The blogger Christelle lived a year road tripping around Australia by camper-van, where she spent most of the time chasing waves through both famous and remote surfing spots, although restricted by a camper-van that couldn’t go on sandy or rocky tracks. In this article she’s gonna tell you all you need to know about surfing in Australia and will reveal her TOP 10 surf spots in Australia!
Surfing is a very Australian way of life, with countless and endless amazing beaches, offering both beach breaks and reef breaks along the coastline.
The beach culture has always been an integral part of their lifestyle. Surfers of all age and sex are part of a strong community and kids were born on the coast with a gift to surf.
Surfing in Australia – not always harmless
Australia has some of the best surfing spots in the world, but not completely harmless. First, you should be aware of the dangers, keep an eye out for the best conditions, tides and weather forecasts. The best way to learn how a surf spot works is to talk with locals and take time to observe the waves.
On the other hand, remote surf spots have most of the time no signs of life around. An empty and quiet place supplies the opportunity to enjoy the line-up by yourself. However, you need to be careful with potential swell magnets, rocks coming to the surface at low tide and obviously sharks.
Are there sharks in Australia? Here is a popular topic. Sharks like warm and shallow water as much as surfers. Therefore, we have to learn how to all live together. Even though rather utopian, the second option is to paddle away. Don’t worry, attacks are extremely rare. First time you will see a fin, you might freak out as you don’t know yet the difference between a shark or a dolphin’s fin. You will quickly get used to it. Basically, surfers of any level are able to ride Australian waves, if and only if they have good basics of what the ocean can give or take back. This knowledge is fundamental anywhere, but even more in a surfing spot far away from crowds, and definitely a matter of safety if you are on your own.
Some rules are necessary to enjoy at best those empty lineups with “untouched“ waves. One day, you will stop your van on the roadside in the middle of nowhere and you will discover a perfect wave with nobody around (quite common on the West coast). Then, first thing you want to do is jump into the water because it’s very tempting, but you will have to restrain yourself a few minutes before catching these perfect waves.
Best surfing spots in Australia
While more and more backpackers come every year, we want to share with you some of the best surf spots not to be missed in Australia.
Waiting and joining the queue to fight the crowds is not for you? Check out these ten best unmissable surfing spots, where the journey promises to be as epic as the ride on it. Wild, sharky, sharp reef…don’t fit the standard mold. Would you be ready? We promise it’s worth it.
1. SURFING IN AUSTRALIA – Queensland, Noosa, Tea Tree Bay.
From the National Park car park, follow the track for 500m through a dense gumtree forest. Keep an eye out for koalas, they are not so far.
You will see a right point break, breaking on mainly sandy and patchy rock bottom. The best conditions comes with a NE-E swell and south wind, what can give a 2-300m ride.
2. SURFING IN AUSTRALIA – Gold Coast, Currumbin
Further north from the famous and crowded Kirra, Coolangatta or Snapper Rocks, you will discover a welcoming estuary in this little and peaceful town.
The wave breaks off a rocky point into the entrance of the creek, over a sandy bottom. Sometimes, it can be quite powerful and advised for advanced level surfers only. Other good options are abundant around.
3. SURFING IN AUSTRALIA – Byron Bay, Tallows Beach.
This is the “No tourist spot“ of Byron Bay, anyhow this is what you can feel when you get in the water. You won’t get any troubles if you follow the priority rules. Not far from the lighthouse that you can distinguish in the distance, this spot is protected from NE winds and gives very consistent lefts and rights. Breaking on sand and rock bottom, you can get a pretty heavy shore-break on this beach. During your stay, enjoy the great surfing culture and a hippy atmosphere that you will find nowhere else.
4. SURFING IN AUSTRALIA – NSW, Coffs Harbour, Macauleys.
Better to get up early morning for this one. The best option is to park your camper-van not too far the night before (but not on the parking right in front, you might get troubles with the ranger). These waves are gentle and perfect for beginners, not too far from the shore so you won’t need to paddle kilometres. This is a good local scene, the same story… stay respectful.
5. SURFING IN AUSTRALIA – NSW, Forster, Boomerang beach.
Hard to forget this one, according to its very large and open beach offering a multitude of peaks. A beautiful beach-break giving both lefts and rights with all sorts of tides. Banks are moving quite a lot, so we can’t guarantee how long it will stay there. You should keep an eye out for dolphins, these guys like riding waves too.
6. SURFING IN AUSTRALIA – Victoria, Lorne.
West of Torquay and the famous Bell’s beach where took place the World Surf League, Lorne can turn out to be magical. At best, you can get a 4-500m ride. The Ocean let endless lines appear toward the horizon. Moreover, you can get great fresh fish near here.
7. SURFING IN AUSTRALIA – Western Australia, Margaret River, Supertubes.
Great intermediate or advanced wave. After the effort, you will deserve to chill out at a little cafe nearby. In March, you can watch the best surfers in the world at the Margaret River Pro.
8. SURFING IN AUSTRALIA – Western Australia, Scarborough, Triggs beach.
This is a pretty good right but it can become quite crowded. If you are a beer lover and heading to Perth, stop by the brewery called « Little creatures » in Freemantle, you will not be disappointed.
9. SURFING IN AUSTRALIA – Western Australia, Exmouth, Dunes.
Hollow and peeling waves with intense long rides. You are almost guarantee to be on your own here. Far away from everything and everyone, these waves will be yours if you are not scared of sharks. Otherwise Cape Range National Park offers lots of beautiful beaches with snorkeling spots or great walks through Yardie Creek. You will satisfy your desire of wilderness at least.
10. SURFING IN AUSTRALIA – Western Australia, Broome, Cable beach.
The last one on the list is probably the most remote one, and the last opportunity to surf before reaching the East coast, if you are heading to Northern Territory. This is the warmest water where I surfed ever (around 28°C). Tiny waves, shallow water and sandy beaches, a paradise for beginners.
Updated on the 18th of September 2019. Initially published on the 30th of May 2016.