Australia’s most dangerous beaches for shark attacks

Beware when swimming at Byron, Ballina, Bondi and Bells.

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Research shows there have been 488 unprovoked fatal shark attacks in Australia since 1988, and although most recorded attacks have occurred in New South Wales, the majority of fatalities transpired in Western Australia. analysed data released by the Shark Research Institute's Global Shark Attack File, determining hotspot coastal locations around the country where hundreds of unprovoked shark attacks have occurred between 1988 and 2018.

In Australia, there has been an average of 16.3 shark attacks a year since 1988.

156 attacks took place off the coast of NSW, almost double the 83 attacks recorded in Queensland, which came in second.

Shark attack prevalence by Australian state since 1988 - 2018

New South Wales1567
Western Australia8118
South Australia2811
Northern Territory60
Torres Strait10
Territory of Cocos (Keeling) Islands10

Source:, *Not all shark fatalities are recorded by State, and some are unaccounted for due to ocean locations.

The coast of Western Australian is the most deadly, with 18 fatal shark attacks. South Australia has the next deadliest coastline with 11 recorded fatalities, followed by Queensland (9), NSW (7) and Tasmania (2).

This means Western Australia accounts for 38% of the country's total shark-related fatalities.

Top 15 countries for unprovoked shark attacks from 1988-2018

Australia ranks second in the world for the number of shark attacks (488) behind the USA with a whopping 1,406 attacks since 2017.

While Medicare covers you if anything should happen on an Australian beach, if you're planning on surfing abroad - especially in any of these destinations - travel insurance for surfers with comprehensive (or unlimited) overseas medical and hospital expenses is strongly recommended.

CountryShark attacks
South Africa225
New Zealand52
New Caledonia34
French Polynesia17
Papua New Guinea13

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Planning to surf or swim on your travels? Find travel insurance that covers both you and your board, shark deterrents that actually work and vehicle excess insurance to get you to and from the coast.

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