Experiencing the great outdoors is essential to waving goodbye to those lockdown blues, so crack out your sunnies, thongs and lashings of SPF because we’re headed to the beach – and not just any old sandy spot, but the best surfing beaches in Australia. If you’re looking to stretch your (sea) legs, soak up some sun and catch big waves, then we've got everyone from seasoned vets to complete rookies covered.
Bondi Beach, Sydney
Ask a room of rookies about beaches in New South Wales and chances are Bondi makes everyone's list. A bustling hub for groups of friends and families alike, it makes a great place for surfing lessons in Sydney. All that fun will really work up an appetite, but luckily you're just a hop, skip and a jump away from one of the city's most sought after restaurants. Check out Icebergs Dining Room and Bar for booze with a view of the beach, moreish snacks, a banging breakfast or Italian plates.
Bells Beach, Victoria
The waves on this stretch of coastline are a cut above the rest in Victoria. You can find Bells Beach perched along the Great Ocean Road, backed by craggy cliffs and rugged landscape, making it a perfect stop-off on the famous road trip. If you're continuing your journey on towards Melbourne, you'll want to grab burgers and beer at Easey's, where you'll be perched in graffitied train carriages that are five storeys up.
The Pass, Byron Bay
This dreamy destination is not only extremely easy on the eye, but produces world famous waves. The Pass is blessed by seemingly endless white sand and crystal clear crashing waves, making it one of the best surf spots on the east coast of Australia. Take a trip to Supernatural on Bay Lane when you finish up, so you can relax in this intimate watering hole with artisan cocktails, small plates and organic wine.
Innes National Park, South Australia
Making waves on the tip of Yorke Peninsula are West Cape and Pondalowie Bay, some of South Australia's best beaches for surfing. All others look like a drop in the ocean compared to these beauties; plus Innes National Park's bushwalking trails, shipwrecks and pristine waters are just begging to be explored while you're at it.
Manly Beach, Sydney
Manly has quite the reputation, even amongst the Northern Beaches of Sydney. As the host of the first Surfing World Championships back in the swingin' 60s, this is the perfect place to catch some of the biggest waves in Australia. Stoned Crow is one of North Sydney's best pubs to stop off at on the way home. It's the perfect place for meeting mates, with plenty of beers on tap, creative cocktails and a food menu focused on sharing.
Rottnest Island, Western Australia
A haven for wildlife and watersport enthusiasts alike, Rottnest Island offers some of the best surfing beaches in Australia alongside the chance to truly unwind. This nature lover's paradise is ideal for relaxation and adventure in equal measure. When you get back to Perth after your trip to the island, be sure to hit up Bob's Bar. The cool sky-high terrace has been voted Australia's best rooftop bar and showcases local breweries.
Scarborough Beach, Western Australia
If you want to surf by day and hit up the bar by night, look no further than nightlife hotspot Scarborough Beach. A popular place to surf in Perth, it promises good swell and waves that break close to shore. Plus the prospect of a stiff drink straight afterwards ain't too shabby either. If you're in the mood for food, head to Lulu La Delizia after your session in the sea for a drool-worthy traditional Italian washed down with a fair glug of wine.
Noosa Heads, Queensland
If you're a surfer then Noosa Heads is the Sunshine Coast's equivalent of a total heartthrob. Set amongst lakes, lush greenery and rolling waves, this chilled coastal town channels the very essence of the sport. There's plenty of other fun outdoorsy activities to enjoy at Noosa National Park too. You can snorkel in natural salt water pools, explore coastal forests and check out gorgeous viewpoints.
Another jewel in the Sydney surf crown, Cronulla means 'the place of pink seashells' and is especially beautiful at sunrise. But this seaside district isn't just a pretty face, as it's the only surfing beach in the city that can be easily reached by train. Stop off in Newtown on your way back to the city, where Vietnamese flavours fuse with contemporary Japanese food at Kaiza Izakaya.
Crescent Head, New South Wales
Ideal for a waterfront getaway on the Macleay Valley Coast, a rich surfing culture runs deep in the coastal town of Crescent Head. Relish in the laidback vibe of one of the best surf towns in Australia, where walking around barefoot is encouraged - and not just on the beach. There will be plenty of opportunity to unwind in cosy cafes or chic coastal boutiques too.
To discover more exciting days out, you can get the low down on 5 unusual things to see in Australia here.