Eight of Australia’s best surfing beaches

Some of the world’s most renowned surfers regularly travel to Australia to take advantage of its world-class waves and they know their way around the best surfing beaches. Beyond the world renowned Bells Beach on the Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Byron Bay in New South Wales and the aptly-named Surfers Paradise in Queensland, it’s the ‘off the beaten track’ beaches that often promise the best waves and conditions. Eight of Australia’s best surfing beaches
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Eight of Australia’s best surfing beaches

With a staggering 50,000km of coastline, Australia offers up more beaches, bays and inlets than you could possibly imagine.

Some of the world’s most renowned surfers regularly travel to Australia to take advantage of its world-class waves and they know their way around the best surfing beaches. Beyond the world renowned Bells Beach on the Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Byron Bay in New South Wales and the aptly-named Surfers Paradise in Queensland, it’s the ‘off the beaten track’ beaches that often promise the best waves and conditions.

The Pass, Byron Bay, New South Wales

The Pass at Byron Bay, New South Wales

Byron Bay in New South Wales is a mecca for board riders, with an abundance of different beaches to choose from, but it’s The Pass at the end of Clarkes Beach that is consistently ranked as one of the best surf spots in Australia. From here you can view the entire bay from the surfer’s lookout, so if The Pass is packed with too many surfers for your liking, then it’s on to the next one.

Also try: Lennox Head near Byron Bay.

Glenelg Beach, Adelaide, SA

Cactus Beach, South Australia

If surfing in an untouched wilderness sounds like your idea of heaven, then this is the place for you. What draws visitors to South Australia’s Cactus Beach is the region’s unspoilt natural beauty. However, it’s not for the inexperienced to tackle, especially during the more turbulent winter waves, but those surfers in the know who travel from all corners of the globe to check out this booming southern break say it is well worth the trip.

Also try:  Glenelg beach near the Adelaide city centre.

Bells Beach, Torquay, Victoria

Bells Beach, Victoria

No list of Australian surfing spots would be complete without Victoria’s iconic Bells Beach, renowned for its powerful swells amongst a natural backdrop of red clay cliffs. Located in Torquay around 100km from Melbourne, it’s the home of the annual Rip Curl Pro Surf and Music Festival, which has been running since 1962. Not far from Bells Beach is charming coastal spot, Winkipop, which many claim to be superior to its iconic big brother. Surf both of these legendary swells along the Great Ocean Road to decide for yourself.

Also try: The surfing beaches of the Mornington Peninsula, including Portsea, Sorrento and Point Leo.

Noosa Festival of Surfing, Noosa, Queensland

Noosa, Queensland

In Noosa, one of the most sought-after long-board breaks in the world is Point Break, which is popular for all the right reasons; first timers can paddle alongside professional riders, with the opportunity to catch a genuine 200 metre ride on a good day. The swell here is considered ideal for beginners, but experienced surfers enjoy riding its long, easy-rolling wave just as much.

Also try: Tea Tree Bay in Noosa Heads.

Australian Open of Surfing, Manly Beach, Sydney, New South Wales

Northern Beaches, Sydney, New South Wales

Meanwhile in Sydney, the Northern Beaches are a favourite amongst the city’s surfing fraternity, with the stretch of coastline from Manly to Palm Beach offering a relaxed beachside ambience at the restaurants, cafés, pubs and retail outlets scattered along it. If you’re struggling to work out where to start your surfing adventure, base yourself at the iconic beach that is North Narrabeen. As with any popular surfing spot, the waters can become a little busy, but you’ll be sure to find a wave somewhere along the beach’s three kilometre expanse.

Also try: Broulee Beach on the South Coast of New South Wales.

Lime Rock, South Cape Bay, TAS

South Cape Bay, Tasmania

Boasting intense, cold-water breaks and waves, Tasmania’s beaches offer surfers the opportunity to catch waves in an uncrowded place – a rare commodity when compared to some of the better known beaches across the country. Travelling to Australia's southernmost surf beach, South Cape Bay, is part of the fun with a 7.7 kilometre trek through World Heritage-listed wilderness the only way to access it. Your journey on foot will be rewarded with an immaculate beach featuring big, clean waves, and few fellow travellers to compete with on the water.

Also try: Martha Lavinia Beach on King Island.

Gold Coast, Queensland

It’s appropriate to name the whole of the Gold Coast as a surfing destination in itself as it offers countless world-class surfing beaches to choose from. The southern points at Snapper RocksKirra, Rainbow Bay Beach and Duranbah, which combine to form the ‘Superbank’ on the Queensland / New South Wales border, are generally considered the best spots for surfing on the Gold Coast. It’s easy to see why some of the world’s best surfers call this patch of paradise home.

Also try: Rainbow Beach just north of Brisbane.

Conto Springs Beach, Margaret River, Western Australia

Margaret River, Western Australia

There’s a reason why many surfers make a beeline for the west’s famed wine region at the Margaret River each April, and it’s not to settle in with a good bottle of merlot. It’s to compete in the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro, which gets bigger and better every year. However, with a mild Mediterranean climate, the Margaret River region has become an internationally renowned surfing destination year round; in summer you can immerse yourself in the beach atmosphere alongside kite surfers, swimmers and sunbathers or during winter you can enjoy less crowded waves while you surf. 

Also try: Esperance, eight hours south of Perth

Find great surfing experiences around Australia


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