Although no-one knows exactly where or when surfing was invented – it’s been practised for generations in the South Pacific islands, and it’s thought that Polynesian settlers in Hawaii initially introduced the sport to the West – Australia is the country with which it’s most associated.
With over 37,000 kilometres of golden coastline, and some of the best beaches and biggest waves in the world, surfing is a way of life for many Australians. Here are the top five Aussies beaches for surfing.
Point Cartwright, the Sunshine Coast
North end of Kawana Beach, Buddina, QLD 4575
18 minutes from Ramada Resort by Wyndham Marcoola Beach
One of the Sunshine Coast’s most popular surf spots, Point Cartwright (known locally as ‘Carties’) is a wave-lashed headland fringed by rocky cliffs, creating a formidable point break that many of Queensland’s top surfers have used to hone their skills.
Even if you visit on a quiet day, the swell is still consistent enough for a fun mal session. On bigger days, you’ll have the option of tackling barrels or the slightly hazardous Platform, a right-hand break just off the point’s rock platforms.
Seal Rocks and Pacific Palms, Northern New South Wales
Kinka Road, Seal Rocks, NSW 2423
1 hour 40 minutes from Club Wyndham Shoal Bay
Several beaches of wildly differing character can be found in this corner of New South Wales, located on a scenic drive around Club Wyndham Shoal Bay. If you’re the kind of person that doesn’t shy away from five-metre waves, head on down to either Lighthouse or Treachery Beach at Seal Rocks.
As the southern winds blow, ready your board (and your nerves) as the ocean’s natural roller coasters rumble in.
For something a little more tranquil, make your way to Pacific Palms. There are still waves here, but they’re slow-moving and gentle, meaning you can take it easy. If you’re especially lucky, a gang of dolphins might turn up and share the waves with you!
One more thing: this small pocket of New South Wales is largely undeveloped, so don’t come here expecting a wild night at the clubs – you make your own adventures on the peaceful beaches.
Yallingup and Surfers Point, Western Australia
Surfers Point Road, Prevelly, WA 6285
39 minutes from Club Wyndham Dunsborough
Yallingup, a town in the northern reaches of Western Australia, may be tiny in size, but its waves certainly aren’t. Found bare minutes from Club Wyndham Dunsborough, Yallingup is not just a great surfing area – it’s also home to a suite of wineries, and the two often intertwine.
Yallingup offers several breaks of varying sizes, from waist-high beginner’s waves to three metre swells that will challenge the intermediate rider.
Head a little south to Prevelly Park, though, and things get a bit more serious. Make that a lot more serious. At Surfers Point, waves rear to a height of up to seven metres, curving into beautiful, near-perfect tubes as they make their way to shore. “What’s so bad about that?”, we hear you ask. Surely the worse that can happen is that you fall, get a little wet, come to the surface and carry on?
Wrong. Just feet under the wave-foam is a perilous offshore reef, waiting for riders to be dashed against it by particularly aggressive waves. It sounds grim, but it’s this extra danger that attracts surfers from around the world, who tackle Prevelly with firmly-fastened helmets.
Bells Beach, Torquay
Bells Beach Carpark off Bells Beach Road, Bells Beach, VIC 3228
12 minutes from Club Wyndham Torquay
A list of Australia’s best surf spots wouldn’t be complete without the globally famous Bells Beach. Home to the world’s longest-running pro surf competition, the Rip Curl Pro, Bells is hugely popular with both locals and tourists.
Long, powerful and consistent are three traits associated with this right-hand point break, although you’ll probably want to stay on-shore when the weather gets ugly – the sheer size and ferocity of the waves can be seriously off-putting. In good weather, the crowds can prove equally intimidating, so keep in mind that nearby Winkipop and Jan Juc are also great options.
Snapper Rocks, Gold Coast
Snapper Rocks Road, Coolangatta, QLD 4225
8 minutes from Club Wyndham Kirra Beach
In a city famous for its surfing culture – the heart of the Gold Coast is literally named ‘Surfers Paradise’ – Snapper Rocks still manages to stand out. Part of the so-called ‘Superbank’, this exceptional point break boasts long, sweeping rights that draw surfers from across the country.
The Snapper wave starts behind the point’s rocks, slowly morphing into a part-barrel part-wall monster that will leave even veteran surfers breathless. Be warned – the competition is high here, especially if you’re a relatively inexperienced surfer.
Even if board-riding isn’t your thing, there’s plenty of both body-boarding and swimming spots available nearby. Head to North Kirra Beach for family-friendly fun, or, for something a little quieter, move to the south side of Snapper Rocks to take a dip at little D’Bah Beach.
Like this article about Australia’s top surfing spots? Start planning your next wave-washed vacay. Surf’s up!