According to the Australian national anthem, “our home is girt by sea”. So much sea in fact, that our not-so-tiny island has a whopping 35,877 km (22,293 miles) of coastline. This, of course, means one thing: beaches. These endless stretches of golden sand, sunshine and killer waves make Australia one of the world’s premier surfing destinations. Anyone from a complete beginner to a surf pro will find a beach with waves to suit their style (or fear factor). So if you’re headed Down Under and want to carve up some of the action, check out the best surfing beaches in Australia: from the iconic hot spots to some lesser-known gems that our favourite surfing bloggers and influencers recommend.
Tea Tree Bay & Granite Bay, Noosa, QLD
The 30-40 minute walk from Noosa Main Beach doesn’t deter the crowds from hitting up these local surfing hot spots. Situated next to each other in peaceful Noosa National Park, the warm water and fun breaks make Tea Tree Bay & Granite Bay a great option for surfers of all levels. Californian surfer girl Vanessa Rivers, from travel blog Glitter and Mud, loves this part of the Sunshine Coast: “These spots are well protected from the wind so when a swell rolls in you can find glassy, fun waves here.”
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Northern Beaches, Sydney, NSW
Sydney is home to some of the best surfing beaches in Australia, and while the ferry ride to Manly appears on every Sydney tourist’s To Do list, it’s also an essential pilgrimage for any surfer visiting the sunny city. Sydney has an abundance of beautiful beaches but the 20km stretch of coastline between Manly and Palm Beach is the beating heart of surf culture in the city. In fact, it was here at Freshwater beach in 1915 that Hawaiian surf icon Duke Kahanamoku first demonstrated surfing to Australians (and his board is on display in the Freshwater Surf lifesaving club). Surf schools abound in Manly for newbies whilst the world-class waves at North Narrabeen are really just for the pros. If you’re looking for an every-level kind of surf spot, head to Palm Beach at the very end of this stretch of coast. It not only serves as the filming location for the hit Aussie TV show “Home and Away” but it has some sweet swells too.
Bells Beach, Torquay, Victoria
Often referred to as the spiritual home of surfing in Australia, Bells Beach is home to the world’s oldest surfing competition: the Rip Curl Pro Surf & Music Festival (originally known as the Bells Beach Surf Classic), which has been held here every Easter since 1961. Situated at the southern end of Australia, the powerful swells at Bells Beach can rise to over five metres which is what has kept surfers coming back here for over 50 years.
Kawana Beach, Sunshine Coast, QLD
One of the best surfing beaches in Australia if you want to get away from the crowds at some of Queensland’s surfing hotspots is Kawana Beach near Mooloolaba. New Zealander travel bloggers Tegan and Daniel from Sun Surf Soul Travel let us in on their fave Australian surf spot: “Nothing beats surfing the Sunshine Coast during cyclone season; warm weather and empty waves.”
Crescent Head, Mid North Coast, NSW
Just north of Port Macquarie sits one of the most iconic surf spots in Australia. This small beach town still retains the atmosphere of the 60s surf community that arrived here when Crescent Head was discovered to have some of the longest and most classic point breaks in the world. It became the fourth place in Australia to be recognised as a National Surfing Reserve in 2008, which has not only preserved the coastline from development but also protected the local marine life too. It’s the perfect spot for longboarders looking to catch some amazing waves and old-school vibes.
Yallingup and Prevelly Bay, Margaret River, WA
Surfing beaches in Australia aren’t limited to the East Coast. The famed Australian wine region of Margaret River is equally popular with surfers, making it a rather wonderful combination of passion points. Depending on the daily conditions, Yallingup is a great option for all levels of surfers but don’t venture anywhere near the infamous Prevelly Bay unless you’re a serious pro. With swells of up to six metres, this beach attracts the real thrill seekers from across the globe who are willing to risk conditions that require the wearing of a helmet.
The Pass and Lennox Head, Byron Bay, NSW
When it comes to picking the best surfing beach in Byron Bay, it really comes down to what you’re looking for. The Pass has some of the best breaks on the North Coast of NSW, making it the most popular spot for surfing in the area, but it would be amiss not to include Lennox Head, with its powerful right-hand breaks, on any list of the best surf spots Australia. Travel blogger Dane from Holiday From Where sums up the allure of the area perfectly: “I grew up in Byron Bay so it is hard for me to go past the North Coast of NSW when it comes to surfing. It has something for everyone from hollow wedging beach breaks to long perfect points. If you’re trying to learn or if you want super fun waves almost every day of the year, Byron Bay has something for everyone. Put in the hours of driving and you’ll will find incredible and consistent waves the entire length of the North Coast.”
Strickland Bay, Rottnest Island, WA
A 25-minute ferry ride off the coast of Western Australia takes you to Rottnest Island, home to 63 soft sand beaches and an adorable little creature called the Quokka. There are no cars on the island, which makes bicycles the only way to get around – so you’ll see swarms of surfers pedalling straight to Strickland Bay, which has the most consistent breaks. As those Aussie surfing enthusiasts, The Neverland Boys, put it: “When the winds are right, it’s the perfect left and right and the best part about it, you can only get there by bike (or a boat, if you are lucky enough). ”
The Farm, Killalea State Park, NSW
As Australian surfing and travel blogger Lizzie from Ruby White Road says, “The Farm is one of the greatest places on earth (a high claim I know)”. Located in Killalea State Park, just 30 minutes south of Wollongong, The Farm is surrounded by unspoilt natural beauty and has the unique benefit of facing south-east. So if you’re looking for big waves that will get your adrenaline pumping, then this is the beach for you.
Anywhere on the Gold Coast, QLD
The name really does say it all. This iconic stretch of the Queensland coast is home to some of the best surfing beaches in Australia, which is why it attracts the surfers from around the world with its year-round warmth and variety of breaks. The small swells at Broadbeach are great for grommets trying out a board for the first time (it’s where I first learnt to surf!), whilst Burleigh Heads, Snapper Rocks and, of course, Surfers Paradise, are among the many spots that make this part of Australia a wipe-out wonderland. Californian’s Tara and Eric from surf travel blog Lush Palm heartily agree: “The Gold Coast is far from secret, but the area offers up heaps of world-class surf and all types of waves. From epic point breaks to thumping beach breaks, The Goldie has it all!”
🏄 Consider yourself a surfing expert? Let us know about a few of your favourite surfing beaches in Australia below.