Australia is a magnet for surfers, and Victoria makes no exception. The seductive beaches and waves within a stone throw’s away from Vic’s vibrant capital of Melbourne are a gold mine for adrenaline junkies, and we’re here to show you where to start your surfing adventure in Vic.
Strategically located in southeast Australia, Victoria has 2,512 km (1,560 miles) of lush coastline for watersports lovers to have fun on. While Melbourne, the capital of the state, may not be the best place to indulge in some foamy, barreling waves due to its location in Port Phillip Bay, there are plenty of surfing beaches within a short distance from the state’s capital. Check out Victoria’s best surfing spots to hang ten.
The Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road, Victoria
A scenic road no less than 243 kilometers (151 miles) long takes drivers along Australia’s stunning south-eastern coast, between the cities of Torquay and Allansford in Victoria. The Great Ocean Road passes by numerous nature attractions like the famous Twelve Apostles and foamy waterfalls, as well as some of the country’s best surfing spots.
Torquay Beach - Photo by Bernard Spragg. NZ
The birthplace of iconic surfing brands Quicksilver and Rip Curl, Torquay is a coastal town 100 km (62 miles) from Melbourne, located at the northern end of the scenic Great Ocean Road. Due to its proximity to a shoreline dotted with reef and beach breaks suitable for advanced surfers as well as beginners, Torquay is considered the surfing capital of Australia.
2. Bells Beach
Surfing Bells Beach, Torquay - Photo by surfglassy
For those of you with a taste for adrenaline, Bells Beach is the place to start. This is the venue of the annual the Rip Curl Pro Surfing Competition, a sought after title in the World Championship Tour (WCT) and the oldest surfing contest in Australia. There are two world-famous breaks at Bells Beach: The Bowl and Rincon. These two right-handers put on their best performance during autumn and winter months, and prime time is when there’s a south swell and northwest winds are up.
Surfing Winkipop, Torquay - Photo by cafuego
Just south of Bells Beach lies another one of Australia’s surfing icons – Winkipop. Many claim the surf here is actually superior to its bigger brother, Bells Beach, but what is sure is that Winkipop is one of the best right hand breaks in the world. This gnarly reef break with a rocky bottom is for experienced surfers only.
4. Jan Juc
Sunset at Jan Juc, Torquay - Photo by Alex Proimos
An A-frame beach break that’s suitable for all surfers, Jan Juc is the place to go when other spots along the Great Ocean Road are not performing. This small coastal town near Torquay offers consistent surf almost all year and for all levels.
5. Fairhaven, Great Ocean Road
Fairhaven Beach, Victoria - Photo by Ant Le Breton
A 6-kilometer (4-mile) stretch of sand, Fairhaven is the longest beach on the Great Ocean Road. The A-frame beach break here produces consistent waves with an average height of 1.5 meters (5 feet). Please take note that when the big swells hit the coast, Fairhaven is not for the faint-hearted.
6. Lorne Point
Surfing Lorne Point, Victoria
Near the sleepy village of Anglesea, Lorne is a less touristy surf spot that’s excellent for the whole family, as it offers top-notch swimming and snorkeling too. The right hand point break here is great for beginners and advanced surfers alike. Other famous breaks nearby are Cathedral Rock, Vera Lynn and Cumberland River. Also here, Point Grey is recommended for windsurfers.
7. Johanna Beach
Johanna Beach, Victoria - Photo by Stephen Barber
Many claim that Victoria’s best surfing beaches can be found in the wilderness of the Great Ocean Road. On Victoria’s Far West Coast lies a sensational surfing spot with plenty of campsites on the beach that allow surfers to hit the waves as they exit their tent door. Beyond Lorne, near Cape Otway, Johanna Beach is 35 km (22 miles) west of Apollo Bay. The world-class left and right hand reef and point breaks here offer plenty of barrels and peaks, and waves can get as high as 5 meters (16 feet).
8. Gibson Steps
Gibson Steps, Victoria - Photo by Lauri Väin
Next to the Twelve Apostles, Gibson Steps provides access to a beach enclosed by sheer limestone cliffs that is said to be the most beautiful surf location in Victoria. This rarely crowded surf spot offers spectacular views and both right and left hand breaks. The long and powerful beach and reef breaks here can travel up to 300 meters (1,000 feet), and are best when northerly or northeasterly winds are up. A favorite among the locals, Gibson Steps has no lifeguards patrolling the area. Therefore, the spot is recommended for experienced surfers.
9. Black Nose Point, Portland
Surfing Black Nose Point, Victoria
The cliffs surrounding the beach at Black Nose Point tend to intimidate swimmers and scuba divers. This means that swimmers can have these waves all to themselves. There is a low beach break here that can be surfed at low tide, but Black Nose Point is famous for the long right hand break that forms over the reefs. To the south end of the beach, another spectacular right hand point break awaits surfers, called Rifle Range.
Mornington Peninsula, Victoria - Photo by geralditellys
When it comes to surfing in Victoria, the Great Ocean Road draws most of the attention. But traveling surfers should give the southeast of Melbourne a try and explore the spectacular beaches that the Mornington Peninsula has to offer. There are plenty of beginner-friendly spots here, but also a few fierce waves and strong rips on the ocean side of the peninsula. You can also try SUP on the gentle waters of Port Phillip Bay.
10. Gunnamatta Beach
Surfing Gunnamatta Beach, Victoria - Photo by José
On the Mornington Peninsula’s ocean side, waves can get fierce. The right and left beach breaks here are considered to be the best on the peninsula, but when big swells kick in, these are recommended for experienced surfers.
11. Portsea Beach
Portsea Beach, Victoria - Photo by Ippei & Janine Naoi
Part of the Mornington Peninsula National Park, Portsea is a popular ocean beach that can get pretty crowded thanks to its consistent swell and quality beach breaks. The waves here can be treacherous during big swells and strong offshore winds.
12. Point Leo
Point Leo, Mornington Peninsula - Photo by John Carney
A wide beach with gentle swells, Point Leo is the place to go if you’re a beginner surfer. It offers good shelter from big swells and offshore winds during winter months, but it can still get some nice 3 to 4 meters (10-13 feet) tall left hand waves. During summer, waves here can be quite small.
13. Phillip Island
Surf Smiths Beach, Phillip Island - Photo credit downsouthsurfsafaris.com
Considered one of Australia’s most consistent and varied surfing destinations, Phillip Island National Surfing Reserve receives quality waves all year round. Phillip Island is renowned for its penguin parade by the sea, and also for its world-class surf spots here that you absolutely need to check out:
- Cape Woolamai
- Smiths Beach
- Summerland (more accessible to beginner surfers, with wide beach breaks)
- Cat Bay
Are you planning on heading to Australia for some fun in the sun? Why not try a little bit of surfing in Victoria while you’re at it? Now you know where to start!