A Guide to Surfing in Sydney

Featuring some of the best beaches in the world, there is no better place to try your hand at surfing than Sydney. Reached by ferry, bus or train, Sydney’s beaches are a sight to behold. From Bondi and Freshwater to Manly and Curl Curl, there’s always a wave waiting to be caught. 

While Sydney’s beautiful beaches are more than enough to get you out of bed and up on the surfboard, there are also numerous health benefits associated with the sport. Be it the rejuvenation you feel once you hit the water, the challenge of never facing the same wave twice or the great cardio workout surfing provides, this sport really does have everything. 

Where to surf in Sydney 

With around 37 beaches located within 30 minutes of the city’s central business district (CBD), there is no shortage of beaches ready to host surfers from beginner levels right to pro levels. Finding the perfect Sydney beach to suit your surfing needs is all about looking for the beach that will best suit your surfing prowess. 

Bondi Beach

Arguably Australia’s most famous beach, Bondi delivers sun, surf and sand everyday of the week. This bustling beach gets barrel waves only on occasion. However, Bondi is known for the wild waves that sit in the middle of the beach. You’ll find that most surfers turn to the northern corner of the beach to catch the smaller waves. While the more experienced surfers seek out the difficult southside waves. 

Bondi is the closest beach to the city centre and is therefore easily accessible via public transport. Hop on the train from Town Hall, Martin Place or Kings Cross and once you’ve hit Bondi Junction, the beach is only a 15 minute bus ride away. 

Manly Beach 

Manly Beach is a great surfing spot for those who would consider themselves as novices or beginners. In particular, the southern end is ideal for those just starting out thanks to its sandbanks. The ideal beach to learn to surf, Manly is best enjoyed when there’s a southerly wind. 

Located 17km northeast of the CBD, Manly is accessible by catching a ferry from Circular Quay. Once the ferry has docked, the beach is within easy walking distance. For those eager to hit the surf, there is even a Manly Fast Ferry. 

Freshwater Beach 

Known as the birthplace of Australian surfing, Freshwater Beach is ideal for all levels. Most appealing to surfers when there is an eastern swell with a mid to high tide, Freshwater boasts shallow waters with plenty of protection from the northerly winds, making this a great place to learn to surf. 

Those looking to hit the waves at Freshwater can take the bus from Manly Wharf. Once the bus hits Manly Beach, freshwater is only a 25 minute walk away. 

Curl Curl 

Touted as one of the best places to surf in the country, Curl Curl is every surfer’s dream. Curl Curl benefits from the most swell due to its exposure. Meaning that when the surf is small at other beaches, it will always be great at Curl Curl.

Located 18km north of the CBD, Curl Curl can be reached directly by bus from the city. 


Boasting the longest beach in Sydney, Cronulla also happens to be one of Sydney’s best surf spots. Different spots along the beach are ideal for all levels. Greenhills, a part of the northern end, features smaller waves that will easily entice beginners to get out into the surf. 

Situated 26km south of the CBD, Cronulla is the only Sydney beach which is located along a train line. The train to Cronulla Station can be caught from Town Hall or Central. 

Learning to surf

Learning to surf on Sydney’s iconic beaches has never been easier. Surf schools practically line the coastline and accept students ranging from beginners to those looking to hone their technique. In terms of lessons, Sydney’s surf schools are quite flexible, offering one day, private or group lessons, to six week intensive courses. 

Let’s Go Surfing is not only Bondi’s only officially licensed surf school, it also operates exclusively on Maroubra. The instructors are extremely helpful, imparting useful tips and tricks for when it’s time to start paddling. 

Cronulla Surfing Academy and Manly Surf School will also provide useful knowledge in terms of ocean safety, water etiquette and surfing technique. 

Catching waves in Sydney 

With more than 100 beaches and its subtropical temperatures, Sydney is a surfer’s paradise. Whether you’re just starting in the sport or looking to perfect your craft, Sydney has the perfect beach for your surfing needs. 

Looking to stay in an area of Sydney that will offer quick trips to some of Sydney’s most beautiful beaches? Maze Backpackers is the ideal accommodation option for backpackers and tourists visiting Sydney.