The 2137km of coastline that stretches around New South Wales, Australia, is one of the country’s most wave-rich. Stretching from Point Danger in the north to the Murray River in the south, the NSW coastline cops southerly swells most of the year. Southern Ocean storms form and flick westward beneath Tasmania creating something for surfers to get excited about as the swell makes its way up the Tasman Sea. And any Tasman Sea-borne storms send their east swell energy directly to the waiting point breaks, reefs, secret big wave spots and change-ya-undies slabs. From Byron to Sydney to the South Coast, there is something for everyone here.
This tiny beach is often considered to be a part of the Gold Coast, but it is actually the northernmost beach of NSW. The confusion is that it lies just around the corner, a mere 500m as the galah flies, from the infamous Snapper Rocks right on the border between NSW and Queensland. It’s a small 300m long beach, bordered on one side by the breakwall that guides the Tweed River out to sea, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in sheer punch. The rivermouth shoal focuses the wave energy directly into the beach and causes some incredibly grunty peaks up and down the beach. It’s like a paddling pool on steroids as the Gold Coast kids rip it to bits. It gets busy and it can handle some size, but even snagging one dredging wave out here will make the hair stand up on the back of your neck.
Few can resist the allure of The Pass at Byron Bay. A gentle rolling right hand, mostly sand-bottomed point, that attracts everyone from bikini girls to ripped musos to those trying their hand at surfing for the very first time. It’s an eclectic mix, but the laidback, hipster, Byron Bay vibe permeates the line-up. Occasionally there’ll be a snarly surfer who thinks they’re the next Matt Wilkinson or Kyuss King – both of whom are Byron Bay locals and pro surfers. But mostly The Pass is exactly what it should be: good times for young and old, ride what ya brung and do it all with a smile. Catching a wave at sunrise is the ultimate badge of honour here.
Cradled along the coast between Byron Bay and Ballina are the beautiful blue walls of Lennox Point. It’s no surprise to learn this world-class right hand point break is part of Australia’s treasured National Surfing Reserves. It’s a demanding wave best suited to experienced surfers, but always rewarding. On big days you can scope it out from the Pat Morton lookout on the headland. Also check out the nearby Flat Rock, Boulder Beach and Lennox Beach, which all offer great waves in the right conditions. If it’s dead flat, then climb nearby Mt Warning for an awesome view – as this is the volcano that first brought us Lennox Head many years ago.
Angourie was a well-kept secret until Manly hosted the World Titles in 1964 and word started spreading about a fabled right-hand point break near Yamba. That was all it took. A couple of resourceful pro surfers driven by that vision, and with cameramen in tow, soon blew Angourie wide open. It became NSW’s first National Surfing Reserve in 2007 and four-time World Surfing Champion Mark Richards described the point break as “…the best right hand point break in Australia and also one of the best in the world”. Protected from overdevelopment the coastline still retains some of that charm that the pros would have discovered back in 1964.