New South Wales’ stunning north coast offers world class surfing and beach swimming, paddle boarding, kiteboarding, or just great lying around in the sun. A surfing holiday here is a bucket list activity. The NSW coastline has some of the best surf breaks on the planet, along with the longest rides in Australia. If you’re new to boarding, fear not: NSW has plenty of surf schools and easy rides too.
Before you head out, it’s wise to check the conditions. Visit beachsafe.org.au to find patrolled beaches and weather updates.
Where to surf
A good starting point on the north coast is the Crowdy Head area. This area sits on a long stretch of unspoilt beach and it encompasses the North Beach and South Beach. They are both beautiful beaches and quite different. The North Beach is a well protected beach that’s excellent for families. The Surf Lifesaving Club here overlooks the beach with ongoing patrols all through the summer months. There is a kiosk with cold outdoor shower and toilet facilities. There’s a picnic area with barbecues and picnic tables, and four wheel drive beach access is available near the Surf Lifesaving Club. In other words, it’s a comfortable place to spend the day while others are surfing, and it’s a good place to learn—the breakers aren’t too intense.
The South Beach is a quieter beach area, very good for calm walks, and when conditions are right it’s a fine place for boarding. Visit nearby Crowdy Head Lighthouse for panoramic views of the coastline and the hinterland which includes the Three Brother Mountains (north, middle and south). There is four wheel drive access south of Crowdy Head. For more information on these beaches, visit this website.
Some other fine boarding spots: Angourie Beach and Yamba, which have 13 surf beaches altogether—something for every level. In 2007, Angourie Beach was named the second National Surfing Reserve in Australia.
There’s also Crescent Head, north of Port Macquarie; here you’ll find 25 km of coastline, all good for beginning boarders.
Surfing near Ballina
In Ballina, try Lennox Head Beach for surfing. Nine Mile Beach is a main part of Lennox Head Beach; the East Coast off the headland is where most surfers paddle out. There’s a right-hander (curl of the wave) when the swell is running. Families with small children can learn to surf on easy waves at the southern end of the beach—there’s a reef that breaks up waves a few hundred metres off the beach. Whales and dolphins swim these waters too. A surf club patrols the northern end of the beach, and there is a beach shower and town access at Rutherford Street. The Lennox Head Village is part of the beach—visit its restaurants, cafes, bakery and ice creamery.
Lighthouse Beach is another favourite beach of Ballina, especially among surfboard riders. Besides excellent waves and a clean, wide, stretch of sand, Lighthouse Beach has public toilets, limited parking, and showers. Located on Lighthouse Parade, it’s an easy walk from town. The main beach is patrolled by lifeguards, and here also you can watch dolphins ride the swell. Experienced surfers, use care: this area is known for shark attacks.
Learning to surf
There are many options for learning to surf on the north coast of NSW. Surf Camp Australia has been operating since 1999. This company hosts surf camp classes with highly experienced and fully qualified instructors; surfing equipment using Rip Curl surfboards and wetsuits; beachside surf camp accommodation (you can upgrade to private accommodation available on request); buffet style meals (vegetarians and others are catered for); free photos and videos; and souvenir Surf Camp t-shirt and trucker hat, plus Rip Curl Voucher. Surf Camp Australia offers packages for individuals or groups on the south coast at Gerroa, or in Byron Bay. Check out their comprehensive website with all the details of their surf camps.
The Saltwater Surf School specialises in education so new surfers will head out with solid instruction and surf under supervision. This school provides equipment for beginners, including safe soft boards and wetsuits. Saltwater Surf School offers group lessons for beginners, intermediate coaching, and even advanced coaching for competition surfers. The school is located at 381 Saltwater Road in Old Bar, NSW 2430.
Byron Bay Private Surf School is another way you can learn to surf in NSW. This is a smaller scale school; lessons are for one to two people or families. They transport you to the best beach for the day, based on conditions, and provide all necessary equipment. The surf instructor gives you a private lesson in the water, which includes a beach lesson and stretching time. By the end of the lesson, you’ll probably be able to stand on your board. The crew is friendly and laid-back.
Soul Surf School is a Surfing Australia approved surf school based in Byron Bay (14 Bay St is the site of their beach hire/surf shop). Soul Surf School offers programs to for beginners, intermediate and advanced surfers of any age—5 years old is the minimum. This school teaches both private and group lessons in Byron Bay, Lennox Head, Ballina & Tweed Heads shires. They’re dedicated to finding the best and safest waves daily, and their whole team is made up of devoted surfers.
There’s also the Stoked Surf School in Byron Bay. The guides are friendly and knowledgable here, and guarantee that you’ll stand up on the board during the half-day lesson. Group sizes are limited and you’ll spend a long time in the water.
Want to experience a luxury beach holiday?
Ocean Blue holiday rental is only a 5-minute walk from the beach and has gorgeous river and coastal views. Located just a short drive from Ballina Airport and 30 minutes from Byron Bay, this is the perfect location for your next beach holiday. Visit our contact page to make an inquiry or booking.