6 Best Surf Spots in Australia



Australia may be known as the “Land Down Under”, and is a continent which is surrounded by water, but it’s not usually the first place that occurs to a lot of people when they think of going surfing.

australian outback

That said, this continents’ many arid plains are equally matched by some very impressive wide open beaches, brimming with exotic animals, unusual plants, and, of course, their extremely friendly residents.

friendly australians with giant fish

World travellers who visit Australia know that Aussies have a great reputation for being extremely hospitable people, which keeps travellers coming back…but the fact that they also have some of the best and most unique spots for surfing in the whole world is a less widely known fact.

surfing in australia

And that’s what we’re here to talk about today – Australias best beaches for surfing!  We’ve tallied up 6 of our favs.

Here’s a quick sneak preview of one of the beaches we’re going to talk about – Snapper Rocks!

We think that once you see these beautiful Australian beaches and get an eye-full of these surf destinations, you might even want to give surfing a try, even if you’ve never surfed before.

best surf spots in australiaEvery day, thousands of people go to Australia, paddle out for the first time, and end up getting addicted to surfing. 

So what beaches are we talking about here exactly? Let’s check ’em out!

6 Best Surf Spots in Australia

#1 – Snapper Rocks – Gold Coast, Queensland

This beach was named by W.L. Edwardian, who was the captain of HM Colonial Cutter Snapper that passed by Point Danger in July 1822 (read this fascinating Aussie historical pdf to hear the full story of this region’s discovery).  

snapper rocks australian surf spot

Back then, our good captain surely didn’t know that his little discovery would eventually turn out to be a surfer’s paradise nearly 200 years later.

Today, this place attracts surfers from all over the world, and is definitely a heavenly place, both as a surf spot, and just as a location on our planet to visit.

The water is different shades of blue and green, and the waves are crashing constantly, with an intensity that is rarely seen. 

You can truly let loose and give into your surfing passion. Surfing these cresting waves feels like writing a hydro-poem as your board carves its way through the turquoise waters.

gold cost snapper rocks surfing spot best australian

You can only imagine (if you haven’t been there) what sort of magic happens when the Tasman and Coral Seas join to make such glorious waves.  

Certain days, if you’re lucky, you can have multiple tube rides, and for a surf addict, that is one of the most desired experiences.

Don’t be surprised to see waves reaching a few meters in height. 

They go on and on from Snapper, through Rainbow Bay, to Greenmount, towards Kirra Point, which is as famous as Snapper Rocks, and is yet another Australian surf paradise.

Here, you will see hundreds of surfers… professionals, addicts, semi-pros, beginners, or just enthusiasts.

Very often this place is called “human soup”, and you can maybe imagine why.

The one thing that can make the surfing experience dangerous and not so fun is surfboard collisions – watch out for that. Make sure you are catching the waves from the main take-off zone.  

The power of some of these waves can easily send an inexperienced surfer heading towards the rocks, and you wouldn’t want to experience that.

#2 – Pambula Rivermouth – South Coast, New South Wales

Follow the road that goes down to Pambula, and once you get to Pamubla, follow the signs to Pambula Beach.  

From here you can walk around the rocks to the river mouth.  Pambula Rivermouth, as the name says, is a place where the Pambula River enters the sea.

This place is easy to find, and there is a little beach on the river that is pretty popular among families.  

But, this beach is not why you’d go there, unless you have people with you who don’t surf, and who’d be better off tanning or swimming in the shallow waters.

Pambula Rivermouth best surf spots in australia

Pambula Rivermouth is another ideal place for surfing and riding super large waves.  

Just see the pictures – huge waves, lots of surf boards, jet skis, kayaks, and many, many enthusiasts hungry for the best surf ever.

The locals adore this place, and often come over to let loose with their boards.  

It may seem easy and fun, but these waves are not exactly a ‘piece of cake’ to ride, and sometimes they can be a big challenge – even to some pros – but once you try them out, you’ll never want to get out of the water.

#3 – Winkipop – Surf Coast, Victoria

One point down from the Victorian point break of Bells Beach, you will find, as it often has been called, it’s little brother, Winkipop.  

