17 most amazing surf spots in Australia
Australia is one impressive island, spanning more than 60,000km of the most amazing Australian coastline, and with the second largest population of surfers with a massive 1.7 million, second to the USA.
Picking out your next surf vacation isn't exactly easy with that much coastline, so how do you find the best spots to surf in Australia?
Amazing waves, beautiful weather conditions, soft sand and locals you'll never forget. We're going to help you come up with the next location for your surf trip.
Jump the list and use our index of Australia's best surf locations:
- Central Coast, NSW
- Exmouth, WA
- Yamba, NSW
- Kiama, NSW
- Bicheno, TAS
- Victor Harbor, SA
- Wonthaggi, VIC
- Kalbarri, WA
- Ulladulla, NSW
- Sunshine Coast, QLD
- Batemans Bay, NSW
- Gold Coast, QLD
- Merimbula, NSW
- Esperance, WA
- Streaky Bay, SA
- Forster-Tuncurry, NSW
1. Central Coast, NSW
Located halfway between Newcastle and Sydney, making the Central Coast a perfect one-day surf destination, it's also close to airports, accommodation and amazing restaurants.
No matter your surf experience, Central Coast has some of the perfect beaches for all experience.
Just 45km North of Sydney CBD, a "must-visit" location, offering small and medium size waves, perfect for shortboards, longboards, and SUPs. The 500m long, south-east facing beach is surrounded by 60m high sandstone cliffs and rocks.
More information on Avalon beach:
- Picnic Area
- Public Toilets
- Patrolled beach
- Best surfing on the north end
- Barrenjoey Road Avalon Beach, NSW, 2107
Photo Credit: icentralcoast.com
Not recommended for amateurs: Copacabana beach has waves that really rip, powerful breaks, and strong swells perfect for professionals or well-experienced surfers.
Just 90 minutes from Sydney or 102 minutes from Newcastle and offering some of the best surf New South Wales has on offer, this is well worth the trip.
More information on Copacabana Beach:
- Whale viewing platform
- Amazing Accommodation
- Dog Access
- Local Markets
- National Park
- World-class cafes
- Del Monte Pl, Copacabana NSW 2251
2. Exmouth, WA
If you're looking for gnarly waves, Exmouth is for you, best known for the Ningaloo Reef, and popular for swimming with whales. Although Exmouth is made up of several beaches, most of them offer fantastic surf conditions.
Dunes (Surfers Beach) is probably the most notable, very popular with the locals, great all-around surf conditions, and clear blue waves.
More Information on Exmouth, WA:
- July to October are the best surf conditions
- Great for snorkeling
- Large swells
- Mildura Wreck Rd, North West Cape WA 6707
3. Yamba, NSW
On the hunt for world-famous breaks? Yamba, NSW has what you're looking for, picture perfect scenery, and friendly locals make Yamba, our number 3.
Turners beach offers both left-hand breaks at the north end and right-hand breaks on the south end, perfect for your thruster set up or SUP.
The local Yamba-Angourie Surf School offers lessons at Yamba at really affordable prices, board hire, gift vouchers, and private lessons also available.
More about Yamba:
- World-class fresh seafood
- Left and right-handed breaks
- Local Tourist attractions
- Surf School
- Clarence St, Yamba NSW 2464
4. Kiama, NSW
Located on the south-side of NSW coast is Kiama, a 90-minute drive from Sydney CBD, or catch a scenic train directly there! Kiama has an absolutely beautiful surf beach, otherwise known as "main beach".
Although the waves are not massive, they're enjoyable for newer riders, SUPs, and longboards or anyone wanting a laid-back ride.
Other Kiama Beach information:
- Located at the main shopping district in Kiama
- Laid-back surf conditions
- Local surf shops, cafes, markets & shops
- Parks, public toilets & showers
- Manning St, Kiama NSW 2533
5. Bicheno, TAS
An absolutely massive stretch of the Tasmanian coastline lies, featuring two very popular surfing locations, Redbill beach, and Denison Beach. Denison beach being the more popular for surfers looking to escape to the crowd.
The main surfing beach in Bicheno is a 1km long curved beach, with waves averaging .5m at the sound end of the beach, and getting to around the 1m mark at the spit.
Be careful though, Redbill beach has common occurrences of rip currents, be sure you know what to do if you're in a rip before going out.
Redbill surf information:
- Waves ranging from .5m to 1m
- Right-hand breaks during bigger swells
- Known to the locals as "surf beach"
- Low risk of sunburn due to UV rays in the area
- Gordon St, Bicheno TAS 7215
Stretching 2.4km Denison beach in Tasmania is a popular surfing destination for those looking to get away from the overpopulated "common" beaches, Although not patrolled Denison beach offers great swell and water conditions.
