The 8 Best Surfing Beaches in Australia

Australia's Gold Coast boasts a great diversity of things to see and do
Australia's Gold Coast boasts a great diversity of things to see and do | © Travelscape Images / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Ellie Griffiths
10 August 2020

The beach and the surfing lifestyle are embedded not only in the Australian way of life, but in Australians’ hearts as well, and it’s no surprise why. Offering an abundance of beaches that not only are suitable for sunbathing but also produce some of the best surf waves in the world, these are the beaches you must head to if you’re looking for that next new wave.

Crescent Head, NSW

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Surfer and shore break at Crescent Head a famous surf location near Kempsey on the mid north coast of New South Wales Australia
© Rob Francis / Alamy Stock Photo
Ribboning the coastline for 25km (15.5mi), the waves at Crescent Head are perfect for both beginners and professional longboard riders. Located just north of Port Macquarie, there are four ‘perfect right-hand point breaks’ bringing in miracle rides of up to 200m (650ft); due to this, news of this specific point break has spread across the world, with some of the best surfing movies being filmed here – including Hang Ten (2001).

Gold Coast, QLD

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Gold Coast, Queensland | Courtesy of Tourism Australia © Jamie MacFadyen
Courtesy of Tourism Australia / | © Jamie MacFadyen
Although there are plenty of beaches along Queensland’s coast, it is the countless world-class beaches suitable for surfing throughout the Gold Coast that are the gem here. From the long sandy beaches to the many waves calling your name, it is no surprise that some of the best surfers in the world call this Australian paradise home. From Rainbow Bay and Snapper Rocks to Narrow Neck and Surfers Paradise, there are plenty of waves to surf and beaches to relax on.

Atmosphere:

Accessible (Deaf), Accessible (Blind), Family Friendly, Kid Friendly

Northern Beaches, NSW

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Avalon Beach, Northern Beaches, NSW | Courtesy of Tourism Australia © Brett Parkes
Courtesy of Tourism Australia / | © Brett Parkes
One of the many favourites among surfers are the Northern Beaches of Sydney, stretching 20km (7.5mi) along the coastline, from Manly Beach to Palm Beach. If you’re not sure where you should start, enjoy a surf along the iconic beach of North Narrabeen; although the waters here can become quite busy, this beach extends across 3km (1.9mi). However, for the professional big wave riders, a trip to Long Reef Bommie is a must.

The Pass at Byron Bay, NSW

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Byron Bay, NSW | Courtesy of Tourism Australia © Mike Newling
Courtesy of Tourism Australia / | © Mike Newling
One of Australia’s most famous beaches, Byron Bay invites you to explore its abundance of beaches and some of the best waves for board riders to ride. The Pass, located at the end of Clarkes Beach, is one of the best surf spots along this strip – although you will find this area is often packed with surfers. After a day of surfing, head up to the lookout for a spectacular view of the entire bay.

Noosa Heads, QLD

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Courtesy of Tourism Australia / | © John Montesi

With some of the world’s most sought-after longboard breaks inviting you to enjoy rolling waves, Noosa Heads offers some of the most photogenic breaks as well. Whether you’re a beginner looking for an ideal swell or a pro rider wanting to catch a genuine 200m ride, there are many breaks along Noosa Heads. Catering to all or set abilities, the beaches here are some of Australia’s best surf spots in tranquil waters.

Prevelly Bay, WA

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Drug Aware Margaret River Pro, Margaret River, WA | © Sean Scott
© Sean Scott
Immerse yourself in a true beach atmosphere – surrounded by surfers (whether longboard or kitesurfers), swimmers and sunbathers – in the internationally renowned surfing destination of Prevelly Bay. Although there are many breaks along Margaret River, this bay is at the heart of surfing; and with swells producing spins of up to 6m (20ft), this is without a doubt no place for beginners. Attracting big names from across the world to compete at the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro here, this is one of the very few places where surfers will wear helmets in Australia.

Treachery Beach, NSW

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Light House  beach at Seal Rocks. Seal Rocks is a small coastal settlement in the Mid-Coast Council local government area, in the Mid North Coast regi
© mark higgins / Alamy Stock Photo
Part of the New South Wales’ coastline that has miraculously remained undeveloped, the waves along Treachery Beach at Seal Rocks generate some of the best waves in the southerly swell. Whether you are a true ‘soul surfer’ or simply looking for the experience, this is a truly unique experience away from the hustle and bustle of civilisation.

Bells Beach, VIC

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Surfer, Bells Beach, VIC | Courtesy of Tourism Victoria © Mark Chew
Courtesy of Tourism Victoria / | © Mark Chew
Historically and spiritually the home of all Australian surfing, Bells Beach has held the country’s oldest and most prestigious event in the surfing world – today known as Rip Curl Pro – since 1962. Located near Torquay, Bells Beach is not only an iconic Victorian beach, but the powerful swells also offer outstanding surf rising up to and over 5m (16ft) against the red clay cliffs. Whether you go to surf or just to watch, a visit to Bells Beach is highly recommended.
These recommendations were updated on August 10, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.