As locals will tell you, the Gold Coast has some of the best surfing beaches in the world. In terms of consistency this might be true – on any given day there will be good surf somewhere along the coast – with 200m-long sand-bottom point breaks and rideable waves peaking at about 4m in prime conditions.

The coast is known for its barrels, particularly during the summer storm season when the winds shift around to the north; in winter the swell is smaller but more reliable, making it easier to learn to surf. A rule of thumb for finding the best surf is to follow the wind: head to the north end of the coast when the wind blows from the north and the south when it comes from the south. Generally, you’ll find the best swell along the southern beaches, and on South Stradbroke Island. Sea temperatures range between 26°C in December and 17°C in June, so a 2–3mm wet suit is adequate. Hard-core surfies come for Christmas and the cyclone season, though spring is usually the busiest time. On the subject of general safety, all beaches as far north as Surfers are patrolled – look for the signs – and while sharks might worry you, more commonplace hostility is likely to come from the local surfies, who form tight-knit cliques with very protective attitudes towards their patches.

Competitions or events are held somewhere along the coast on most weekends, advertised through local surf shops.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Australia features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

The best aerial views in the world

The best aerial views in the world

Got a head for heights? If you're craving a new perspective on your travels, the best thing to do is get up high. From mountain-top panoramas to cityscapes, her…

17 Oct 2017 • Olivia Rawes camera_alt Gallery
Undiscovered Australia: 7 places to get off the tourist trail

Undiscovered Australia: 7 places to get off the tourist trail

Australia is a vast country, though most visitors stay on the same tried and tested track, ticking off well-touristed pitstops along the way. But, of course, …

07 Aug 2017 • Helen Ochyra insert_drive_file Article
The rebirth of Perth: how the city got cool

The rebirth of Perth: how the city got cool

Sun-soaked and healthy? Perhaps. A decent gateway to Western Australia? Definitely. But a cool place to spend a few days? Until recently Perth just couldn’t …

27 Apr 2017 • Helen Ochyra insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Weekly newsletter

Sign up now for travel inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook