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Australia’s Best Surf Beaches

November 09, 2020 7 min read

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A Round-up of the Top Surf Beaches in Australia by State

Written for Auski by Pink Lemonade Social

We Aussies are known for our surf culture, it’s our bread and butter. There’s no questioning Australia’s reputation as ‘the surfers paradise’, we’re one of the world's premier surf destinations with over 37,000km of coastline and some of the world's most beautiful beaches.

With so many options, choosing the best spot for your next paddle out isn’t easy. With a variety of heavy reef breaks, man-made point breaks, soft and locals, this is a roundup of beaches you’ll never forget.

Whilst Australia’s surf breaks are seemingly endless, here are our favourites.

Shelley Point, Jervis Bay – NSW

Aptly known as Aussie Pipe, this incredible reef break has just become the first Aboriginal surfing reserve in Australia – and in the world. Located on the south coast of NSW, in Booderee National Park, the south facing break is not for beginners, with waves breaking shallow over the reef to give a clean, crisp ride that is not for the faint hearted.

The waves break on a unique shaped reef, which is a favourite for pros. Known for being one of the best barrels in the world, hence its name, the lefts here are very similar to Hawaii’s pipeline. You have to hike into Shelley Point, but it’s worth it, when the waves hit 6 foot, the wide, left barrels await.

Surf season: year-round

Rennies Beach, Ulladulla – NSW

Known as the hidden gem of Ulladulla, Rennies beach is a local’s favourite that seems to be free of crowds most of the year. With huge swell, crystal clear water and deep barrels, Rennies isn’t nearly as well-known as it should be.

Some may even go as far as calling Ulladulla the ultimate Australian surf trip destination. The town is full of friendly locals, restaurants, and surf shops. Take my word for it, this is a spot not to be missed.

Surf season: year-round.

The Pass, Byron Bay – NSW

Byron Bay is famous worldwide for its laid-back surf culture, it’s only fitting that some of the best waves occur in the bay. Explore Byron Bay and you’ll find The Pass, a long stretch of beach between Clarkes Beach and Wategos. Famous for unbelievable long waves that unfold without stopping, it provides one of the longest rides out there.

The protection from the wind offers clean waves that roll through to the beach, great for surfers of all ability levels.

While sitting in the line-up, keep an eye out for dolphins playing off the cliffs! A true treat.

Surf season: year-round.  

Margaret River – WA

Known affectionately amongst locals as Margies, Margaret River is iconic. Margaret River’s year-round surf break is not for the faint hearted, or the warm blooded - the water is as cold as the waves are big.

Home to the Margaret River Pro, Margies is a bucket list break for surfers worldwide. But as the saying goes “the easiest part about getting to Margaret River, is actually getting to Margaret River.” Cracking the code of a coastline containing over 75 breaks along a 130km stretch, not so easy.

With so many options to choose from, Margaret River has a break for everyone, finding it is a part of the fun!

Surf season: year-round.  

Exmouth – WA

If you’re looking for gnarly waves, Exmouth is the place for you. Best known for its proximity to Western Australia’s gorgeous Ningaloo Reef it is popular for tourists swimming with wales. Exmouth’s beaches have so much to offer, and in terms of a surf spot, you can’t get clearer water.

Surf season: July to October.

Noosa Heads, Sunshine Coast – QLD

Known affectionately to me as ‘home’, in my absolutely biased option, Noosa is home to Australia’s best waves, surf culture and weather (but that’s just me).

Noosa is a long boarder’s dream, with long, clean, and easy waves for every ability level. A walk around Noosa National park will provide more than ten surf spots so you’ll often have the wave all to yourself. The water averages around 22 degrees all year, so no need for a wetsuit.

Noosa to me, is the epitome of Aussie surf culture, locals are friendly, helpful, and just genuinely happy to be out in the waves.

Surf season: year-round

Snapper Rocks, Gold Coast – QLD

Snapper is iconic and this list would not be complete without it. The break is technically right on the border of QLD and NSW but as a Queenslander, I’m claiming this one to the north. Snapper Rocks is a man-made groyne, which has waves so long that it's rumoured some have surfed one wave all the way to Kirra beach.

Snapper is home to many famous surfers and for good reason. In its prime the waves break in perfect sequence with perfect lines for surfers of all ability levels, all day. Due to its fame however, Snapper does get quite busy, and has a reputation for some competition in the line-up. So, before you paddle out here, make sure your surf etiquette is up to date.

Surf Season: year-round

Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast – QLD

Burleigh Heads on Queensland’s Gold Coast has a reputation of being one of the best point breaks in Australia. Offering conditions for all levels, Burleigh is a legendary, bucket list break for surfers from far and wide.

The waves are big, the water is clear, and the sand is stunning. Burleigh Heads may be one of the most scenic waves on the Australian coast, framed by the beautiful skyline view of the aptly named, Surfers Paradise.

Surf Season: year-round

Bells Beach, Great Ocean Road – VIC

Bells Beach is the home of Australian surfing. The iconic cliffed-coastline play home to Australia’s oldest and most prestigious surf event, the Ripcurl pro. On a good day, the shallow reef off the beach provides perfect, slow, rolling waves that the break is known for.

Located in Torquay, home to many of Australia’s iconic surf brands, Bells is truly unique. The break is known worldwide for providing a difficult wave for even the world's best surfers. Make sure you pack your wetsuit though, the Antarctic swell that makes Bells great, isn’t so accommodating for the warm blooded.

Surf season: Winter (June, July, August)

Wonthaggi, South Gippsland – VIC

Located just over an hour south-east of Melbourne, Wonthaggi is the super convenient seaside town that plays host to some of Victoria’s best learner terrain. Great for those who are learning the ropes, the waves are small and less powerful than most of the breaks in the region.

The locals are chill and understanding of learners, they might even help you out with some experienced knowledge and know-how. The stunning blue water and calmer conditions don’t come without a catch though, the location of Wonthaggi makes waters quite cold all year, so make sure you pack a warm wetsuit.

Surf season: March to July

Redbill Beach, West Coast – TAS

Popular for surfers looking to escape the crowd, this 1km long curved beach is a great spot for right handers and small to medium size beach breaks. Tasmania isn’t exactly the first state that we think of when talking about surfing, but we may be wrong on this one. Redbill is a favourite amongst locals, who simply call the spot ‘Surf Beach’.

Waves at Redbill reach about a metre at most times of the year, with consistent clean waves. However, with the gorgeous surrounding scenery, the waves may be the second-best thing about this hidden gem.

Surf Season: Winter (June, July, August)

Knights Beach, Port Elliot – SA

This list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Knights. Famous for the Pro Bodyboarding competition and loved by locals for the good quality breaks and huge swells, Knights conditions are second to very, very few.

Knights is known for larger swell and deep barrels, so is perfect for more experienced surfers. The water in the area is so clear that you can see the bottom most of the times all year. The best part - camping is super close by, so you can stay the week.

Surf season: year-round.

The best part about our sunburnt country is undoubtedly our surf. We’re so lucky to have so many options around the country.

The above list isn’t complete by any means, there are many more breaks around our beautiful coastline, so let us know what your favourite is, or if we missed any that deserve a mention. Remember to Tag #YourLifeOutdoors and share your next surf adventure with us on Facebook or Instagram (@auskiaustralia)!

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