Australia’s most dangerous beaches for shark attacks
Beware when swimming at Byron, Ballina, Bondi and Bells.
If you’re planning on a trip to the land down under, you may want to check out which beaches pose a higher risk of shark attacks. Research shows there have been 43 unprovoked fatal shark attacks in Australia since 1990, and although most recorded attacks have occurred in New South Wales, the majority of fatalities transpired in Western Australia.
finder.com.au analysed data released by the Shark Research Institute’s Global Shark Attack File, determining hotspot coastal locations around the country where 317* unprovoked shark attacks have occurred between 1990 and 2017.
In Australia, there has been an average of 11.7 shark attacks a year since 1990.
122 attacks took place off the coast of NSW, almost double the 66 attacks recorded in both Western Australia and Queensland, which were tied for second.
Shark attack prevalence by state since 1990 – 2017
|New South Wales||128||6|
Source: finder.com.au, www.sharkattackfile.net *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 10 recorded fatalities, followed by Queensland (7), NSW (6) and Tasmania (2).
This means Western Australia accounts for almost 42% of the country’s total shark-related fatalities.
Breaking it down by beaches, NSW’s Byron Bay has recorded the greatest number of attacks (12) and fatalities (2) since 1990.
A little further south, Ballina incurred six attacks and one fatality, while divers and swimmers in Sydney Harbour have suffered five attacks, four attacks have taken place in Newcastle and rounding out the top five was Perth’s Cottesloe Beach, which has seen four attacks and two fatalities in the last 26 years.
Top 13 Australian locations for unprovoked shark attacks since 1990
|10||Shelly Beach (Central Coast)||NSW||3||1|
Following the most recent shark attack on NSW’s north coast, state Premier Mike Baird announced plans for a six month trial of shark nets in the area, despite nationwide protests and debates regarding controversial netting programs in Western Australia just a few years ago.
Unprovoked shark attack locations in 2017
|State||Location||Activity||Fatal||Age and Gender|
|New South Wales||Avoca Beach||Surfing||No||25, M|
|New South Wales||Birubi Point, Anna Bay||Surfing||No||31, M|
|New South Wales||Iluka Beach, Yamba||Surfing||No||35, M|
|New South Wales||The Farm, Shell Harbour||Body boarding||No||30, M|
|Queensland||Boot Reef, Torres Strait||Scuba Diving||No||55, M|
|Queensland||Magnetic Island||Snorkeling||No||7, M|
|Queensland||Moreton Bay||Kakaying||No||39, M|
|South Australia||Normanville||Kayaking / Fishing||No||15, F|
|Victoria||Cathedral Rock, Lorne||Surfing||No||37, M|
|Victoria||Flinders, Mornington Peninsula||Surfing||No||F|
|Western Australia||Sam’s Creek, Point Samson||Swimming||No||M|
|Western Australia||Falcon Bay Beach, Mandurah||Surfing||No||M|
|Western Australia||Wylie Bay, Esperance||Surfing||Yes||17, F|
|Western Australia||Mauds Point, Coral Bay||Snorkeling||No||F|
|Western Australia||Point Casuarina, Bunbury||Body boarding||No||48, M|
According to the International Museum of Wildlife, the odds of being killed by a shark are 1 in 3.75 million. You’re far likely to die as a result of a public transport accident (1 in 16,831) or lightning strike (1 in 71,601).
Australian deaths from 2006-2016
|Cause||Number of deaths|
|Snakes and lizards||28|
|Hornets, bees, wasps||28|
Top 15 countries for unprovoked shark attacks from 1990 – 2017
Australia ranks second in the world for the number of shark attacks (317) behind the USA with a whopping 1,074 attacks since 2017.
|Country||Shark attacks||Fatal shark attacks|
|Papua New Guinea||11||5|
Planning to surf or swim on your travels? Find travel insurance that covers you for your trip.
Ask an Expert