patrol times and only swim when lifesavers or lifeguards are on duty.
TIP: Always swim during patrolled hours.
7. COOLANGATTA, GOLD COAST
Coolangatta is a fantastic spot to roll out the towel, and with the wide beach, there is plenty of space to set up your umbrella and unwind. The clear waters and protected surf conditions, make a swim very appealing.
A pathway runs along the entire foreshore, allowing you to take in the sights by walking or riding. Numerous accommodation options are available on the southern stretch of the coast, making it a great spot to take a holiday.
TIP: Don’t drink and swim.
8. RAINBOW BEACH, SUNSHINE COAST
On the northern end of the Sunshine Coast, Rainbow Beach is a hidden gem. Accessible by road from Gympie, or explore and drive along the beach from Noosa, taking in the sights of the rainbow coloured sand cliffs on the way.
A great spot to pull up for lunch and a swim on the family road trip, with the barge to Fraser Island just down the road.
Lifeguards and lifesavers ensure the flags are positioned in the safest place to swim every day of the year.
TIP: When arriving at the beach always reads the conditions report.
9. TRINITY BEACH, CAIRNS
The laidback atmosphere makes Trinity one of Cairns much loved beaches amongst locals. Calm conditions offer a great spot to cool off on those hot North Queensland days.
It’s patrolled year-round with the flags being positioned inside a stinger net throughout stinger season.
TIP: Always swim with a friend.
10. KINGS BEACH, SUNSHINE COAST
Great place to hit the beach with friends, go for a swim and then head up to one of the many local cafes and restaurants to catch up over a meal.
Home to the Sunshine Coast’s only saltwater ocean pool – if surf conditions aren’t great there is still a place to cool off.
TIP: Parents should keep children within arm’s reach.
Banner: Tourism and Events Queensland
Alma Bay: @gabrieldiedrick
Four Mile Beach: @bennyheat
Nielson Park: Tourism and Events Queensland
Coolangatta: 2017 Getty Images
Trinity Beach: @amarooresort
Kings Beach: @nunnsontherun