Best Coastal Photography Locations In Australia
When it comes to picture perfect locations for your coastal photography, Australia offers these in abundance.
And with over 16,000 miles of coastline, there’s definitely no shortage of stunning spaces for you to explore and snap some seriously striking images. As an underwater photographer and artist, I’m always on the lookout for diverse, colourful and eye-catching seascapes. But what makes a coastal location “the best” for photographing?
During my career I’ve travelled all over Australia’s coast, and whilst the majority of my time is usually spent under the water capturing calming ocean artwork, there are several coastal locations that I hold close to my heart for their sheer beauty and majesty.
My criteria for the best coastal photography locations in Australia is simple – these are places that offer beauty, inspiration and awe. They are locations that prompt you to pause and reflect on the magnificence of our natural world.
So without further delay, here’s my recommendations for the top Australia coastal photography locations.
Queensland is an ideal location for any marine photography enthusiast, as the eastern coastline is bordered by the Coral Sea and home to the Great Barrier Reef. It’s an area of outstanding beauty, with a vast assortment of wildlife and vibrant coastal landscapes.
Due to the sheer size of Queensland, the geographical features and climate of this state are quite diverse – with its coral reefs and sandy beaches making the perfect backdrop to any coastal photography.
It’s safe to say that I’m a huge lover of Queensland’s coast and the various islands located in this region of the Pacific Ocean. Lady Elliot Island in particular, which is located around the central Queensland Bundaberg region, is a place I happily return to time and time again.
There are so many unparalleled photography opportunities at Lady Elliot Island. In fact, two of my favourite Lady Elliot Island photos are Captivation and Majestic, as these pieces always evoke very precious and personal memories for me.
Other islands that I would recommend you add to your coastal photography Queensland bucket list include:
Another area that offers exquisite coastal photography in Queensland is the Sunshine Coast itself.
With multicoloured sand dunes and several stretches of unbroken coastline, the Sunshine Coast is famous for its white sand beaches, bright blue waters, and lush hinterland. This road-trip itinerary even suggests several charming spots where you can stop off and get out your camera, so you can get snapping.
There are also opportunities for swimming with whales and exploring underwater wrecks in this area, so once you’ve finished your photoshoot, why not take the chance to explore underwater too.
New South Wales (NSW)
The Julian Rocks Nature Reserve, located on the Julian Rocks approximately 2.5 kilometres off the coast of Byron Bay, is an area rich with cultural significance and exquisite photography opportunities.
Julian Rocks is one of the critical habitats for the endangered grey nurse shark in NSW. This protected area is likewise home to leopard sharks, wobbegong, turtles (such as the loggerhead and green turtle), big moray eels, blue groupers, cod, rays and nudibranchs too. Humpback whales can likewise often be spied here between the months of May to September.
In fact, when I visited Julian Rocks I was lucky enough to capture this image of a grey nurse shark. With the green waters and low visibility, the entire encounter was incredibly mesmeric and dreamlike.
This area is perfect for diving, snorkelling, or simply kicking back and absorbing the beauty of the craggy, history-infused rock formations. Perfect for a coastal photo session!
South Australia (SA)
Located 105 kilometres south of Adelaide, Rapid Bay is an absolute gem tucked between majestic towering cliffs and luxuriously long sandy beaches.
Thankfully this small hamlet has resisted over-development to date, with spectacular views across the gulf, a long jetty, and the beautiful stone-and-sand blend beaches making this location another fantastically unique photography site.
At Rapid Bay, I was fortunate to encounter this Leafy Sea Dragon, which is actually an endangered species. It’s one of the smallest, and yet most beautiful, marine creatures I have encountered during my career as a photographer.
Zebra fish, Old Wives, giant cuttlefish and the blue-ringed octopus are all examples of marine wildlife that are likewise known to frequent the area.
This location is also a great place for snorkelling and scuba diving, as well as exploring close-by caves and recreational fishing.
Western Australia (WA)
Admittedly, this last coastal photography location is less “in” Western Australia and more west of Australia. And that’s because my last recommendation is Christmas Island.
Located in the Indian Ocean and over 1500km west of the Australian mainland, Christmas Island is famous for its whale sharks, red crabs, sea birds and stunning coral reefs.
During one of my own visits to Christmas Island, I was blessed with the opportunity to photograph a whale shark (a print that I feel is appropriately called Mystical, for its otherworldly and ethereal undertones.)
Whether you’re standing with two feet sinking into the sand, or you’re planning to take your camera underwater, Christmas Island is a superb location for capturing vivid and vibrant coastal landscapes.
With the majority of the island dominated by tropical monsoonal rainforest and dramatic, towering cliff faces framing the island, there’s plenty to capture on-land. However, with over 60 dive sites on Christmas Island, you can also enjoy some of the clearest waters around and really get creative with your ocean photography.
If you’d like to take a look at my other WA underwater photography prints, you can dive in here. (Who knows? Maybe it’ll inspire your own Australian coastal photography projects.)
So there you have it, my recommendations for the best coastal photography locations in Australia. Of course, I could recommend countless others. But depending on your own photography style and what you’re hoping to capture during your travels, Australia offers a rich diversity of coastal landscapes and marine wildlife to inspire your art.
In the meantime, if you’re interested in featuring professional Australian ocean photography in your home or office, you can take a look at my collections here. And don’t forget to book in for a complimentary consultation with me, if you would like to discuss which artwork would best suit your space.