Live at Australia’s best beach, where property is millions of dollars cheaper than Bondi or Byron

Australia’s most iconic beaches have long been beloved but they’ve also often come with long price tags.

Bondi Beach, Byron Bay, Burleigh Heads – these are some of our nation’s most-recognisable beach locations, but the cost of owning property there runs into the millions. North Bondi, for example, has a median house price of almost $4.39 million, according to Domain’s latest house price data.

Byron Bay’s median is more than $2 million and Burleigh Heads comes in at $1.4 million, although the price tag for a house near the beachfront is likely to be two or three times that.

But Australia’s best beaches, according to Tourism Australia’s top 10 for 2023, are not necessarily its most expensive, property-wise.

This year, the South Australian beach of Stokes Bay, on a quiet stretch of Kangaroo Island’s northern coastline, took out the number one spot for Best Australian Beach.

Top 10 best Australian beaches for 2023, house prices

Median house price
Stokes Bay, Kangaroo Island – South Australia $1,695,000
Boomerang Beach, Mid North Coast – NSW $735,000
Rainbow Beach, Cooloola Coast – Queensland $570,000
Apollo Bay, Great Ocean Road – Victoria $505 000
Adventure Bay, Bruny Island – Tasmania $1,310,000
Hamelin Bay, South-West, Western Australia $670,000
Little Bondi Beach, East Arnhem Land – Northern Territory
British Admiralty Beach, King Island, Bass Strait – Tasmania $297,500
Flying Fish Cove – Christmas Island
Balmoral Beach, Sydney Harbour, NSW $3,350,000

Source: Tourism Australia, Domain House Price Report, Dec 2022. *Median price is based on the beach’s SA3 region as determined by the ABS. ** Some beaches did not meet the min. 50 sales required to record a median.

Homes in the broader Kangaroo Island region don’t always come cheaply – the median price for a house is $1.695 million – but in the secluded but spectacular location of Stokes Bay, about 160 kilometres south-west of Adelaide, a whopping 33.47 hectares of land with sweeping ocean views can be purchased for $890,000.

Selling agent Michael Barrett of Century 21 Kangaroo Island says the beach region is becoming increasingly popular, particularly with tourists and locals, and while property there is affordable, it’s hard to come by.

“This is the kind of place where people hold onto properties for generations,” he says.

“There are houses up the top of the beach there that just get passed down to kids and grandkids. That land I’m selling has been in the same family for 40 years.”

Further up the road, a four-bedroom stone house with raked ceilings and expansive ocean views is asking for offers over $1.2 million.

Stokes Bay
4785 North Coast Road, Stokes Bay SA 5223

“I’d like to see some of the land rezoned and the bigger parcels sub-divided so more people can enjoy it because it’s a beautiful beach, a beautiful surf beach,” Barrett says.

“There’s several locals who swim every morning. It’s just so picturesque. People pull up and think it’s all full of rock but you just have to walk through through the rock tunnel. Local folklore is that a number of years ago some local farmers blew a pathway through the rock to get to the beach.”

Many of the beaches that made the top 10 this year, beating out more than 12,000 other beaches, are lesser-known idylls, such as British Admiralty Beach on King Island, which lies off the north-west coast of Tasmania (the median house price in this region is $297,500), and Hamelin Bay, located south of the Margaret River (the median house price in this region is $670,000).

Queensland’s Rainbow Beach, a favourite with 4WD enthusiasts and the Hemsworth family, is also the southern gateway to the world heritage-listed Fraser Island. It placed third.

It’s about an hour and a half’s drive north of Noosa and house prices in this region sit at $570,000, although acreage properties fronting the beach have been known to sell into the millions.

Rainbow Beach
7 Green Valley Drive, Rainbow Beach QLD 4581

There are still affordable properties to be found though, particularly units, some of which are selling for less than $500,000, or vacant land, some of which is selling for less than $300,000.

Boomerang Beach, in the NSW mid-north coast township of Pacific Palms, south of Forster, took out second place. Houses in this region have a median price of $735,000, although if it’s a spectacular view you’re after, the price is – you guessed it – much higher.

Balmoral Beach was the only Sydney beach to make the top 10. Home to some of Australia’s wealthiest home owners, the median price for a house nearby, in suburbs like Mosman, is $4.725 million.

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