With 50,000km of sparkling coastline lapped by three separate oceans, naming the best 7 surf spots in this wide brown land is a bit like naming the best 7 mountains in Nepal or the best 7 ice floes in Antarctica – there’s a lot of competition.
So is this a definitive list? Hardly.
Is this a little teaser that will generate more than a few ideas for your upcoming summer holiday? Most definitely.
1\ Bells Beach, Victoria
It’s somewhat surprising that the historical and spiritual home of Australian surfing is a small rind of sand fringed by empty cliffs and untouched bushland. But head to Bells when a big southerly swell is sucking up over the reef, kicking up sphincter-tightening five-metre waves, and you’ll be left in no doubt why this classic Victorian surf spot – situated 100km from Melbourne – remains the holy temple of Australian board riding.
2\ Seal Rocks, NSW
It’s a miracle that this gorgeous stretch of the NSW mid-north coast has evaded the claws of the developers. Head to the south-facing Lighthouse and Treachery Beaches and there’s not a high-rise to be seen. But get there when a powerful south swell rolls in and you’ll quickly realise how Treachery Beach earned its name. If that sounds a tad intimidating, you can always head north to the gentler beach breaks at Bluey’s and Boomerang Beaches.
3\ Margaret River, WA
Yep, the cab-sauv is good. But the waves are even better. This stunning region – a three-hour drive south of Perth – boasts some of the best vineyards in Australia, some of the best coastal bushwalks in Australia and some of the best breaks in Australia. If you want to get serious, head to Prevelly Park, where six-metre swells empty out onto a treacherous offshore reef. One of the few spots in Australia where you can wear a helmet without being called soft…
4\ Snapper Rocks, Queensland
Not as cleverly named as Surfer’s Paradise, but this small, rocky outcrop at the southern tip of the Gold Coast forms part of the legendary “Superbank” – a sand-bottomed point break that can, when the swells are just so, deliver a 2km joyride all the way the Kirra. Little wonder it’s produced a string of World Champs, including Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson and Steph Gilmore.
5\ South Cape Bay, Tasmania
Hate a crowded wave? Well, Australia’s southern-most surf beach could be for you. Sitting at the convergence of Tasmania’s west and east coasts, South Cape Bay is fantastically remote. To get here, you’ll have to drive two hours south of Hobart, then trek for 8km through World Heritage-listed forest. If you see any other surfers on the trail, they’ll likely be lugging two or more boards. Why? When a big southerly swell rolls in, these ferocious waves can easily snap a board in half.
6\ Byron Bay, NSW
Forget Kombi vans, tie-dye pants and ominous clouds of smoke – a surfboard is all you need to have a mind-blowing time in Byron. Start at The Pass, at the very northern end of the Bay, for a classic, peeling right-hand point break. Too crowded? No worries. Clamber up to the surfer’s lookout where you’ll have a birds-eye view of the entire Bay. Pick your spot and off you go.
THE PRO CHOICE
MH caught up with Oakley Athlete and Aussie pro Julian Wilson, to find out his top surf spot and the one item he would never leave the house without.
If you could choose your favourite surf break where would it be and why?
My favourite place in the world to surf is Noosa, but be warned, I’m not the only one! It doesn’t get good very often and therefore when it's good, it’s crowded. I learned to surf there, my brothers learned to surf there and my parents have been surfing there since the 60’s so there is no place like it for me.
What is the one thing you could never leave the house without?
My Oakley Prizm Latch sunglasses because they make the world look better especially when I’m travelling to beautiful locations.