From the western waves to the southern shores
With 50,000km of coastline, it can be hard to know where to start on your surfing trip to Australia. Swells from the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean splash the shore year-round, attracting visitors from across the globe. So there’s no wonder the coast is also home to some of the best luxury hotels in Australia. From dense bushland and unspoiled beaches, to glitzy stretches of sugar-white sand. No matter where you are, you’ll never be far from a superb surf spot.
WAY OUT WEST
Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner on the barrels, the west coast of Australia is home to some of the best surf breaks on earth. Start off in Perth, the laid-back city with a cosmopolitan sheen and year-round sunshine. For the ‘gnarliest’ waves, make for Trigg, where the rocky coastline creates a powerful surf.
Few of us think to pack a surfboard, so why not save space and rent one while you’re there? Surfing WA is our top choice for board hire and lessons.
COTTESLOE BEACH, PERTH
For a calmer, more consistent swell, head over to Perth’s Cottesloe Beach. Its glassy waters and Indian Ocean sunsets make it a darling of Western Australia – and it’s sure to take up plenty of space on your camera.
If you’re not a surfer (or just need a break from the board), Cottesloe’s rocks and reefs are ideal snorkelling spots, too. And every autumn, the beach transforms into an open-air art gallery for three weeks as part of Sculpture by the Sea, with works scattered across the glistening white sands.
SURFER’S POINT, WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Just three hours south of Perth is Margaret River – a small coastal town renowned for its food, wine and waves. What was once an unknown outback area, is now a hub for watersports – and some say this is down to Surfers Point. Here, the waves are consistent and easy to access, with a great lookout area. Tiered grassy banks and steps down to the beach means it’s perfectly set up for surfers and spectators alike.
Though the waves can get rough at Surfer’s point, there’s a spot nearby where you can learn the basics before plunging in. Josh Palmateer’s Surf Academy offers lessons to people of all ages and abilities. And if you’re all surfed out, they’ve also got canoes, kayaks, body and paddle boards available to hire.
Every year, competitors take to the sea for Margaret River Pro – a local competition for international surfers. So put down the board and watch the experts for some serious surfspiration.
CABARITA BEACH, NEW SOUTH WALES
For a beach break that harks back to surfing’s 1950s heyday, come to sleepy Cabarita. Surrounded by the protected wetlands of the Tweed Heads area, this unspoiled beach town is a surfer’s paradise. Sitting just south of its famous neighbour, the Gold Coast, clean, consistent waves roll onto Cabarita’s quiet sands – making it the quintessential Aussie surf spot.
WAITPINGA BEACH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA
The Fleurieu Peninsula is just 45 minutes from Adelaide, yet remains one of Australia’s best-kept secrets. It has a diverse coastline, from rugged cliffs and secret beaches to spots bustling with adventure-seeking surfers. More experienced board riders should walk to Waitpinga Beach. Here, powerful waves are pulled in from the Southern Ocean, while rips and gullies run the length of the beach.
Although the currents mean it’s not recommended for swimming, Waitpinga is also a popular fishing spot. You could spend the day getting back to nature – catching your own dinner and cooking it on a beach barbecue. Or simply enjoy the wild views with a sunset walk before venturing back to your boutique hotel.
WHERE TO STAY
For a pit-stop in Perth, stay at COMO the Treasury – a 19th century state building turned boutique retreat. Halcyon House is your home away from home in Carbarita. Or stay in Margaret River in picturesque Smiths Beach Resort. For a regal retreat just 20 minutes from Adelaide city centre, check in at Thorngrove Manor Hotel, a gothic dream with towers, turrets and castle chambers.