North Coast surf beaches


North Coast iconic beaches

There are some NSW beaches along the North Coast that stand out as having iconic status. Byron Bay, Ballina, Lennox Head and Yamba-Angourie in northern NSW are a few where the 1960s surfing counter-culture took hold, and where it's lived and breathed ever since.

  • Nambucca Heads, North Coast
  • Surfest, Newcastle 2014

Best North Coast beaches

The NSW North Coast is famous for its quality beaches and iconic Aussie surf culture. Experienced surfers cut it up amongst novices looking to improve their skills at one of the area’s many surf schools.

The North Coast is home to half a dozen legendary point-breaks, most notably at the pristine, National Surfing Reserve sites of Merewether Beach, Crescent Head, Lennox Head and Angourie Beach.

Highlights of a surfing holiday here include a visit to Byron Bay to experience a taste of its famous beach culture and top surfing conditions. There’s also the iconic waves at Lennox Head, which are consistently ranked amongst the country’s best. Beaches from Lennox to Ballina are known as the ‘Magic Miles’, while the coast between Newcastle’s Merewether and Bar beaches offer a consistent variety of waves to suit all abilities.

Sawtell, Coffs Coast

The North Coast boasts more accessible surf beaches than any other stretch of coast in Australia, making it the perfect place for surf lessons. Visitors looking to develop their skills will find a range of accredited surf schools in Newcastle, Sawtell, Coffs Harbour, Scotts Head, Ballina and along the quieter beaches at Byron Bay.

Intrepid surfers will enjoy the spectacular 43km stretch of coast between Seal Rocks and Forster. Nearby Boomerang Beach and Bluey’s Beach at Pacific Palms are worth a detour from this area.

Holidaymakers looking for a complete deal will find easy access to surf, good accommodation and plenty of great cafes and restaurants in major beach towns like Newcastle, Port Macquarie, Byron Bay and Coffs Harbour.

Enjoy NSW beaches by following these safety tips

Surf Life Saving

Always swim between the red and yellow flag; 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 beaches by visiting