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Sydney’s most spectacular surf spots

For surfers chasing that one perfect wave, the beaches of Sydney are ‘the place to be’. The city boasts dozens of beaches that embody Australia’s laid-back surf culture. If you would like to avoid the crowds at Bondi Beach and Manly Beach, there are plenty of other options to choose from.

Sydney’s beaches offer waves of every type and size. Try surfing the barrels; these are waves where the top moves faster than the bottom, creating a beautiful tunnel. For an exciting and varied surf experience visit some of these lesser known top beach destinations.

Whale Beach

Famous Whale Beach Wedge

Whale Beach is near one of Sydney’s most affluent neighbourhoods. The beach is framed on both sides by large rock formations. Local surfers like to come here for the infamous Whale Beach Wedge on the north side of the beach: the wave breaks on the rocks and holds up well, even if it is a short one. Whale Beach owes its name to the whales that can be spotted from the cliffs during their migration (June-July and September-November).

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Whale Beach, New South Wales, Australia

Curling waves

Curling waves at Curl Curl Beach

If none of the beaches offer the kind of surf conditions you are looking for, then head to Curl Curl Beach; this is where you will find the best waves of the northern beaches. The beach lives up to its name: the waves curl as they roll in because of the sandbanks along the shore, creating metres high waves. The 2 saltwater pools at Curl Curl are very safe for swimming and surfers can catch their breath after paddling in the heavy current. Did all the action make you hungry? The local surf club is said to serve the best egg and bacon sandwiches in town.

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Curl Curl Beach, New South Wales, Australia

Surfer along the shore

The surf conditions at Long Reef Beach

Long Reef Beach, an extension of Dee Why Beach, lies along Sydney’s northern beaches. A western wind and a southern 'swell' (gentle rolling waves created by the wind on open water) provide fairly consistent surf conditions. The waves are highest in the middle and at the south end of the Beach Strip. Because of the frequent strong winds, the beach is also popular with kite surfers and hang gliders.

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Long Reef Beach, New South Wales, Australia

Shark Island

Shark Island: only for daredevils

Real daredevils head to the ultimate surfing spot at Shark Island. The reef is composed of sharp stones and the ocean is only 2 metres deep. The waves are fantastic, but those who miscalculate their take-off may end up with some nasty scrapes and scratches. It seems redundant to say that these waves are only for very experienced surfers and require some practice. It may be reassuring to know that Shark Island got its name from the shape of the island – not because the waters are teeming with sharks.

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Shark Island, New South Wales, Australia

Newport Beach

The options of Newport Beach

Surfers have 2 options at Newport Beach. On the northern side the waves break on the beach, offering beautiful long waves and a laid-back surf experience. The south side requires a bit more effort: here the waves break on a reef in the ocean, creating the famous barrels. The trick is to time your exact entry into the barrel and let the wave carry you back to shore. After a day of surfing, sit back with a refreshing beer in the huge beer garden of the Newport Arms Hotel.

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Newport Beach, New South Wales, Australia