Some of the world’s most renowned surfers regularly travel to Australia to take advantage of its world-class waves and they know their way around the best surfing beaches. Beyond the known spots like Bells Beach in Victoria, Byron Bay in New South Wales and Surfers Paradise in Queensland, it’s the ‘off the beaten track’ beaches that often promise the best waves and conditions. The below list was put together by Tourism Australia and it’s sure to impress even the most demanding surfing enthusiasts.
The Pass at Byron Bay, New South Wales
Byron Bay located 772 km north of Sydney and 165 km south of Brisbane is a mecca for board riders, with an abundance of different beaches to choose from but it’s The Pass at the end of Clarkes Beach that is consistently ranked as one of the best surf spots in Australia. From here you can view the entire bay from the surfer’s lookout, so if The Pass is packed with too many surfers for your liking, then it’s on to the next one.
Cactus Beach, South Australia
If surfing in an untouched wilderness sounds like your idea of heaven, then this is the place for you. What draws visitors to South Australia’s Cactus Beach is the region’s unspoilt natural beauty. However, it’s not for the inexperienced to tackle, especially during the more turbulent winter waves, but those surfers in the know who travel from all corners of the globe to check out this booming southern break say it is well worth the trip.
Bells Beach, Victoria
No list of Australian surfing spots would be complete without Victoria’s iconic Bells Beach, renowned for its powerful swells amongst a natural backdrop of red clay cliffs. Located in Torquay around 100km from Melbourne, it’s the home of the annual Rip Curl Pro Surf and Music Festival, which has been running since 1962. Not far from Bells Beach is charming coastal spot, Winkipop, which many claim to be superior to its iconic big brother. Surf both of these legendary swells along the Great Ocean Road to decide for yourself.
In Noosa, one of the most sought-after long-board breaks in the world is Point Break, which is popular for all the right reasons; first timers can paddle alongside professional riders, with the opportunity to catch a genuine 200 metre ride on a good day. The swell here is considered ideal for beginners, but experienced surfers enjoy riding its long, easy-rolling wave just as much.
Northern Beaches, Sydney, New South Wales
Meanwhile in Sydney, the Northern Beaches are a favourite amongst the city’s surfing fraternity, with the stretch of coastline from Manly to Palm Beach offering a relaxed beachside ambience at the restaurants, cafés, pubs and retail outlets scattered along it. If you’re struggling to work out where to start your surfing adventure, base yourself at the iconic beach that is North Narrabeen. As with any popular surfing spot, the waters can become a little busy, but you’ll be sure to find a wave somewhere along the beach’s three kilometre expanse.
South Cape Bay, Tasmania
Boasting intense, cold-water breaks and waves, Tasmania’s beaches offer surfers the opportunity to catch waves in an uncrowded place – a rare commodity when compared to some of the better known beaches across the country. Travelling to Australia’s southernmost surf beach, South Cape Bay, is part of the fun with a 7.7 kilometre trek through World Heritage-listed wilderness the only way to access it. Your journey on foot will be rewarded with an immaculate beach featuring big, clean waves, and few fellow travellers to compete with on the water.
Gold Coast, Queensland
It’s appropriate to name the whole of the Gold Coast as a surfing destination in itself as it offers countless world-class surfing beaches to choose from. It’s easy to see why some of the world’s best surfers call this patch of paradise home.
Margaret River, Western Australia
With a mild Mediterranean climate, the Margaret River region, an easy three hour drive south of Perth, has become an internationally renowned surfing destination year round; in summer you can immerse yourself in the beach atmosphere alongside kite surfers, swimmers and sunbathers or during winter you can enjoy less crowded waves while you surf.