Surfing Australia, in collaboration with Destination NSW, brings you the top surfing itineraries for your next NSW road trip. Plan your holiday now and hit the road with your mates or your family this Easter.
AVALON to FRESHWATER
Duration: 1 day
· Walk and Surf Long Reef Point
· Visit Newport Beach – a haven for surf, fishing and coastal photography
· Surf the legendary left handers of North Narrabeen Beach with Tom Carroll and Damien Hardman
Leaving Avalon’s magic golden sands behind, it is only a tiny, five-minute drive south and I find myself marvelling at the beauty and tranquillity of Newport Beach. This little stretch of heaven is rich in waves, fish and some of the best photogenic landscapes on the Northern Beaches. I stop in Newport for a coffee and quick feed at Cocoa Bar and continue south on my one-day strike mission to Freshwater.
My next stop is North Narrabeen, one of the meccas of Australia Surfing, having produced more than one world champion, . On the way, only fifteen minutes in the car from Newport, I have time to stop at Modus Brewery in Mona Vale to pick up a few of my favourite ales before arriving to see North Narra in all its glory
I am greeted by the sight of long spitting left barrels and the first person I see in the tube is none other than two-time World Champion Tom Carroll. I can’t get in the water quick enough it looks that good! I catch a handful of amazing waves, including one I am given by Damien Hardman, yet another Narrabeen World Champion! Three hours later I am surfed out and behind schedule
Not far from Narrabeen, I have a nice walk up the glorious Long Reef Headland in Collaroy to find the swell direction non-conducive to good waves, so Icontinue down the road to Freshwater. The trip is only 15 or 20 minutes, with a stop at Dee Why Point to find conditions again less than ideal for the northeast swell running. The Dee Why Rock Pool makes an epic backdrop when the point is firing if you ever get the chance to photograph it.
Looking much better than the surf at my previous stop, Freshwater Beach’s northern tip looks more than inviting as I hit the line-up with only a dozen or so others in the water. I score a good hour of fun overhead lefts on my mid-length twin-fin before retiring to my accommodation for a shower and cold beer. One day, two surfs, mission accomplished!
CRONULLA to WOLLONGONG
Duration: 2 days
· Tuck into the north corner of Garie Beach for some fun longboard waves
· Score perfect peaks at Stanwell Park
· Check out the Royal National Park
· Experience the Grand Pacific Drive
DAY 1: Cronulla to Stanwell Park
Before I start the journey to Stanwell Park and its epic beach breaks, I enjoy an afternoon of seriously thick barrels at Cronulla’s Shark Island.
I start the two-day journey early with some coffee in my system. Garie Beach is the first stop, about thirty minutes south via a lovely drive through the Royal National Park. The wind was blowing from the North when I arrive, so I decide to tuck into the northern corner that’s providing excellent clean long board left handers.
Two and a half hours later I am spent and in need of a feed and more caffein. Getting to Stanwell Park takes me on The Grand Pacific Drive and twenty-five minutes later I reach my coffee stop, Stanwell Park’s Bostin Brew Co.
Once checked in at Stanwell Park Beach Cottage I go in search of my afternoon surf location. To my surprise the northerly wind from earlier has swung west-northwest and I find some perfectly groomed A-frame peaks at Coalcliff beach just south of my accommodation. What a way to finish day one.
DAY 2: Stanwell Park to Wollongong
The two surfs per day has me hitting the pillow early and rising with the sun the next morning, and this morning I find a day of perfect blue skies ahead. I start with some bean at Loaf Café (it’s good!) before having my breath taken away on the next section of the Grand Pacific Drive, the Sea Cliff Bridge. I almost turn around to do it all again but decide the waves at Sandon Point can’t wait.
With the perfect blue-skies comes a perfect light westerly wind and the first set I lay eyes on at Sandon is two feet of perfection rolling down the right-hand rocky break. I’m out there! The wind turns onshore after an hour and a half, so I come in for breakfast at the Bulli Beach Café before heading to nearby Bulli Rockpool to cool off again.
There’s only thirty minutes to my destination of Wollongong, and I arrive for a late lunch at BAM Burgers and Wraps in Port Kembla Beach before checking out Lake Illawarra just behind the beach. The Port Kembla Lookout is a worthy attraction, looking out over Five Islands Nature Reserve out front and the vast stretch of sand of Perkins Beach to the south. After a huge day, I beat my own lights out record and get to bed at 8pm!
BONDI TO CAPE SOLANDER
Duration: Day Trip
· Watch a pulsing session at Cape Solander
· Dive ‘Shark Point’
· Surf Coogee Beach
· Visit Maroubra Beach
Having previously covered the Bondi to Cronulla stretch, I wanted to use the same starting point for this day trip, but rather than take the main roads around Botany Bay, stick to the coast and end the journey at one of Australia’s most notoriously scary waves. We all know about Bondi Beach, it’s wonderful, so I won’t go into all the detail. After leaving
Sydney’s most famous strip of sand I head south to Coogee Beach, which takes about fifteen minutes in morning traffic.
