Surfing Australia, Surf Travel Australia- Waterways Travel Images
Surfing Australia, Surf Travel Australia- Waterways Travel
Off the top of your head, it’s not too hard to name a dozen of the world’s most famous/infamous waves that are scattered around Australia, from Queensland to Victoria to Western Oz: Noosa, Burleigh Head, Superbank, Byron Bay, Lennox Head, Maroubra, Shark Island, Bells Beach, Cactus, Margaret River, The Box, Gnaraloo.
In that list are six right points, two XXX-gnarly reef breaks, a perfect peak, an urban beachbreak and two isolated reef break lefts in the back of beyond. From kelp to coral, beachies to bommies, tropical to frigid, Australia has every kind of surf you can imagine, and sometimes it’s all within the same couple of miles.
The Gold Coast of Queensland is renowned for its sand-bottomed right points, of which Superbank is the King Daddy. Moving south along the east coast and into New South Wales, there is over 500 miles of open coastline: mile after mile of empty beaches, occasionally hooked and headlanded by a loving God. Some of these nooks and crannies are world famous – Byron Bay, Angourie, Lennox Head – and some of these places you have never heard of Lagger’s Point, Grassy Head, Woolgoolga. Check this area out on a map and you’ll understand why Australians reckon theirs is the lucky country. And you’ll also understand why George Greenough, Bob Cooper and a lot of Americans moved here many years ago.
After 500 miles of coast that looks like the Hollister Ranch, you’ll reach the urban surfing experience that is Sydney. If you want crowds and a scene and people, this is the place. All surfers should see and experience renowned places like Dee Why and Shark Island and Maroubra and Newport. But if you wanted crowds and vibes, you would have stayed home, right?
Cronulla is the southernmost of the southern beaches of Sydney and after that is “down the coast,” another 400 miles of mostly empty, open coast to the Victoria/New South Wales border at Cape Howe. This coastline is more rugged than north of Sydney, but this area is renowned for consistent surf, secret spots and the odd, angry triple overhead bommie, roaring on a reef or the tip of an island in the back of beyond.
The Victoria coast continues facing southeast for another 250 miles or so and then Australia bends inland at the appropriately named South Point. The Indian Ocean officially begins at 145° E, which is right around Phillip Island and in line with the southernmost point of Tasmania.
Now the coast is looking south by southwest as it runs up to Port Phillip Bay, and the capital city of Melbourne. After Port Phillip Bay the coast now looks south by southeast again but at Torquay you’ll find one of the best right points in the world at Bell’s Beach – if that gives you any idea of the surf potential along here. From Torquay, the B100 – the Great Ocean Road - runs for 273 kilometers, around Cape Otway to Warrnambool. This is Australia’s version of the Big Sur Highway, where all that continent meets all that energy bubbling up from the Southern Ocean, creating the Twelve Apostles and other land/sea forms, some of which are pleasing to surfers.
The Great Ocean Road ends at Warrnambool but there is a maze of coastal roads up to the border of South Australia and beyond. All of this is within the Great Australian Bight and while the ocean here is officially the Indian Ocean, most Australians call it the Southern Ocean – which is geographically incorrect as the Southern Ocean border is at 60° S all around the globe.
From Victoria into South Australia there are a maze of roads leading to the coast up to Adelaide. After Adelaide the roads get less and less until there is only one = the infamous Eyre Highway – also known as the Nullarbor Highway – which runs for 1048 miles from Port Augusta just north of Adelaide to Norseman in Western Australia. This is Australia’s version of Baja. The highway touches the coast here and there and there are any number of beaches and coves that are accessible by roads that are more or less paved. Cactus is one of the named surf spots along here, a perfect left that is both famous and infamous in Australia. This stretch of coast is completely exposed to the Indian Ocean and the Southern Ocean beyond that and remains one of the greatest surf adventures by road left on the planet.
The Eyre Highway crosses into West Australia at Eucla, which is about 425 miles from Norseman. From there, surfers can turn south and take Highway 1 down to Esperance. Somewhere offshore of here is one of the heaviest waves in the world – aka Cyclops – if that gives you any idea of what surf is like in the Western Australian end of the Bight. From Esperance there are coastal roads out to Albany and up into Margaret River – which is just about the southwest tip of Australia and one of the most consistent surfing areas in the world.
If you’re feeling lonely by now you can go up to Perth for a dose of population density and civilization. And then after Perth, there is another 1500+ miles of almost empty coastline. Western Australia is drier and less populated than the east coast of the country, but there is as much or more surf along here, all that energy from the Southern Ocean and the Indian Ocean sweeping into countless coves, points, headlands, reefs, rivermouths and beaches.
That was 930 words, but it could have been 10,000 more, or just three. Because to sum it all up: Australia is holding!