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A surfer at Agnes Water Beach, Gladstone
Photograph: Jesse Lindemann/Tourism and Events QueenslandAgnes Water Beach, Gladstone

Five secret beaches to discover in Queensland

The state has an embarrassment of stunning beaches but have you heard of these underrated oceanside gems?

Written by
Katrina Lobley
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Dare to be different and you’ll escape the madding crowds that flock to some of Queensland’s glorious, better-known beaches. Follow our guide to find beaches that connect to ancient culture, offer island-to-island views, provide safe haven for turtles and breakfast for marsupials, as well as the east coast’s most northerly gnarly waves.

Discover more natural wonders in Queensland.

Woorim Beach, Bribie Island
Photograph: Ezra Patchett/Tourism and Events Queensland

Woorim Beach, Bribie Island

We love an island you can drive to. Just north of Brisbane is Bribie Island, connected to the mainland by an 831-metre-long bridge. There are calm swimming beaches – and stunning views of the Glass House Mountains – from the old-fashioned island’s Pumicestone Passage side, but zip over to the surf side for a body-surf or body-board. Woorim Beach’s small, consistent waves don’t attract surfers but they’re great fun for a saltwater frolic. As a bonus, you can lie on the sand and soak up views across to rugged Moreton Island. Behind the beach are cafés where you can access a convenient caffeine hit or pick up fish and chips.

Echo Beach, Gold Coast
Photograph: Kyle Hunter & Hayley Andersen/Tourism and Events Queensland

Echo Beach, Gold Coast

As Martha and the Muffins sang, “Echo Beach, far away in time …” This glorious piece of sand lines Tallebudgera Creek’s northern bank and is part of Burleigh Head National Park, a culturally significant site. While it’s easy to splash about in the creek’s serene turquoise waters, you can also seek out a deeper experience. Trace the 1.2km Oceanview track just above the beach to see if you can spot an ochre pit and shell middens created by the Kombumerri people. You can also take a guided tour of the track through the Jellurgal Aboriginal Cultural Centre at the park’s entrance. Fitness fanatics can follow the Rainforest circuit that leads up and over Jellurgal – the mountain that inspired Dreamtime stories.

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Mon Repos Beach, Bundaberg
Photograph: Jesse Lindemann/Tourism and Events Queensland

Mon Repos Beach, Bundaberg

Mon Repos is one of Queensland’s most undeveloped beaches – for a good reason. From November to March, the beach turns into the largest turtle rookery in the South Pacific with its sands sculpted by turtle tracks that are at first large then tiny. Mother turtles haul themselves from the sea to the dunes to nest; six to eight weeks later, tiny hatchlings scurry down to the water’s edge. During turtle season, public access to the beach is restricted at night. The only way you can reach the sand during these hours is by joining one of the ranger-guided Turtle Encounter tours (book early). Mon Repos is 13km from downtown Bundaberg and a 4.5-hour drive north of Brisbane.

Casuarina Beach, Mackay region
Photograph: Matt Glastonbury/Tourism and Events Queensland

Casuarina Beach, Mackay region

Thanks to Instagram, Cape Hillsborough National Park’s remote Casuarina Beach is becoming more widely known. The unusual drawcard here is the mob of kangaroos and wallabies that hop down to the sand just before dawn to forage along the wrack line for seaweed, mangrove seed pods and other breakfast snacks. Remember not to get too close to them for the sake of a selfie as you might frighten away these wild marsupials. The park, located along the Mackay region’s Hibiscus Coast, is almost 1,000km north of Brisbane, so plan a few overnight stops along the way – perhaps at the Town of 1770, Agnes Water or Rockhampton.

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Agnes Water Beach
Photograph: Jesse Lindemann/Tourism and Events Queensland

Agnes Water Beach

Almost two hours’ drive north of Mon Repos are Agnes Water and the Town of 1770. If you’ve been wondering how far north you can take your surfboard, Agnes Water reckons it’s home to the most northerly surf beach along Australia’s east coast. Agnes Water Beach is also incredibly picturesque, with views all the way to the Seventeen Seventy headland. Unsurprisingly, the beach also attracts nesting turtles in November and December, so be careful not to disturb them. Agnes Water is also home to a magical paperbark forest boardwalk that comes complete with stepping stones so you can tiptoe through the wetlands, keeping an eye out for butterflies and an ear out for frogs, all without getting your feet wet.

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