Denison Beach information:
- Harder to get to then Redbill, but offering a quieter-laid-back surf
- Swells averaging 1 to 1.5m with it getting up to 2m on any given week.
- Not patrolled, so only recommended for experienced surfers and accompanied.
- Douglas River, TAS, 7215
6. Victor Harbor, SA
Victor Harbor offers a variety of beaches, but more popular to surfers are Knights Beach, home to the Pro Bodyboarding Competition, and loved by the locals offering huge swells and quality breaks.
As well as Waitpinga beach, or known by the locals as "Waits", offering waves of 3m, the beach is isolated and popular for big wave surfers with a little more experience under their belts.
Knights Beach, SA
Located just 85km south of Victor Harbor is the beautiful surf location known as Knights Beach, known for holding the Pro Bodyboarding Competition, offering huge barrels, and water conditions that will make your eyes water in pride.
Knights Beach is certainly up with our top beaches for travelers having access to local campsites and surf shops.
Knights Beach facts:
- 3m swells and deep barrels are perfect for experienced surfers
- Clearwater conditions
- Convenient location with parking and amenities
- Competitions ran year round
- Local Campsites & hotels
- Knights Beach Walk, Port Elliot SA 5212
Waitpinga Beach aka. Waits, SA
Grab your friends and head down for a day-trip, waits beach is a little harder to get too, and isolated, but it's well worth the trip!
3m high waves are common at Waitpinga, it also offers a quiet, laid-back experience with fewer crowds, and offers left and right-handed breaks.
It is recommended by beachsafe.org.au to only surf with friends, conditions here can be hazardous.
More information on Waits Beach:
- 3m swells, great for experienced surfers
- High rip occurrences and classed as a hazardous beach, surf with precision.
- Harder to get to than most beaches in the area
- Waitpinga, SA, 5211
7. Wonthaggi, VIC
Wonthaggi is the most convenient place south of Melbourne to surf, but be warned, grab yourself a nice thick wetsuit before hitting the waves, it's not known to be warm.
Photo Credit: visitbasscoast.com.au
Both Eagles Nest and Interlock beach is perfect for groms, or "learning-to-surf" riders, Not ideal for the more experienced riders, or someone who gets frustrated at being dropped in on.
Respect the locals, and help the groms out with some tips, they'll appreciate the experienced knowledge and know-how.
- Popular for younger riders, and new surfers
- Smaller, less powerful breaks
- Stunning blue water
- Very cold, and recommended to wear a wetsuits
8. Kalbarri, WA
Living in Perth? Well, pack your car, grab your mates and set out for a 6-hour road trip to Jakes Point, Kalbarri. Trust me, if you're an avid surfer, this is well worth the 6-hour road trip.
Photo Credit: Sophie @pixsoyo
Stories of up to 200m left-hand breaks and waves reaching a frequent 5m, this goes without saying, it's not for the faint-hearted, or less-experienced riders. Surf with friends, and take care.
More about Jakes Point:
- 5m frequent waves
- Long left-handed breaks
- 6-hour drive from Perth CBD
- Experienced surfers only
- Local Cafe's & campsites
- Jakes Point Rd, Kalbarri WA 6536
9. Ulladulla, NSW
Known to the locals as their little-hidden gem, Rennies Beach in Ulladulla is not as commonly known as it probably should be.
With both left and right-handed breaks, waves that reach 5m, and "perfect" hollow barrels, makes this the perfect Australian surf road trip destination.
With guest houses galore to choose from and friendly locals, restaurants, and surf shops, don't miss Rennies Beach on your next road trip.
Rennies Beach, Ulladulla, NSW:
- 5m left and right-handed breaks
- Hollow barrels & perfect blue water
- Holiday homes, campsites & hotels
- Rennies Beach Cl, Ulladulla NSW 2539
10. Sunshine Coast, QLD
Known to me as "home", the Sunshine Coast, in my opinion, is the most beautiful place on earth to not only live but to work as well.
Having tonnes of beaches to choose from, hotels to stay in and heavily populated cities the Sunny Coast is a great holiday destination.
Beaches like Dicky beach, Kings beach, Mooloolaba, and Peregian are all well known to the locals.
Known for the S.S Dicky which crashed ashore in 1893 with the shipwreck up until recently being left behind.
Photo Credit: Chris McCormack
Popular amongst beginners, and surf schools for it's easy to access, small to medium size surf and clear waters, white sand, and local amenities make it a great surf spot.
Dicky Beach information:
- Local shops, cafes, markets, and campsites
- Common "shories" at Dicky beach
- Popular to locals, and schools
- Long white sand beach
- High UV rate, wear lots of Sunscreen
- Lower Neill St, Dicky Beach QLD 4551
About 10 minutes walk from Coolum main beach brings you to the zen of Peregian beach, known to locals as "complete paradise" Peregian offers both left and right handed breaks, fast and clean conditions, warm water and breathtaking sunsets.
