It’s near impossible to spend five minutes Down Under without passing someone who’s inconceivably tanned, blindingly blonde and clutching a well-waxed surfboard. Watching sun-kissed surfers dance over the waves with mythical ease is enough to make you stop and think ‘that should be me’. Well, whether you’re a seasoned surfer or a complete newbie to the swell, Australia is the perfect place to hone your skills. With over 16,000 miles of coastline, knowing where to start is a sport in itself. Luckily, we’ve hunted down five of the best places to surf in Australia, so all you have to worry about is how you’re going to stand up on the board...
Byron Bay is a name that has passed the lips of perhaps every surfer on the planet. From novice to pro, the collection of beaches lined up along Australia’s most easterly point have something for everyone. But Clarke’s beach takes the cake for the first spot on our list, as the long sandbank rolls out gentle waves that are ideal for beginners. With views of Cape Byron Lighthouse and pods of dolphins occasionally passing by, it’s an idyllic beach to begin your surfing journey – and if you’re feeling up for one of Byron Bay’s busiest and best surf breaks, The Pass is located right alongside it. Get your wetsuits on and keep your eyes peeled, as the gorgeous Byron Bay is also home to the Hemsworth brothers. You never know, maybe they’ll be your next partners in wave riding.
With its year-round sunny weather and world-class surf breaks, the Gold Coast is teeming with surf bums. Spots like Snapper Rocks and Duranbah Beach tend to draw in the more experienced surfers, so we’ve picked out Burleigh Point as one of the best places to surf in Australia, as its waters spit out waves for all levels of ability. Frolic in the fizzing waters that curl around the granite rocks and then refuel after a surf session in one of the many cafes and bars that line the shore. If you’re new to wave riding, you’ll find beginners sticking around the friendlier waves of Burleigh Pavillion while those with a little more confidence venture to The Spit.
Being a globally recognised World Surfing Reserve, the beaches and surf spots in Noosa are some of the most unique and protected in the world. Check out Tea Tree Bay’s secluded stretch of sand which is fringed by rockpools teeming with marine life, and don’t miss the chance to head out for a sunrise surf – a must-do for confident wave riders. Meanwhile, at Sunshine Beach you can spend the whole day alternating between baking in the sun and cooling off in the waves. You’ll be alongside plenty of other eager surfers, but stay close to the lifeguards as this beach has the occasional riptide.
Australia’s most famous beach has a lot to live up to. The golden sands and azure waters have been a magnet for both locals and tourists who come to guzzle down refreshing cocktails, feast on saucy fish tacos or try and spot the Bondi Rescue film crew. But of course, a trip to Sydney's Bondi Beach wouldn’t be complete without a few hours dedicated to riding those all-important waves. Facing straight into the dominant swell channel and with winds bending offshore, Bondi always has a decent wave to play with. Novices, experts and anyone in between can be seen dotted in the water like colourful paint splattered onto a blue canvas. As entertaining to watch as it is to take part, a Bondi Beach day is one to remember whether you’re on land or sea.
Last on our list of the five best places to surf in Australia is Bells Beach, on the Great Ocean Road. Every Easter, top surfers from across the globe flock to the cliff-lined shores to compete in the Rip Curl Pro competition. It’s the mecca of surfing, and watching professionals carve the gnarly waves from the top of the towering cliffs will have you eager to join – however, we recommend sticking to the nearby beach towns in Torquay and Anglesea, where sheltered sandy beaches offer waves that are on the gentler side. Even so, nothing beats watching elite surfers dance across the waves as if they were a stage; and Bells Beach is the ideal theatre.
Written by Evie Buller