Australia is synonymous with surfing. It’s difficult to think of Australia without imagining bronzed, healthy locals hitting the waves, and for decades the surf has defined it as a nation. In many coastal communities the beach is both a playground and a spirituality; it drives social activities, sports and cultural identity.
Visitors to Australia are usually eager to join in with this wave-worshipping, as well as the after-surf bars and restaurants that go along with the image. If you’re thinking of trying your hand at taming some waves while you’re in Australia, we’ve got three of the best surf communities for you to visit. Radical, dude!
Byron Bay is a surfing hub, and an area that’s cultivated an incredibly laid-back, creative and hippy vibe. In short, surfing is a religion here, not just a pastime. The breathtaking beaches in and around Byron Bay provide great waves, as well as frequent dolphin visitors who’ll surf right alongside you if you give them half a chance! Byron is not only popular with local surfers, but attracts amateurs and professionals from all over the country and the world. The ubiquitous VW Combi vans that litter the beach car-parks and the impossibly-tanned, dreadlocked surfers that make it look effortless as they fly over and under the waves give Byron Bay an almost movie-like quality—but once you get knocked off your board for the first time, you’ll come back to reality pretty quickly!
Another brilliant surf spot in Australia is the Sunshine Coasts, a collection of sleepy towns and coastal communities about an hour’s drive north of Brisbane. Maroochydore, Noosa and Coloundra are all surfing hotspots, and to make things even more appealing, they boast some of the most pristine water and endless stretches of sand you’re ever likely to come across. The Sunshine Coast has produced more than its fair share of champion surfers, and from a young age local kids learn how to navigate the waves and the water, ducking and weaving through monster tides as though they were lighter than air. With a range of surf-camps on offer where even complete surfing novices can learn to get up, the Sunshine Coast offers a truly exciting surfing experience.
The ocean truly gives this town its spirit, and fishing, swimming, surfing and snorkeling make up the majority of local pastimes. This isn’t surprising, considering that for a fairly small town, Port Macquarie has no fewer than eight local beaches, one of which stretches on (and on, and on) for 16 kilometres! Kids in Port Macquarie grow up in the water, so expect locals to be well-versed in tide predictions—but with an incredibly friendly vibe, chatting about the day’s surf with some new-found friends at the pub will be exactly how you want to spend your evenings. Port Macquarie accommodation is usually very well-priced as well, so you don’t have to break the bank to get there.