12 Coastal Photo Clichés from around Australia!

Last Updated on May 6, 2021 by Red Nomad OZ

With Australia’s 25,760 km (16,000+ mile) coastline, more than most other countries, you’d think it’d be easy to find enough distinctive spots for photos with a unique and unmistakeably OZ flavour, right?
So why do I repeatedly find myself with shots that could have been taken … well … ANYWHERE??
See if you recognise any of THESE!
1 The Fishing Boats:
Fishing boats at Denham Jetty, Shark Bay, Western Australia
Fishing boats at Denham Jetty, Shark Bay, Western Australia

If you’re walking the esplanade in a small fishing village like Shark Bay’s Denham on the Western Australian coast, it’s pretty hard to avoid a fishing boat cliché shot.

Like this one (above) of a couple of trawlers tied up at the jetty!
Nail that cliché by waiting for the late afternoon light – not only will the golden glow washing the whole scene lift your subject matter out of the ordinary; it MAY even make it look like you know what you’re doing!!
2 The Arty Water Shot:
Fishing boats on the water in late afternoon light is all very well.
Late afternoon sunlight on water, Denham, Western Australia
Late afternoon sunlight on water, Denham, Western Australia
But play your cards right and get TWO cliché shots for the price of one by capturing the light on the water.
Cool, huh?!
And no one’s EVER done it before …
3 The Footprints in the Sand:
Footprints in the Sand, Sultana Point, South Australia
Footprints in the Sand, Sultana Point, South Australia

Why do I feel a photo coming on whenever I’m faced with pristine sand marred only by human footprints heading off into the middle distance?

And why don’t animal and/or bird footprints work the same magic??
Maybe there’s a REAL photographer out there who can answer these questions.  But in the meantime, I don’t need to tell you where this photo was taken do I?!
That’s because it really could be ANYWHERE!
4 The Deserted Beach:
Beach in Ballina, North Coast, New South Wales
Beach in Ballina, North Coast, New South Wales

Wild, windswept, wave-ridden. Just one soul in sight as the sand and seawater mist blows down the length of the beach.

Just HAVE to photograph it, right?
But what can’t be seen in this shot of Ballina Beach in northern New South Wales, is that it’s only a few kilometres south of Byron Bay, Australia’s easternmost point that’s always chocker with tourists!
A few kilometres north of Byron and across the border into Queensland and the Gold Coast with the ultra-developed (by Australian standards) Surfers Paradise provides a stunning contrast to the solitude of this beach.
5 The Coastal Development:
Gold Coast and Surfers, Queensland
Gold Coast and Surfers, Queensland

And here’s the Gold Coast in all its glory. Spot Surfers Paradise at the top of the shot!! It’s de rigueur to photograph the view up the coast from ANY vantage point – a headland, a lookout, a high-rise!

Life is full of ironies like taking a cliché shot of such a clichéd beach scene …
But when a malfunctioning film camera inadvertently adds effects like this to the photo, one could convince oneself that one did NOT take a cliché shot.


6 The Ship on the Horizon:
The horizon/ship duo is an irresistible combination for most amateur photographers.
Ship offshore at Port Giles, South Australia
Ship offshore at Port Giles, South Australia
Like this grain ship waiting offshore from South Australia’s loading dock at Port Giles on a clear February summer’s day.
Especially when the shot can be captioned with another maritime cliché involving words about painted ships and painted oceans …
Or is that just me?
7 The Island Sunset:
Part of any tropical island paradise experience worth its salt involves sunsets, beaches and water. And a few random silhouettes will make this cliché complete!
Lord Howe Island Sunset, New South Wales, Australia
Lord Howe Island Sunset, New South Wales, Australia
The only place in New South Wales where the sun sets over the ocean, Lord Howe Island, approximately 600 km offshore, has more to offer than cliché sunset shots.
But who cares when the cliché looks like this?
8 The Lighthouse:
Cape Spencer and Althorpe Island Lighthouses
Cape Spencer and Althorpe Island Lighthouses, South Australia
An inextricable part of the Australian coastal landscape, it’s virtually impossible to avoid taking a lighthouse photo at some point.
Luckily, many stretches of the Australian coastline offer photographic opportunities you’d be a fool to pass up!
So much so that this shot of the Cape Spencer Lighthouse in South Australia’s Innes National Park could have been replaced by countless other lighthouse shots from my collection …
But in this one, not only is the mainland lighthouse echoed by another on the distant island, but the general lighthouse cliché is ALMOST hidden by the staggering coastal scenery.
Isn’t it??
9 The Tropical Paradise:
Flagstaff Hill Lookout, Port Douglas, Queensland
Flagstaff Hill Lookout, Port Douglas, Queensland

Is it the palms? The blue sky?? Or the curve of golden beach???

