Six distinct regions—Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, West Australia, and Tasmania—make up the landscape of Australian surfing, and each region is characterized by its own specific variety of waves, making the world’s smallest continent one of its most diverse surf destinations. Water temperatures, weather conditions, and swell windows lend each coast its own distinct advantages, and the various locals are notoriously proud of their waves (not to mention their rugby teams), but when it comes to listing the 10 best waves in Oz, no one region is better represented than any of the others. While specific location and preferred style of surfing may influence your opinion, there are a number of waves scattered about the land down under that we can all agree are world class. Here is our list of the 10 best waves in Australia, broken down by region and style.
1) The Superbank, NSW: Created when the local government decided to start pumping sand out of the Tweed River, The Superbank stretches from Snapper Rocks through Rainbow Bay and Greenmount, and on a good day nearly all the way to Kirra—which means that it effectively connects four of the best sand-bottom points in Australia, if not the world. Ultra hyped, ultra crowded, and responsible for “killing” the legendary Kirra of old, The Superbank is a classic case of lover of hate—hate for those who can’t handle the competitive crowds, and love for those who luck into some of the longest waves in existence (upwards of two minutes when the bars are perfectly aligned).
2) Winkipop, Victoria: Bells Beach may host the longest running pro surfing contest in existence, but neighbor Winkipop is the true belle of the Victorian ball, with longer, hollower, more powerful waves peeling for upwards of 200+ meters. Located near to surf hub Torquay, Winkipop isn’t exactly empty—but cold winter water temps keep the crowds to a reasonable level, and the length of the wave makes cherry picking different sections of the wave a legitimate strategy.
3) Gnarloo, WA: Not everyone’s perfect wave, but if you like lefthand barrels, shallow reef, doubled-up slab sections and desolate desert, than Gnarloo fits the bill. One of Australia’s heaviest paddle waves, Gnarloo is for experienced barrel hounds and rugged desert-dwellers only—but if you fit that description, it just might be paradise.
4) Noosa Heads, Queensland: Set in the quaint township of Noosa, five world-class points wrap around a headland that appears to have been created specifically with surfers in mind. Tea Trees in particular is practically flawless, and considered by many to be the best noseriding wave in the world, while First Point hosts the annual Noosa Surf Festival.
5) Shipstern’s Bluff, Tasmania: The poster child for Australia’s heavy wave scene, Shipstern’s is an ungly, stepped-out freak of a righthand slab breaking in frigid water, and hours from the nearest hospital. Theoretically paddleable up to around the triple-overhead mark—although there are very few who are actually keen—this is primarily a tow wave, and frequently plays host to some of the gnarliest rides in surfing, bar none.