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With nearly 60,000 kilometres of coastline, Australia is home to some of the best surfing in the world. But if you’re only planning on spending a couple of weeks in the country, how can you narrow down the surf spots which are unequivocally the best? Well, we asked numerous surf schools, from the tip of Cape Range to the east coast of Tasmania, where they’d recommend tourists to visit. We added these locations to our list, and a few more that are popular with the locals, to create the definitive list of places to surf - Australia.
These are the places that have the best waves, the most laid-back beach bars, the most passionate locals, and the highest rated surf schools. Some of the classic surf spots made the list, but others may surprise you. Whether you’re looking for wild waves, or just want to learn how to stand up on a surfboard without toppling into the sea, we’ve got the best beach for you:
Famous for its clean barrels and big swells, Forster-Tuncurry is primarily frequented by locals. The best waves are usually at the northern end of One Mile Beach, depending on the sandbanks, and the north break wall on the Tuncurry side. Worth exploring for its large waves and clear water, patrolled beach, and great affordable accommodation nearby.
The most relaxed spot on our list, Streaky Bay is perfect for those looking for an easy-going and laid back holiday. Streaky Bay and the nearby Sceale Bay where deemed as two of Australia's ‘cleanest beaches’, but more importantly you’ll find massive waves and barrels here, scenic rock formations, and low priced accommodation.
A seven and a half hour drive from Perth, West Beach is classed as one of the whitest beaches in Australia, with white as white can be sand, and clear blue ocean swell. Perfect for beginners, you’ll find decent waves, warm waters, and great surf breaks here. Ideal for longboards, SUPs, and shortboards, but keep an eye out for local wildlife which can head to the beach, due to the national park surroundings.
Another top spot for beginners, and those looking for a step up, Merimbula is well known in Australia for its scenic beauty, national parks, and action sport adventures. You’ll find decent swell at both Tathra Beach and Pambula Beach, plus several surf schools, campsites and affordable accommodation, plus friendly locals.
There are numerous beaches to choose from along the Sunshine Coast, from Dicky Beach, Kings Beach, Mooloolaba, to Peregian. Known for clear blue hollow barrels, our pick is Peregian Beach, which offers warm water and breathtaking sunsets most of the year round, fast and clean surf conditions, and both left and right handed breaks.
If you’d like to learn the ropes, you’ll find North Caloundra Surf School at Kings Beach and Dicky Beach, which runs a host of different classes. North Caloundra Surf School cater for all ages, with classes for youngsters to senior citizens. You can opt for group or private classes, in addition to the ‘Women on the Waves’ programme which aims at encouraging women of all ages into the water, and is taught by one of the school’s professional female instructors.
If you’re visiting Canberra, make sure you schedule a stopover at Batemans Bay. About 150km east of the capital, and home to some surprisingly good breaks, you'll find both Broulee Beach and Depot Beach well worth the visit. Both have consistently awesome surf, but the latter has remained under-the-radar. Not a bad spot for eating and drinking either; there are plenty of local cafes and restaurants in the area to satisfy any post-surf craving.
Halfway between Sydney and Newcastle, the Central Coast is one of Australia’s most popular surf destinations. There are reliable waves for all experience levels, from Avalon beach, with its beginner level surf, to Copacabana Beach, where the ledge breaks form powerful, hollow waves that really rip. Copacabana is best left to the experts, however onlookers can watch from the closeby Bonnie Lookout.
You can’t visit Sydney without visiting Bondi Beach. Surfing conditions can be very mellow at Bondi, making it a great spot for beginners. There’s an exposed beach break that has dependable surf most of the year round, that offers lefts and rights. It’s best around mid tide, when the tide is rising, just be aware of the crowds!
If you’re interested in lessons and equipment rental, head to Let's Go Surfing, who run classes for adults, kids, and groups. Let’s Go Surfing opened in 1995 as a project to get more women into the male dominated world of surfing. Their mission is to ‘change lives one wave at a time’. Why not experience Australia’s greatest surf experience on Australia’s greatest beach?
The surf coast in Tasmania runs from Bicheno to St. Helens Point, but if you’ve only got a few days to spend in the island state, you can just stick around Bicheno. Experts can avoid the crowds at Denison Beach, whereas beginners can head to 42 South Surf School at Redbill Beach. Redbill is the main surfing beach at Bicheno, with waves averaging 50 cm at the sound end of the beach, and one metre at the spit.
Approximately 85km south of Adelaide lies Victor Harbour, a stretch of coastline that’s home to intense waves. You’ll find consistently huge three metre waves at Waitpinga Beach, and slightly more relaxed surfing conditions at Knights Beach, home of the Pro Bodyboarding Competition. It’s recommended by beachsafe.org.au to only surf with friends, as conditions here can be hazardous due to the high rip occurrence.
Victor Harbour brings us to our conclusion, of what we think are the best surf beaches in Australia, and the ones you should consider visiting on your next trip. If you’re still unsure where to go, we’d suggest seeing your local travel agent, who can assist with flights, accommodation, and budgeting. From our recommendations though, we’d say head to NSW if you’re after the best swell, and QLD if you’re after the touristy stuff. There are beautiful beaches in both locations, so you’ll be spoilt for choice.
Have we missed anywhere? If you can think of a better surf beach in Australia, or know of a quality surf school, let us know!
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We are Jacob and Taylor. Travel is our passion and we love sharing our experiences here at The Travelling Souk. Our hope is that you would be inspired by this little blog to try something new, embrace an adventure, and live life to the fullest.