Clichés one and all!!
There are many reasons to visit the once-sleepy once-fishing once-village of Port Douglas, now a bustling tourist town with some of the most expensive real estate in the country on the Far North Queensland coast.
But whatever reasons a traveller has for visiting this idyllic spot, chances are s/he will come away with a photo almost identical to this one!
10 The Bay:
Coral Bay, Western Australia
Coral Bay, Western Australia

In a daring departure from the overused ‘Horseshoe Bay’, name of WAAAY too many Australian bays, this curve of white sand on Western Australia’s North West Cape is named ‘Coral Bay’.

But that’s the only non-cliché in this photo!
Blue sea, white sand, curving bay, blue sky, people at play.
The ultimate Australian fantasy, and the reason many tourists head downunder.
I defy ANYONE to take a Coral Bay photo that’s NOT a cliché!
11 The Jetty:
Semaphore Jetty, Adelaide, South Australia
Semaphore Jetty, Adelaide, South Australia

Who could resist the lure of a jetty’s line and length as it stretches over the ocean’s varied blue hues towards an infinity point in the middle distance?

Not many!
And that explains why shots like these are a dime a dozen (apologies for the Americanism, but 10 cents for 12 doesn’t quite have the same ring to it).
I’ll bet any budding photographer who’s ever visited a coastal jetty anywhere in the world has a similar shot!
12 The Ultimate Cliché Combination:
Kalbarri Sunset, Western Australia
Kalbarri Sunset, Western Australia

The full effect of a cliché shot can often be enhanced by a multiple-cliché addition.

Boats, arty water, deserted beach, sunset, bay, paradise – that’s all I could pack into THIS cliché photo taken at Kalbarri.  Sadly, the jetty was too far away. Although I’m sure there were footprints on the sand …
If you can beat my record, let me know!!
Of course (I keep telling myself) there’s no shame in taking coastal cliché shots – as MY record of MY travels, they’re not clichés to ME! With any luck, awareness is half the solution – SO … look out for a (distant) future post detailing my original views of the Aussie coast!
Until then, you’ll have to make do with these!!
Thank you for reading my 3rd blogoversary post! It’s been a pleasure having your company, and I hope you’ll stick around!!


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  1. @Cathy – I look forward to your impressions of Australia … and I guess that’s why these pix are cliches – some of them could be ANYWHERE!

  2. Cliche or not, your photos are beautiful and inspire me to visit Australia one day. Several could have been taken at the Oregon coast.

  3. @Paul – Thanx! Now why does that sound a little like the story of my life?!?!
    @Joan Elizabeth – I like to think I have a special knack for cliche shots!
    @Indrani – And what caption would you give it if it were one of your great ‘wordless’ moments?!?!
    @Frankie G – Some of the pix in this post are actually film photos – including the Gold Coast one!! All you need is a scanner …
    @SFlaGuy – Hahaha!! I had to dig deep for that one!!
    @Sallie – Maybe we can form a cliche photographer support group?!?!

  4. Hi Red, the coastline photo of the Gold Coast reminds me of a film photo I took from what I think is the same location around 30 years ago. Back then there was an amusement park called Magic Mountain on top of the hill. At the very top was a castle and once I reached the top of the castle a storm came through and I captured the rain and mist and choppy seas and a shaft of sunlight spearing through the clouds.Now, where did i put all those film photos?…

  5. Great post. You managed to cover off all of the cliches, feature a bunch of great photos in the process, and have a laugh along the way 🙂

  6. I love your photos, and yes I have taken many similar ones, but think yours are the best. I will just have to keep trying … harder! I am always a bit disappointed at my photos and wish I could go back and do better, or spend more time getting the perfect angle etc.

  7. I’d be proud to have taken all those cliches. I don’t visit the beach all that often so there is no way I can outdo that collection.

