Travel

12 Of Australia’s Best Surf Beaches

By Sophie Oddo
2nd Sep 2021

Boasting some of the best beaches and waves in the world, it’s no wonder that surfing is heavily ingrained into Australian culture. So whether you’re an experienced surfer, you’re just starting out or you’re simply after some picturesque locations to work on your base tan, here are Australia’s best surf beaches.

Queensland

Noosa Heads, Sunshine Coast

Both a holiday hotspot and surfer’s dream, Noosa Heads is home to some great surf beaches. Its National park status means the headland is largely unchanged, making the trek through to some of its hidden beaches, one to remember. This place is a beginner's paradise and longboard heaven, with some steeper, hollower surf found at Tea Tree about 15 minutes walk through the national park. Make sure to venture over in low tide to luck into a barrel. 

Where To Stay: After a long day of surfing, treat yourself at the Sofitel Noosa Pacific Resort. Close to the beach and national park, you can refuel post-surf at the Noosa Beach House Peter Kuruvita with a drool-worthy meal and bevvy. 

Kirra, Gold Coast

Those in search of hugely powerful tubes and lengthy ride lengths, look no further than Kirra on the Gold Coast. Perfect for the advanced surfer, Kirra is home to some of Australia’s biggest and most consistent swells from February to July and peaking from March to June. For something packing a little less intensity, head to Snapper Rocks a little over one kilometre away. If you're looking for one of the best surf beaches in Australia, you've found it. 

Where To Stay: For pure rockstar vibes, check into The Pink Hotel Coolangatta. With neon art adorning the walls and records players in each room, there's even a rooftop bar that will serves up sweeping views of the ocean providing the perfect surf check. 

Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast

Taking a place on every surfer’s bucket list is Burleigh Heads—one of the best beaches in Australia. Point breaks here are a barrel rider's heaven with waves suited to advanced and beginner surfers depending on the conditions. Burleigh Heads is the perfect getaway for when Kirra and Snapper Rocks are too packed and there’s plenty of cafe’s to pop in at after your surf.

Where To Stay: Just metres from the golden sand, Boardwalk Burleigh Beach is the perfect place to base yourself for a surfing trip. Perfect for groups, the apartments are spacious with large baloncys so you can soak up those stunning sunsets.

New South Wales

Black Rock, Jervis Bay

Otherwise known as Aussie Pipe, Wreck Bay or Summercloud Bay, Black Rock in Jervis Bay is a favourite amongst advanced surfers, sporting some of Australia's most hollow and photogenic waves. Located in the Aboriginal community of Wreck Bay, this spot is the first Aboriginal surfing reserve in the world, so there’s no denying it holds a very special place among locals and visitors alike. 

Where To Stay: With the beach on your doorstep, checking into Hyams Drift is a no brainer. Sleeping six, you and your surfing mates can dine alfresco on the outdoor deck and soak up the good vibes. 

Narrabeen, Northern Sydney

Located in Sydney’s Northern Beaches Narrabeen is known for being the most consistent waves in Sydney. A surfing hot spot since the 1960s, Narrabeen has been the scene of competitive surfing’s finest moments. Receiving a mix of groundswells and windswells, this beach has good surf at all stages of the tide. 

Where To Stay: Surrounded by lake and beach foreshores, this light filled private home is the perfect post-surf retreat. 

Crescent Head, Port Macquarie

Located north of Port Macquarie, the waves at Crescent Head are suited to both experienced longboard riders and beginner surfers. With four perfect right-hand point breaks, you can expect to ride for anywhere up to 200 metres, revered by longboarders around the world. If you’re still after more action head to the nearby Point Plomer or Delicate Nobby.

Where To Stay: Rest your head at Mirador, a modern, north facing house with amazing sea views from the house and the large entertaining deck.

The Pass, Byron Bay

Byron Bay is bursting with surf spots, but the best can be found at the end of Clarke’s Beach, The Pass. It’s no wonder this place is often packed with surfers, with long waves that roll on and on. Once you’re finished with your surf make sure to head up to the lookout to take in the marvellous view of the bay.

Where To Stay: Only a short walk from the main beach and town centre, The Lord Byron is uber stylish and features an outdoor swimming pool and hot tub, plus a full size tennis court. 

Angourie, Yamba

Found on the north coast of NSW near Yamba, Angourie holds a very special place in the heart of the community as the first national surfing reserve listed in New South Wales. Abundant in rolling waves and natural beauty, this place is pure magic for surfers. Although Angourie isn’t a swimming beach, it’s still worth checking out to simply watch the waves and for the picturesque walk out the grassy headland. 

Where To Stay: Five star boutique hotel The Surf Yamba is coastal chic at its best. The rooftop terrace serves up gorgeous panoramic views with a heated pool. 

Victoria 

Bells Beach, Torquay

Hosting Australia’s oldest and most prestigious surfing event, the Rip Curl Pro, each Easter it’s no wonder Bells Beach is the home of Australian surfing. Boasting powerful swells and outstanding surf sometimes reaching over five metres, this beach is a must-visit for experienced surfers and avid spectators.

Where To Stay: Deśa Retreat Ecovillas will allow you to soak up the area's stunning natural beauty. The villas feature a private garden, fire pit, hot outdoor shower and a barbecue.

Johanna Beach, Great Ocean Road

Located a short distance from Cape Otway, the waves found at Johanna Beach are the creme de la creme, so much so it played host to the World Surfing Championships in 1970. Best accessed via car from the Great Ocean Road, the journey will prove to be worth it with distinct bars, rip channels and waves averaging over 1.5 metres high. This beach is best for experienced surfers, so be sure to check out other Great Ocean Road gems like Easter Reef and Gibson Steps.

Where To Stay: Just a five minute drive from the beach, Johanna Cottage is the perfect cosy retreat. With views over both the valley and the coast it house sleeps six people. 

Western Australia

Main Break, Margaret River

Margaret River is loaded to the brim with surfing hot spots, most notably Main Break. This offshore reef isn’t for the faint-hearted, with super-heavy hollowness, bowls, bumps and a powerful swell mixing up to be a full-on surfing experience, even for the most experienced. If you’re feeling out of your depth, journey to the car park vantage point to watch the pros tackle some 20-foot waves.  

Where To Stay: The Margaret River Bungalows feature full kitchen, lounge and dinning rooms plus an outdoor deck so you can soak up the rays. 

Prevelly Bay, Margaret River

Home to all kinds of watersports, Prevelly Bay is popular among longboarders, surfers, kite surfers, swimmers and sunbathers. Exuding a true beach atmosphere, this bay is at the heart of surfing culture in Western Australia, conjuring spins of up to six metres. Beginners need not attempt these crushing waves, with some surfers even opting for surf helmets.

Where To Stay: With walkways that lead directly to Prevelly Bay, Carpe Vino is nestled among its own eight acres of quiet bushland. The sprawling property sleeps 10 and has it's own private tennis court—need we say more?

Next up, check out Australia's most stunning islands. 

Image credit: Josh Withers, Luisa Denu, Lasthib,  Jamie Davies, Yun Huang Yong

Editor's note: Urban List editors independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. Urban List has affiliate partnerships, so we get revenue from your purchase.

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