Now on any given day Coogee Beach can be flat, onshore, lots of fun or just plain old average. But on this day, there’s a big swell running, and I’ve got the chance to surf Coogee Bombie. The offshore rock shelf doesn’t work that often so when I get visuals on it at six to eight feet and clean, it had to be attempted at the very least.
The huge lefts break off the northern end of Coogee beach cliffs and once I am in position to paddle for a set wave if becomes apparent how tricky this place is. No wave is the same, so a judgement call has to be made and committed to. I made a bad wave choice and copped a big hold-down for my trouble. Forty-five minutes later I had called it and came in empty handed. That’s surfing.
One beach to the south of Coogee lies Maroubra Beach, the next stop on my day trip. Only a five-minute drive from Coogee, this stretch of sand is really the last significantly sized beach before you hit Botany Bay. There’s other sandy beaches, don’t get me wrong, Maroubra is just the biggest. When I arrive, it’s clean but maxing out with the big swell, but there is a nice smaller pocket at Malabar Headland National Park in the far southern corner. With four to five feet of swell making its way around the corner from the south creating groomed conditions, I can’t help having another crack. After scoring a couple of fun ones I come in to rehydrate and fuel up at South Maroubra Surf Life Saving Club before a stroll.
Malabar has one of the best walking tracks in all of Greater Sydney, so I set off on the six kilometre loop that takes me on a lovely, secluded walk with great views of Maroubra Beach and the national park.
With all this swell running, Sydney’s heaviest slab, Ours, located at Cape Solander on the southern entry to Botany Bay, had reportedly been building in size throughout the day. I had organised a mate to ferry me across the channel on a jetski for a close look at the beast of a wave.
We launch the jetski from Little Bay and in fifteen minutes we’re laying eyes on Ours. You can also get there by car via Cronulla. Whether you watch the waves being ridden from the rocks on the Cronulla side of Botany or look into the eye of the storm like I did on a jet ski from the channel, Ours is worth seeing. Some of Sydney’s and the world’s best big wave surfers are still getting spat out of huge barrels. The wave at that size is above my skill level so we decide to head back to the ramp and wrap up what was an awesome day trip!
NORTHERN BEACHES to CAVES BEACH
Duration: 3 days
· Big liquid walls at Avoca Point · Pumping beach break bliss at The Entrance
· A dusk session at Frazer Park Beach
· Sea caves at Caves Beach
I had two nights and three days to check out the Avalon to Caves Beach stretch of coast. I got off to an early start on day one, essential for any surfer. I left Avalon in the dark, and, after reading the forecast, arrived at Avoca Beach full of anticipation and I wasn’t disappointed – clean as a whistle and six feet plus! The feeling you get on waves that big and powerful is something else . I didn’t get the best waves of the morning, the likes of World Surf League Star Wade Carmichael were in the water, but the surf was of such quality it didn’t matter. I did so many runs back up the beach and out to the point I don’t know what hurt more, my arms from paddling or my legs from the sand running. Either way, I had earnt my breakfast, which came in the form of a big bacon and eggs plate and a good coffee at Like Minds, at Avoca Beach before I had the energy to continue north.
After cruising into The Entrance’s Shelly Beach and checking in to the Ocean Front Motel, I take the short drive up to Norah Head for a look at the magic lighthouse, and a dip at Soldiers Beach. Norah has one of the best rockpools for a swim, especially if you have young kids
Next, I decide to drive twenty minutes north and check out Frazer Park before the sun goes down. Secluded and somewhat protected from a moderate northerly wind, Frazer Park Beach proves worth the drive. There are perfect little waves and only two people across the entire beach surfing. I finish what had been an epic first day with a great hour of power in two feet, fun conditions before heading back to the motel. The Frazer Park Campground is a glorious option in summer or winter if you have a tent with you, sadly yours truly did not for this trip.
First thing the next morning I hit the road with the destination of Caves Beach dialled in on the GPS. Just 45 minutes north from my first night’s accommodation, it’s best to explore the aptly named Caves Beach caves at low tide, which just happened to coincide for my arrival of 8am. The first cave you come across at the southern end of the beach is probably the most impressive and spacious example of the entire system.
After my cave exploration I lay eyes on an excellent looking sand bank halfway up the beach towards the north, so I waxed up and got out there. As all surfers know, almost any beach on its day can produce good waves and this was the case at Caves. Pushy, clean overhead beach break conditions allowing for three or four manoeuvres. I finish the day in the perfect way at Mawson Restaurant and one of their epic pasta dishes.
The next day I had to be back in Manly by lunchtime, so I got up early and hit the bitumen with the objective of sneaking in a quick surf somewhere on route. Half an hour later I’ve pulled into Copacabana to find Macmasters Beach firing on all cylinders. A quick touch of wax, a squirt of sunscreen and I am into a couple of seriously fun shoulder-high runners right in the southern corner. Not quite a traditional point break, but close and more than enough fun.
An end of the journey takeaway brew and toasty comes from The Bees Knees Eatery in Copacabana. , and I head for Sydney feeling quite chuffed about my successful solo strike mission.