Photo Credit: Youtube - Crane Productions
Peregian beach has tonnes of amenities, hollow barrels, 2-3m breaks, but don't get caught with the tourist destination cafe prices, head 5 minutes in-land for a better deal.
Peregian Beach, Sunny Coast:
- Clear blue hollow barrels
- 2-3m surf breaks
- Left & right-handed waves
- High UV rating - wear sunscreen
- Pristine photo-worthy weather year round.
- David Low Way, Glen Eden, Peregian Beach QLD 4573
11. Batemans Bay, NSW
Living in Canberra doesn't mean you cannot find great surf, although, you will need to travel, roughly 150km east of the capital, you'll find yourself on the coastline offering some great surfing beaches. Broulee Beach, and Depot Beach being the two notable surf destinations consistently providing great surf.
Although not offering huge waves, amazing barrels or shories, they do offer great surf for your longboard or SUP.
Great for those "easy-breaking" waves and cruisey ride for longboarders, with consistent waves coming in. Often locals go out to meditate and relax in the surf, this is common in the "laid back" town.
Photo Credit: visitnsw.com
Boulee beach has easy to access carparks, public toilets and tonnes of local activities, campsites and things to do.
Broulee Beach and surrounding:
- Consistent quality waves
- Chill locals
- Perfect for longboards & SUPs
- Toilets, Parks and Car parking
- Camping & Shops local
- Coronation Drive Broulee, NSW, 2537
An absolute gem, picture perfect weather, tropical water conditions and reliable surf makes depot beach popular, but without the crowd.
More popular for its holiday homes, campgrounds and exclusivity Depot beach doesn't have as many locals as others on this list, populated by tourists and travelers making it a great little Australian surfing gem.
Information about Depot Beach:
- Considered as a Gem and flies under the radar making for a great private surf session
- Popular camping destination
- Consistent breaks perfect for SUP or longboarders.
- Beach Road, Depot Beach, Ulladulla NSW 2539
12. Gold Coast, QLD
When it comes to surfing, you've probably heard of the Gold Coast "goldy", it's worldwide fame, popularity and high-density population and stunning waves.
For crying out loud the place is trying to tell you how good the surf is, with one of the most popular locations being called "Surfers Paradise", but for the best surf, head south to Duranbah, or Burleigh Heads.
Duranbah and Snapper Rocks
Technically deemed as an NSW beach, being the most northern beach in the state of NSW, a 2-minute walk north will find you in QLD, an hour behind NSW in the summer.
However, it's made popular, and populated by the Gold Coast residence and closer to QLD cities than NSW, traveling a couple minutes further north, you'll hit Snapper Rocks, home to world-famous, world-renowned Mick Fanning, who racked up 22 tour wins. The surf mustn't be too bad if this was his local.
More about Snapper Rocks and Duranbah:
- 2-3m waves are common at both beaches
- Gold Coast nightlife and tourist attractions extend well past surfing
- World class restaurants, surf shops, and hotels
- Endless barrels as far as the eye can see
- Snapper Rocks Rd, Coolangatta QLD 4225
Doing a quick google search of Australian surf, you'll most likely be flooded with photos of Burleigh, possibly the most scenic of waves in Australia, with the beautiful skyline view of the Gold Coast, the bluest of blue water and warm tropical water.
It's a surfers dream come true, large waves, blue sea, warm water, and barrels as far as you can see, world-class accommodation, food, and nightlife, you will be spoilt for choice here.
Burleigh Heads information:
- Neon Bluewater
- Tropical temperature
- 2-3m waves and large endless barrels
- Friendly locals, and numerous surf schools
- Spoilt for choice with shops, accommodation, food, surf shops and more
- The Esplanade, Burleigh Heads QLD 4220
13. Merimbula, NSW
Number 13 on our most amazing surf spots in Australia is Merimbula, perfect for beginners and groms looking for a step up from the small and into something a little bigger.
The Sapphire Coast is well known in Australia as one of the most beautiful scenic locations, and whether you choose Tathra Beach, or head a little further south to Pambula Beach, you're in for a treat!
Surrounded by both Mimosa Rocks National Park, and Bournda National Park, Tathra Beach is truly an amazing place to visit, whether for a surf, or mountain bike ride, or bushwalking, Tathra Beach has everything.
2.5km of breathtaking beach, plenty of swells, and warm waters, Tathra is a popular beach, wait your turn, respect the surf edicate and you'll enjoy your stay.
Something special about Tathra Beach:
- Surrounded by beautiful green national parks, and action sports adventures.