This is another right hand point break; if you have a good day this is a world class surfing place.

winkipop australia surf spots

No wonder the popularity of this place continues to grow. It is perhaps one of the most popular surfing points, and it is packed during the weekends. 

Surfing during the early weekdays is perhaps a better idea, if you don’t want to wait on the coast for a little spot in the water where you’ll be able to get out there.

On smaller swells you can paddle straight out, but if it is larger, it is safer to paddle in off the beach.  

If you decide to go to Winkipop, you should know that this is the place where the world’s longest-running board-riding competition is held.

Winkipop is known as the place where huge waves are created in a magical way, and you better not miss that if you’re a surfer. 

Another thing that you should keep in mind is the “button” section.  It can be a real problem when paddling out on days when the waves are gigantic. 

If you are not careful, you may seriously injure yourself, or end up dead like Torquay surfer John Pawson, who lost his life in 1984.

#4 – Martha Lavinia Beach – King Island, Tasmania

Located about half an hour drive from Currie, King Island’s main town, this place will take your breath away with its beauty – long sandy beach, incredibly bluish-turquoise water, and the largest and most elegant waves you have ever seen.

The land itself is surrounded by protected nature reserves, about 495 acres of it, and over one kilometer of wide beach, that seems to shout ‘wow-I’m-in-paradise’.

Martha Lavinia got its name after an 1852 shipwreck. This is the place where some of Australia’s best beach-break waves are produced.

Wrapping around the northern tip of King Island in Bass Strait, the waves shape themselves in the ideal “A frame” peaks.

Ever since the 1990s, this place is one of the favorites among surfers’ elite.  

Some very famous names, such as the 11-time world champion Kelly Slater, are known to love and visit Martha Lavinia Beach.

#5 – Cactus – Great Australian Bight, South Australia

Located on the remote edge of the Nullarbor Plain, this bay is home to South Australia’s best surf breaks, and has attracted surfers since the early 1960s, when these magnificent waves were actually discovered.

Back then, the first surfers faced some serious dangers, and they were not caused only by the large waves.  

The heat, the extremely cold nights, the flies, mouse plagues and dangerously large sharks, were just some of the threats they faced.

But, fifty years later, Cactus, and its neighbouring breaks, Caves and Castles, are still one of the most beloved surfing locations in Australia.

Despite all the danger that comes from the wild sea, the big crashing waves, the sharks and what ever else lurks beneath those churning waves, surfers still come and fearlessly jump into those waters with little reservation.  

Their love of the waves is apparently larger than their fear of being eaten by sharks.

#6 – Rottnest Island – Western Australia

We took off from the mainland to an actual island with furry animals that may be completely weird and unknown to you, if you are not a native Aussie.

The amazing thing here is that cars are not allowed, so if you want to roam around the island you will have to take your bicycle.

rottnest island south australia

Besides authentic nature and animals, the waves are the other huge attraction.  

Here the waves explode onto a barely covered reef, and if you are a beginner it might scare you, but if you are an addict, you won’t’ be able to stop yourself from jumping right in.

Make sure to go to the famous Chicken Reef.  Offshore winds come from the north northeast, and the reef breaks left.

Here, it is very unlikely to be too crowded, even when the surf is up, perhaps because this reef is known to have lots of rocks and sharks.  

It is risky and dangerous, but isn’t that why you came here in the first place?

Surfers often go to Rottnest Island because the waves there are often two to three feet larger than those at Perth beaches.

When you get your guide to the Island’s surf breaks, make sure you have your bike if you actually want to see the island, and of course don’t forget your board.

Worth your time are also Strickland Bay, Salmon Bay and Stark Bay – all part of Rottnest Island.

These are fairly popular breaks for surfers, body-boarders, and stand-up paddle boarders.

Strickland Bay is so popular, that it made it to the top 50 breaks in the world.

So concludes our list of the best surf spots in Australia.  Did you agree?  Leave us a comment below!

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About the author: Patrick has the record of travelling the most out of everyone, visiting over 30 countries around the world in 15 years, and sleeping in the most tents with the least amount of blankets and cushions.  He can literally sleep anywhere! A few countries Patrick has lived in include India, Mexico, Tanzania, and Morocco, and currently he lives in Peru.

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