  8. @Dianne – I’m in love with angles, lines and blue hues, so Sema4 jetty does it for me too! I’m pretty sure that’s NOT Wedge Island as it’s too flat on top, WI is further to the right if I remember correctly!! And if you play your cards right, AT LEAST $20+ million will get you a spot on Flagstaff Hill!!
    @Mary – Hahaha, you & me both, girlfriend!!! You’re amongst friends with picking #5 as a fave – maybe I’ve just attracted photographic philistines to my blog!! Cool!!
    @TMWH – Thank you!!! I hope I’ll get to see YOUR pix one day!!!
    @Alessandra – I don’t want to detract from the horrors of the floods at all. But you CAN have too much of a bad thing. Glad you enjoyed!
    @Rosemary B – That’s all we BOTH can do – just keep trying harder!!! At least my horizons are (mostly) level now …
    @George – Thank you, my friend! I’ve got over being ashamed of my cliche shots – at least it’s accessible photography!! That’s what I keep telling myself anyway …

  9. @Saucy Kod – There’s LOTS of folk who could watch the surfers all day … and the surf lifesavers … and all the bronzed Aussie beach candy! Stop! I’m fantasizing … but you MUST see it one day for REAL!
    @Iris – Haha & thanx for the vote of confidence!
    @FruitCake – Yes, it’s a nice set of cliches I’ve got myself into – but I’m getting so many good vibes about them I might just keep it up!!! Bought a photography mag today – you KNOW you’re an amateur when you don’t understand one word in ten …
    @LONDONLULU – Boy am I glad I included #5! It almost didn’t make it – but seems to be the popular choice so far!!
    @Kath – Hahaha, how weird would that be?? On the other hand, you’re still closer to the ocean than pretty much all of Central Australia!!!!
    @Filip – It’s very similar to some of the tropical shots I’ve seen from the Caribbean on your blog!!!

  10. @Jane & Lance – Thank you!! It’s comments like yours that make the hard work of blogging SO rewarding!! I’m glad I biightened your day, as you have so often mine!
    @River – Hahaha, I suspect they’re my thong footprints … but even the crazy angle doesn’t save this shot from super-cliche-dom!!! But that doesn’t mean I don’t like it!!!
    @Mark – SO glad I’m not alone! As for Red Rock – it’s only a cliche if there’s actually red rock there??? Now if it was set on Horseshoe Bay …
    @Beach Bum – Hahaha! Wonder if you can change your nationality by deed poll?? I sense that looking at pix isn’t going to work for much longer …
    @Andrew – But in chasing the gulls, the dogs also scare off the summer migrants from Siberia and that’s MUCH worse!!! I’ve got no idea how many lighthouses in OZ or even how many I’ve seen – but they keep popping up in my photo archives with monotonous regularity …
    @Eccentricess – Well said, and so true!! And LOVE your reverse-apocalypse analogy! In a weird way, this was the day after a killer rainstorm not unlike the recent one, so the apocalypse had done its worst …

  11. That Gold Coast photo was beautiful, whether cliche’ or not. Beauty is beauty, we just distracted too much with the mundane most of the time.

    Great post!

  12. Weird because some of your pictures seem unforgettable to me. I must be so brainwashed by cliche pictures that I don’t know the difference ;o. ~Mary

    ps 5 looks great to me. What do I know?

  13. The Semaphore jetty shot is my favourite Red …. I know this type of pic might be a dime a dozen but I still love it. Do you know if that’s Wedge Island off shore from your Cape Spencer lighthouse pic? Oh! and Pt Douglas from the hill is where I’d like to be right now.

  14. Yes I have photographed all these cliches! Got some terrific footprints in the sand over the hols at the small unspoilt coastal village of Red Rock (surely that is another cliche)!

  15. Ha ha, the Gold Coast shot certainly has an apocalyptic look about it. Where are the semi-naked Hollywood stars spending their last moments together On The Beach?
    It’s a nice set of cliches you’ve collected, Red.

  16. Those are very small footprints on Sultana Point beach, and I love the surfers -I could watch the surfers all day – that would be my pleasure.
    I have walked with my Dog on the beach in bare feet and crossed the waterline as the tide is receeding – then taken a photo. Just something magical about just us being there – just ours to enjoy – the sun is shining, the clouds are puffing by, seagulls call in the distance – Hey Beach Girl Red – you know the feeling – Lovely Post.

  17. Deserted beaches make you feel special. Like having that one person who loves only you (and your child and pets and family and best friends…anyway…) this beach, this moment… is only for you.

    But I LOVE that Gold coast/unintended camera effect shot. Sort of apocolypse in recovery style.

  18. I like dog prints in beach sand, especially if there are some nearby deep seagull feet marks when they have taken off in alarm, or better still if there are a few feathers and bones on the sand where they haven’t taken off so quickly. Red, you must have seen many lighthouses in Australia, maybe more than half? Any ambition to see them all?

  19. Hey, wait a minute…there’s something different about those footprints in the sand. They’re SHOE prints! Not bare feet prints. A little unusual so not at all cliched.

  20. Hello Red:
    Even more than these superb images, which for us give a real feel of what the Australian coastline is actually like, it is your wonderful commentary attached to each one that we have so enjoyed and which has made such a jolly start to a grey winter’s morning here in Hungary.

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