There is no shortage of magnificent surf spots downunder. Coastalwatch digital editor and self-professed surf junkie Sally Mac gives us her top 10 Aussie waves.
Our coastline is vast and the waves are plentiful, catering for beginners through to the world’s best. Whether you’re after the long lines of a point-break, a soft and punchy beach break, hollow, fast reef breaks, or solid big-wave slabs, you can find it here in our great southern land.
Here are the bucket-list-tickers, in no particular order…
10. Merewether Beach, Newcastle, NSW
When you’re looking for consistency and a multitude of options for any level of surfer, the main stretch offers great beach break options on a northeast swell, as well as pumping conditions on strong southerlies when the reefs turn on. If you’re lucky you’ll catch up with four-time World Champ and legendary shaper, Mark Richards.
9. Noosa, Sunshine Coast, QLD
Noosa is undoubtedly one of the most fun surf breaks in the world, and is the longest right-hand point break in Australia. It’s a favourite for longboarders but suits any level of surfer. An east-north-east swell suits this long, soft wave best and it’s advised you’re prepared for a party wave because the only time it’s quiet is when it’s dark.
8. The Pass, Byron Bay, NSW
Located on the southern end of Byron Bay’s Main Beach, The Pass has become a mecca for surfing and is an amazing place to paddle out for a log session and water selfie. No matter what time of year you get to The Pass, there will be waves and crowds. This right-hander is not just a fav for locals but also a backpacker hot-spot.
7. South Wollongong, NSW
If you’re looking for something less crowded and with a couple of good beachie options, head south of Sydney. Right in the heart of Wollongong you’ll find some epic right and left-handers that work from 2-6 feet and are suitable for the whole family on a patrolled beach with a great beachfront café.
6. Margaret River, WA
There’s a very good reason Margie’s been listed on the World Championship Tour. It goes off. Surfers Point is a reef break working best on a west swell but is not recommended for beginners. Even if you don’t surf it’s a great place to watch the locals rip and the wild Indian Ocean churn up perfect peaks.
5. Bells Beach, Vic
Bells Beach is an all-time, right-hand reef break on the Surf Coast of Victoria. Despite the cold water it’s one of the most incredible views you can get both in the water and up on the headland. It’s great on a south swell all year round and best on a mid to high tide to avoid any rocky surprises.
4. Duranbah, Tweed Heads, NSW
Duranbah is the smaller breakwall alternative to its state border sister, Snapper. Dbah can provide a couple of left options that can be refreshing to Gold Coast goofy-footers. The southern breakwall provides great refraction and amazing beachie barrels and ramps. Really consistent and loves a southeast swell.
3. Crescent Head, NSW
Crescent is an impeccable right-hand point break suitable for any level of surfer with consistent conditions. This makes it a bit crowded but there’s a really fun vibe in the water. On its day a six-foot wave can barrel and reward you with a ride of glory.
2. Manly Beach, NSW
Queenscliff, North Steyne and South Steyne make up Manly Beach, as well as the Bower, the reef break on the far south end. A great mix of waves for all levels but be prepared to mix it up with beginner tourists and some super fast sections on the low tide. It’s the birthplace of surfing in Australia and you can still feel the magic.
1. Snapper Rocks, QLD
Snapper is a right-hand “super bank”. Super, because it’s long, hollow, fast and crowded. It’s a world-class wave made with a sand pump. Fanning, Parko and Gilmore all call it home as well as a million other locals. If you’re fast on your feet and up for a paddle battle it will reward you.
Sally Mac has a salt-affected mind. As the digital editor of coastalwatch, Australia’s most comprehensive coastal reference and live HD surf cam site, she lives and breathes the ocean and needs to surf to survive. Hunting down storm swells and bringing you the latest on sharks, Sally’s finger is on the pulse 24/7.