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Best Places to Surf in Australia

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Australia has a long history as one of the best surf destinations in the world and is home to many of the best surfers in the world. Surfing in Australia is so significant that it forms the fabric of the local lifestyle and inspires world spectators with its countless annual surf competitions. Several regions provide consistent, powerful waves and epic barrels motivating surf enthusiasts to pilgrimage along the coast.

As a surf mecca, Australia is also one of the most accommodating places in the world for beginners learning to surf. Surfers of all skill levels will excite at the opportunities found in Australia. While the list of great surf destinations in Australia is endless, these are some of the best surf spots to consider.

BYRON BAY

With a dreamy landscape, Byron Bay is a great surf spot in Australia
Byron Bay, a beachside town with great waves and great vibes.

Mention surfing in Australia and you’ll hear the buzz about the world-respected beaches of Byron Bay. Located at the easternmost point of mainland Australia, it provides enjoyable weather year-round, a dreamy natural landscape, and several point breaks in the area. It is one of those gems that keeps surfers returning year after year, some even moving in permanently to enjoy its excellent waves.

  • Location: New South Wales
  • Best time to visit: March to May
  • Surf level: Beginner/ intermediate/ advanced
  • Wave size: 4–10 feet
  • Surf break: Point, reef (right and left)
  • General weather: Warm and pleasant
  • Crowd level: Busy

GOLD COAST

The beaches of Gold Coast brings surfers from all around the world.
Gold Coast is a pristine beach in Queensland that is patrolled by lifeguards.

Consistent waves all along the 70 km stretch of beach bring surfers from around the world to Australia’s Gold Coast. While it is enjoyed by technical surfers for four of its powerhouse point breaks, it’s also a great destination for beginners seeking smaller swells. As the beaches are regularly patrolled by lifeguards, the Gold Coast is one of the safer options for surfing in Australia.

  • Location: Queensland
  • Best time to visit: December to April
  • Surf level: Beginner/ intermediate/ advanced
  • Wave size: 2–8 feet
  • Surf break: Point, reef, beach (right and left)
  • General weather: Warm, with wet and dry seasons
  • Crowd level: Crowded

NOOSA HEADS

You can find numerous breaks in the beaches of Noosa Heads
Noosa Heads' main beach and small bays are common surfing locations.

Numerous breaks line the beaches of Noosa, making this a perfect destination for surfers of all skill-levels. Learn to surf at Little Cove or test your mettle on the giant waves of Granite Bay. Some of the best spots are located within the Noosa National Park, allowing you to experience one of Australia’s most enchanting natural areas.

  • Location: Queensland
  • Best time to visit: December to April
  • Surf level: Beginner/ intermediate/ advanced
  • Wave size: 2–14 feet
  • Surf break: Point, river-mouth (right and left)
  • General weather: Warm and pleasant, humid in January and February
  • Crowd level: Crowded during summer and holidays

BELLS BEACH

There are many surf spots along the Great Ocean Road such as this one
Bells Beach, a world-class surf spot, is a great pitstop for surfers along the Great Ocean Road.

Get the most adventure out of your Australia trip by catching the waves in one of Australia’s most iconic spots along The Great Ocean Road. Home to the world’s longest running surf competition, you can be sure this is one of the best surf beaches in Australia.

  • Location: Victoria
  • Best time to visit: March to May
  • Surf level: Beginner/ intermediate/ advanced
  • Wave size: 3–18 feet
  • Surf break: Reef, point (right)
  • General weather: Pleasant, but hot December to February
  • Crowd level: Busy on weekends, holidays, and during summer

NORTHERN BEACHES OF SYDNEY

Northern beaches of Sydney spans 20kms, which means endless waves.
The Dee Why Point in Northern Sydney has some of the biggest waves.

With 20 km of coastline sporting over a dozen different waves, Sydney’s Northern Beaches offer some of the best surfing in Australia. You’ll score hardcore points surfing Dee Why Point, which reaches heights up to 20 feet. Beginners will find plenty of waves to learn on in the area too. 

Other beaches in Sydney for surfing include Curl Curl beach, Manly Beach and Palm Beach. 

  • Location: Sydney
  • Best time to visit: March to September
  • Surf level: Beginner/ Intermediate/ Advanced
  • Wave size: 2–20 feet
  • Surf break: Beach, reef (right and left)
  • General weather: Sunny and humid
  • Crowd level: Crowded

CACTUS BEACH

Superb waves in unspoiled paradise await those who venture off the beaten path. Once a secret destination known only to locals, Cactus Beach is finding its way to the top of the list of best surf spots for adventurous surfers seeking a break away from crowds.

  • Location: South Australia in the Great Australian Bight
  • Best time to visit: Year-round
  • Surf level: Intermediate/ advanced
  • Wave size: 3–10 feet
  • Surf break: Reef (left and right)
  • General weather: Mostly warm and sunny, cooler winter evenings
  • Crowd level: Rarely crowded

Southern Tasmania

Tasmania's beaches are the ideal spot for surfing.
Shipstern Bluff in Tasmania has some infamous 20-foot waves.

Off Australia’s south coast, the island of Tasmania offers plentiful areas for surfing. Most thrilling are the beaches of the south, where the west and east coast of Tasmania meet to create the ideal conditions for surf. Serious technical surfers can test their luck on the infamous 20-foot waves at Shipstern Bluff. For a real adventure, trek 7 km through Tasmania’s Southwest National Park, a World Heritage wilderness area. There you’ll find South Cape Bay, a truly magical place with solid waves in unspoiled territory.

  • Location: Tasmania
  • Best time to visit: March to September
  • Surf level: Beginner/ intermediate/ advanced
  • Wave size: 2–20 feet
  • Surf break: Point, beach, reef (right and left)
  • General weather: Pleasant, with hot and humid summers
  • Crowd level: Rarely crowded

MARGARET RIVER

A favorite among surf enthusiasts, Margaret River is home to some of Australia’s biggest waves and most consistent barrels. Over 40 surf breaks in the area attract surfers of all abilities. A surf trip here is made even better with the town’s abundance of world-class vineyards, beachfront cafes, and cultural arts activities.

  • Location: Western Australia
  • Best time to visit: September to April
  • Surf level: Beginner/ intermediate/ advanced
  • Wave size: 2–20+ feet
  • Surf break: Reef, rivermouth, point (left and right)
  • General weather: Warm, sunny, and breezy
  • Crowd level: Crowded on weekends

CRESCENT HEAD

Recognized as a National Surfing Reserve, this spot serves as an important symbol of the historical spirit of surf. While it is not uncommon at some Australian surf beaches to find locals resisting publicity of precious surf breaks, Crescent Head maintains markedly laid-back and inviting vibes for all who venture to ride its many waves.

  • Location: New South Wales
  • Best time to visit: March to September
  • Surf level: Beginners/ Intermediate/ Advanced
  • Wave size: 3–8 feet
  • Surf break: Point, beach (right and left)
  • General weather: Pleasant, though humid in summer
  • Crowd level: Crowded on weekends

Surfing in Australia is one of those iconic experiences of a lifetime. With an astounding number of world-class breaks, the coasts of Australia provide the backdrop for legendary experiences no matter your journey. 

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