South Australia’s best surf spots and beaches

Away from family-friendly city beaches like Glenelg, Semaphore and Henley, South Australia offers some of the country’s most challenging surf breaks – many of which are on Kangaroo Island.

“My all-time favourite is the awesome left-hander of the remote Cape Kersaint west of Vivonne Bay,” said McLaren Vale-based surfer and tour guide Ben Neville. “A cracker spot when a big southern swell is on – but only for experienced board riders.”

Kangaroo Island

Vivonne Bay, Kangaroo Island
Vivonne Bay, Kangaroo Island

You’ll need a four-wheel drive and a ticket on the ferry to reach some of the best surfing breaks on Kangaroo Island, but it’s worth the effort. The level of difficulty ranges from gentle locations such as Pennington Bay and Stokes Bay right up to the rocky points at Hanson Bay.

Vivonne Bay is the island’s surfing jewel and suits all abilities. The main surfing breaks are located in the Cape Gantheaume Conservation Park on the south coast. Surfing here is only for advanced surfers because of its reef banks, channels and rips. Nearby D’Estrees Bay is more sheltered.

Yorke Peninsula

Pondalowie, Yorke Peninsula
Pondalowie, Yorke Peninsula

Yorke Peninsula is a laid-back holiday destination just two hour’s drive from Adelaide and offers plenty of surf breaks, deserted beaches and camping sites. Surfers should head for Corny Point or Innes National Park, where they’ll find beaches like Chinamans, West Cape, Pondalowie Bay and Trespassers at nearby Point Margaret.

Also worth visiting is the Daly Head National Surfing Reserve – one of only 16 in all of Australia. Some of these beaches are subject to strong rips and currents, so always check with the nearest Visitor Information Centre before getting into the water.

Fleurieu Peninsula

Middleton Beach, Fleurieu Peninsula
Middleton Beach, Fleurieu Peninsula

One of South Australia’s best-kept secrets is the Fleurieu Peninsula – just 45 minutes drive from Adelaide. The mid-coast beaches of Christies Beach, Southport, Seaford, Moana and Sellicks Beach offer good surfing for both novices and experienced board riders.

Further south are Waitpinga Beach and Parsons Beach – both with large swells from the Southern Ocean but Waitpinga Beach is notorious for its rips, so be careful. Goolwa Beach and Middleton Beach are ideal for beginners – you can also hire a board nearby or book a surf lesson.

Eyre Peninsula

Eyre Peninsula
Eyre Peninsula

With more than 2000km of coastline between Whyalla and Ceduna, Eyre Peninsula is a magnet for serious surfers from around the globe. The waters of the Southern Ocean are cold, so bring a full-length wetsuit and keep your eyes peeled for hidden rocks and sharks.

Four of the best-known spots are Fowlers Bay, Cactus Beach, Venus Bay and Blackfellows Beach near Elliston. Fowlers is popular with locals, while Cactus offers left-hand breaks at Castles and Cactus and a right-hand break at Caves. Venus Bay is an exposed reef break that can be surfed in all conditions. There are surf schools in many locations, including Port Lincoln.

Before you go

For up-to-date information on surf beaches, events and surf schools visit Surfing Australia while Surf South Oz publishes charts, tidal information and weather forecasts.

Beach paradise in South Australia

Prefer lolling about on your lilo to the pounding surf? Check out our guide to the best beaches in South Australia and soak in postcard-perfection.

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