- Campsites and accommodation are both affordable
- Friendly locals, and surfers
- Surf Schools
- Photographers dream destination
- Decent swell for groms and beginners
- Andy Poole Drive, Tathra, NSW, 2550
Welcome to Pambula Beach, a popular locals swimming beach, patrolled by Surf Life Saving Australia, and complete with "off-leash" area for your pets.
Photo Credit: On The Beach Holidays
Great surf conditions for your young ones, learning as well as mal riders, or your stand up paddle boards.
Facts about Pambula Beach:
- Famous for its stunning river mouth which borders Ben Boyd National Park.
- Off-leash pet beach
- Let the Kangeroos watch you on the waves
- Perfect beginner waves, or longboards & SUPs
- Easily accessible with tonnes of parks.
- Pambula Beach Road Pambula Beach NSW 2549
14. Esperance, WA
The best of both worlds, powerful professional quality waves, or tame beginner level surf, all within a short drive of each other.
A relatively isolated area of Western Australian, Esperance isn't for everyone, but should definitely be included in our top 17 Australian surf destinations due to its surf variety and experience level choice.
Offering the kind of beauty that is overwhelming, West beach is a 7 and a half hour drive from Perth, or a 1 and a half hour flight, classed as one of the whitest beaches in Australia, west beach gives you colours of all sorts with green national parks, white as white can be sand, and blue as blue gets in the ocean.
Photo Credit: Australia.com
Perfect for beginners and experienced surfers alike, providing great surf breaks, decent waves, and warm waters, West beach should definitely be on your list of beaches to visit in Australia.
Things to know about West Beach:
- Animals are commonly found on the beach, due to the national park surroundings
- Deep ocean swells, far as the eye can see waves.
- Ideal for longboards, SUPs, and shortboards
- Perfect for all surfers
- Popular tourist destinations surround the beach.
- Twilight Beach Rd, West Beach WA 6450
WARNING: You may never want to leave.
Honestly, this beach is stunning, from the huge swell to the beautiful rock display off the beach, this is one location you will never forget.
Offering experienced surfers huge waves, blue water, and a patrolled beach, you may never want to leave. Twilight Beach, or Twilight Bay, is quite the popular destination, you'll need to line up for the perfect wave, but take in the scenery makes it all worthwhile.
Things to know about Twilight beach / bay:
- Amazing scenery and rock formation off the beach
- 3-5m waves year round
- Warm waters and patrolled beach
- Local surf club, parks, and amenities
- Boardwalk and national park walk close by.
- Cove Ln, Dalyup WA 6450
15. Streaky Bay, SA
Probably the most chilled out, relaxed place on our list, Streaky Bay is a very local, friendly place filled with down to earth, chilled out people. Perfect for someone going on a surf trip who just wants to be chill.
Streaky Bay and nearby Sceale Bay are deemed as one of Australia's "cleanest beaches".
Photo Credit: Streakybay.com.au
Home to some beautiful sea life such as turtles, dolphins and sea lions, you'll truly be surprised with what you might be surfing with.
Streaky Bay is not ideal for beginners, swell can be upwards of 6-8m, averaging 4-5m.
Things to know about Streaky Bay, SA:
- Local campsites and accommodation
- MASSIVE waves and barrels
- Scenic rock formations and photography lookouts
- Chill vibes.
- Alfred Terrace, Streaky Bay SA 5680
16. Forster-Tuncurry, NSW
Clean barrels, large surf, and world-class surf shops, Forster-Tuncurry should not be left off the list, offering rockpools, large surf conditions, beautiful blue water and great local vibes.
Photo Credit: Shane Chalker Photography
One of my all-time favorite places to surf in Australia, it's just one of those breathtaking special places, you know the ones, where you can see yourself surfing there every day for the rest of your life. That is Forster-Tuncurry.
Things to know before going to Forster-Tuncurry:
- Lovely white sand, green grass, and local activities
- Perfect barrels, large waves and clear water
- Patrolled beach
- Great affordable accommodation
- North St, Forster NSW 2428
17. Our favourite surf destinations in Australia
That brings us to our conclusion, we have compiled a list of what we think are the best surf beaches in Australia, the ones you should visit on your next surf trip.
If you're unsure where to go, what to do, how to do it, I'd suggest hitting up your local travel agent, they will further assist you with flights, accommodation and travel expenses.
From our recommendation though, head to New South Whales, it made 7 of our 16 locations to go to, you'll be spoilt for choice in NSW for surfing, hire a car and travel from beach to beach.
If you're after the touristy stuff on top, head to Queensland, we have the beautiful Sunshine Coast, and the Gold Coast within a 2-hour drive, with 20+ beaches between the two.
Hopefully, this answered some of your questions, helped you see how beautiful Australia is and why we're the second largest surfing country, highest if you look from a percentage of the population, but second in overall.
Enjoy your next trip.