Where To Go Surfing in New South Wales

The Pass in Byron Bay is a renowned surf spot in New South Wales
The Pass in Byron Bay is a renowned surf spot in New South Wales | © Dallas Kilponen / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Georgie Young
5 August 2020

With some of the world’s best surf spots, it’s easy to see why catching a wave is so deeply embedded in Australian culture. From The Pass in Bryon Bay to Lennox Head, our local Aussie insider lists the best places to catch a wave in New South Wales.

The Pass, Byron Bay

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Byron Bay has gained almost mythical status among surfers all over the world thanks to its year-round warm waters and array of picturesque beaches. World-class waves can be found at The Pass, a stretch of beach between the sandy shores at Clarkes Beach and Wategos. Then, become immersed in surf culture at the Bay’s slew of laid-back bars, restaurants and music venues. Recommended by local insider Angharad Jones

Sawtell Island

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Waves rolling in towards rocks, Sawtell Beach, Australia
© Di Mac / Alamy Stock Photo
Mid-way between Sydney and Brisbane, this scenic spot is known for its flat shores and point-style waves. Sawtell Island itself is a small rocky crag that lies about 100m (330ft) from the headland, where you’ll find some of the best waves in the area. If your surf experience is lacking, book in for a lesson with the experts at Sawtell Surf School, or you can simply buy some fish and chips from Sea Salt restaurant and take notes from the professionals. Recommended by local insider Angharad Jones

Lighthouse Beach, Port Macquarie

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Lighthouse Beach, Port Macquarie, New South Wales, Australia
© Ian Dagnall / Alamy Stock Photo
There’s certainly no shortage of surfing spots at Lighthouse Beach. Nine km (5.6mi) of steely waves that are constantly sprinkled with surfers throughout the day. Currents are strong and the waves tall, so it’s best to leave the surfing to the more advanced athletes rather than attempting as a beginner. Finish your day by climbing up to the famous lighthouse at Tacking Point to drink in the views of the bay over a glass of wine or two. Recommended by local insider Angharad Jones

Lennox Head

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Only three sites in Australia have been declared National Surfing Reserves. You can find one of them at Lennox Head in northern NSW. The right-hand point break here is one of Australia’s most famous waves and, as such, is often packed with the country’s best surfers. Get here early to avoid the crowds but make sure to join them later in the busy local bar Shorty’s for seafood tapas and a cocktail (try the South Swell Sour). Recommended by local insider Susanna Smith


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Merewether Beach - Newcastle - Australia
© Robert Porter / Alamy Stock Photo
The Hunter Valley region may be known for its wines, but its surf scene is also one of the world’s finest. Merewether (a suburb of Newcastle) is the home of Merewether Surfboard Club, Australia’s most successful boardriders club, with the world titles to prove it. The beach is fit for champions having beaten the likes of Bondi and Surfer’s Paradise to be named Australia’s best beach in 2018. On big wave days, you’ll find crowds of people pinning the edge of the shore to watch the world’s best surfers slicing through the spray. Recommended by local insider Susanna Smith


Accessible (Wheelchair), Family Friendly
These recommendations were updated on August 5, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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