North or south, you’ll discover some of the best surf beaches in the world along the spectacular NSW coastline. You can even fly from Sydney to Lord Howe Island, a World Heritage area off the NSW North Coast, and relax on soft white sands and snorkel or dive among colourful fish on coral reefs.
If you want to learn to surf, there are plenty of accredited surf schools on the north and south coasts. Join a surf safari on a tour from Sydney and meet new friends. For another memorable experience, take a road trip on the Grand Pacific Drive or the Legendary Pacific Coast to great beaches.
World-class surf and beaches in NSW
From some of best surf in the world to the idyllic beaches of the World Heritage-listed Lord Howe Island, NSW’s coast is truly something special. The mainland coastline stretches more than 2,000 km and features hundreds of beaches, including the world-famous Bondi Beach and Manly Beach, where the first world surfing championships were held in 1964.
Some of the best surf beaches are on the South Coast, the North Coast and the Central Coast; you’ll even find delightful beaches in Sydney Harbour, one of the finest natural harbours in the world. With so much choice, you're bound to find the right beach for a surfing weekend, a surfing road trip or a fun-packed holiday with the kids. World-famous surf breaks attract keen surfers from around the globe, but there are also plenty of beaches where you can learn to surf with an accredited surf school.
A register of the best Australian surfing beaches is kept by the National Surfing Reserves and the following NSW beaches are on the list:
One of the best ways to get to the beaches on the NSW South Coast is to take the Grand Pacific Drive, a 138 km touring route south of Sydney that travels over the Sea Cliff Bridge, a marvel of engineering, and along the coast past the gorgeous beaches of Wollongong to The Farm and Mystics Beach at Shellharbour (the South Coast's only National Surfing Reserve). Venture farther south for more splendid beaches including some of the whitest sands in the world at Hyams Beach in Jervis Bay, a haven for dolphins and seals.
Just over an hour’s drive north of Sydney, the beaches of the Central Coast offer seaside holidays at their laid-back best, from the surf beaches of Terrigal and Norah Head, to the relaxed 2 km stretch of Avoca Beach. Further north is the Legendary Pacific Coast, a gorgeous touring route through national parks, verdant hinterlands and along splendid coast to great surfing spots such as Merewether, Crescent Head and Lennox Head.
Experience the exceptional surf culture of the NSW North Coast and ride the waves at Lennox Head. Admire the natural surroundings of Tallow Beach which is a scenic bridge between Cape Byron State Conservation Area and the Broken Head Nature Reserve. Enjoy excellent snorkeling and diving off beaches within the Solitary Islands Marine Park in Coffs Harbour.
Check out the waves on the NSW South Coast at National Surfing Reserve beaches such as The Farm and Mystics within Killalea State Park. Explore one of the many rock pools scattered along Wollongong's coastline, including those at Austinmer Beach. Discover some of Jervis Bay's most beautiful beaches on the easy hour-long White Sands Walk.
The Central Coast is home to a number of popular swimming spots such as Avoca Beach and The Entrance Beach. Spend the day swimming, surfing or fishing in the pristine waters of the Central Coast. Take time out to walk, laze and play on golden sands, or hire a boat or kayak and explore at your own pace, or feed the pelicans at The Entrance waterfront.
Enjoy Sydney's beaches like a local by following these simple beach safety tips
Always swim between the red and yellow flags; surf lifesavers have identified this area as the safest spot to swim in the water. It's also a good idea to always swim with a friend.
Pay attention to the advice of the lifesavers and safety signs. Visit SharkSmart to understand any potential risks in the area you are swimming. You are always welcome to ask lifeguards for more safety advice. If you find yourself needing help in the water, stay calm and attract attention.
Check conditions before you go. You can also find patrolled beach by visiting beachsafe.org.au.