It’s an Australian tradition to hit the beach on long summer days. The sound of waves crashing along the shore and the feeling of a coastal breeze brushing against your skin can be a welcome escape from the heat. Everyone deserves to the opportunity to enjoy our beautiful beaches, and thanks to greater accessibility, it’s becoming easier for everyone to enjoy them.
Discover our favourite accessible beaches across Australia here.
The water is a little chilly down south, but don't let that put you off checking out the gorgeous beaches scattered along the coastline. If you live near Melbourne or plan to go for a holiday, heading to the beach has to be on your to-do list. The city has the only two beaches in the country with accessible beach matting available 24 hours a day and seven days a week during the summer months.
Originally the first seaport location in Melbourne, Williamstown beach is 14km from Melbourne’s CBD and is a beautiful place to enjoy Port Phillip Bay's calm water.
When visiting the beach, you will notice the matting for people with wheelchairs, walkers, strollers and other mobility devices to access the water’s edge. There are also two beach-friendly wheelchairs (the Sandpiper and Mobi-Chair) and a beach-friendly walking frame available to hire for free with a reservation. If you need to use the bathroom, there are suitable ones available and plenty of great cafes nearby to grab a coffee or a meal.
Travel 11km east of Williamstown and the larger Altona Beach will be waiting for you. Known for its iconic pier, Altona is a very popular location during the warmer months for locals due to its size.
The beach contains even more facilities than Williamstown with an additional two wheelchairs suitable for adults and accessible change rooms available across the street at Weaver Reserve. Inside you will find a changing table and a hoist that requires you to bring your own sling. After a day at the beach, a visit to Pier Street is a must with its variety of restaurants and cafes.
New South Wales
Beaches in New South Wales are renowned for their surf breaks, openness and warm water. There are a few accessible beaches, and they aren't just limited to Sydney's bustling city either.
Located in the leafy northern suburbs, Collaroy Beach is the perfect place for a beach day in Sydney. With rock pools, an ocean bath and small waves, the beach is very popular with swimmers and surfers alike. There is plenty of room to spread out at Collaroy, and being quieter than Bondi or Manly, finding a park should be easier too.
The accessible facilities available at Collaroy are state of the art. There is a beach wheelchair available at no cost during the summer season, along with a fantastic playground that has a liberty swing and carousel that are both wheelchair accessible. The newer bathroom is also equipped for people with unique mobility needs. It has plenty of grab rails, an adjustable showerhead and a lift transfer to use with your own sling. If you are craving a bite to eat after your day at the beach, Collaroy has many fish and chip shops to choose from.
Cooks Hill Surf Lifesaving Club
Newcastle is often referred to as ‘God's Country’ by its locals, and it's easy to see why. The city is minutes to some of Australia's most beautiful beaches, and thanks to the smaller population that lives here, the beaches rarely feel like they are packed to the brim.
A four-minute drive southwest of the Newcastle CBD will bring you to Cooks Hill Lifesaving Club, replete with products and services to help everyone enjoy the beach. With a prior reservation, you can enjoy the use of a beach-friendly wheelchair suitable for both adults and children, a beach-suitable power chair, ramps and matting, a hoist lift and a lift to get from the beach to street level. The equipment can be used at Bar Beach (depending on the surf conditions) or Horseshoe Beach in the harbour. Opposite Bar Beach is the lovely Empire Park that is perfect for a picnic and to enjoy the sunset.
Many residents of ‘The Sunshine State’ claim that the beaches are better up north, and it's hard to argue with them – great surf, a warm climate and not too crowded – Queensland’s coastal playgrounds are hard to beat.
Burleigh Heads Beach
Arguably one of Australia's most iconic beaches, the City of Gold Coast has stepped up their game in the last few years. Burleigh Heads beach is now entirely suitable for walkers, wheelchairs and other mobility needs, with matting to assist getting down to the water's edge and free rentals of a Mobi Chair and Hippocampe beach wheelchair. These chairs need to be reserved before your arrival by contacting the Burleigh Heads Mowbray Park Surf Life Saving Club.
There is also an accessible bathroom in the surf lifesaving club and a Changing Places toilet close by with shower and ceiling tracking hoist.
Alexandra Headland Beach
Head north past Brisbane, and you will wind up on the glorious Sunshine Coast boasting dozens of beaches along the coastline from Caloundra to Noosa.
Alexandra Headland Beach is located towards the southern end of the Sunshine Coast and was the first beach in the area to offer accessible matting. Visitors to the beach can use the matting on weekends to get down into the water during the summer months, and there are suitable bathroom facilities available to use. There is also an extensive footpath network worth exploring where you can enjoy beach views while remaining sand-free.
The beaches in South Australia are a little underrated compared to the rest of the country, but just as stunning and locations suitable for everyone.
Regarded as one of the best beaches in the state, Seacliff Beach is a calm water spot around 17kms southwest of the Adelaide CBD and the first in the state to offer facilities to improve access. The slat-type matting is available during the weekends and on public holidays. If you need to borrow a wheelchair, they also have a Mobi-Chair that you can use for no cost and a bathroom in the surf lifesaving club.
This part of Adelaide is on the suburban side, so round out a day at the beach with a beer or feed from the pub right across the road at Seacliff.
Outside of the Adelaide metro area around an hour and a half drive south is the picturesque Normanville Beach on the western Fleurieu Peninsula. The crystal-clear water will entice even the most indifferent beachgoers to this family-friendly destination.
Normanville has slat-type matting to help people get over the soft sand at the beach, along with one Mobi-Chair that is free to rent. The beach is known for being remarkably safe in average weather conditions, so if you are interested in splashing about by the shoreline, this is the perfect place to do so. "Normy" has plenty of local charm too, so stick around and enjoy the quaint seaside town before packing up for the day.
For those out west, Western Australia has been adding more accessible beaches over the last few years. With turquoise-coloured water, pure white sand and plenty of sunshine, the beaches here are utterly captivating.
Hilary's Marina Beach
Want to experience a calm beach experience a short drive from the Perth CBD? You can't beat the beach at Hilary's Marina. Protected from the elements, the beach is located inside the boat harbour with around 200 metres of coastline to enjoy. There is matting available that will help take you down to the edge of the water, along with a beach-friendly wheelchair that can be rented for free from the City of Joondalup. If you choose to rent the chair, you will be required to pick it up from the Sorrento Surf Life Saving Club around a five-minute drive from Hilary's.
Hilary's Beach swimming conditions are very calm and almost pool-like, so if you want to take a dip, this will be the most comfortable beach to do so. You can also go for a pleasant stroll and explore the boat harbour thanks to the numerous paved paths.
Outside of Perth, you can head down to the City of Rockingham. They have done a tremendous job to make beaches in their jurisdiction available for everyone, so there is a range of equipment available to help people out. The surf beach on the Singleton Foreshore has excellent access thanks to a sealed path with handrails from the car park that leads to matting on the beach. You can reserve wheelchairs and walkers before your visit and pick them up from the nearby Mike Barnett Sports Complex or the aqua jetty. Little ones can also make the most of the accessible playground facilities near the beach entrance.