Grab a Jeep and rediscover Oz.
Australia boasts more than 2000km of surfable coastline. From reeling sand-bottom points to gurgling slabs, the land Down Under offers every kind of surfing set-up imaginable. If you are equipped with a good quiver, the right vehicle and a sense of adventure, then Oz is yours to roam. Of course there are those hallowed spots that will always be targeted by surfers from here and abroad, but if you are willing to load up the Jeep, do a few miles and turn your back on the predictable line-ups, there’s an abundance of quality waves that can satisfy your saltwater appetite.
Western Australia - Cape to Cape
The 135km of coast between Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin in Western Australia is a kind of rugged man’s version of a surfing paradise. Powered by the roaring 40s the waves march across the hypnotically blue, Indian Ocean and detonate over a series of limestone reefs and beach breaks. Swells with Hawaiian-style power colliding with a coastline that twists and bends them in all kinds of ways. There are dozens and dozens of breaks in this region, but many are only accessible by 4wd. It’s a raw, exposed stretch with a completely different feel to anything on the east coast. It helps to have someone with a little local knowledge to guide you though. Naive travellers have been known to spend whole days driving without getting wet, only to be told later that a particular spot was pumping.
Victoria’s Great Ocean Road
Ok, so there is an artery of bitumen that winds the full stretch of this magnificent coast, but when at the wheel of a capable off-road vehicle such as the Jeep Wrangler then the surfing and exploring options become much more expansive.
The further south you get the more the secluded, off-road options come into play. The 243km stretch is also dotted with several campsites. Load up the Jeep and take the slow route, pitching a tent at places like Wye River and Joanna before embracing the majesty of the 12 apostles.
Time is your best friend here. In the colder months you’ll often be waiting for the swell to drop. The southern Victorians are notoriously protective and tight-lipped about their waves, but their friendlier at the pub. Buy someone a drink and hope they let you in on a few secrets.
Queensland - Double Island Point
Although the long, tapering rights at D.I. Point will have your legs wobbly with lactic acid, your brain will keep screaming for one more. Wait until the swell turns on at Noosa and then escape the hordes by driving along the 80km expanse of beach to the North. Low tide driving is preferable and keep in mind that this stretch has laid claim to many a lesser vehicle. A cyclone season special [November through to April] but will break any time of the year. It’s all about varying levels of perfection at D.I. Point; if the sand is built up in the right way, it can be one of the longest and most perfect rights in the country.
South Coast of New South Wales
When autumn begins flexing its muscle and unceremoniously ushers summer out the door, that is the time to begin looking south. As the temperature drops the coastline of the NSW South Coast comes alive. Leaving Sydney to the north, the region technically begins in Wollongong, but the real fun doesn’t begin until you’ve put at least three hours between yourself and the metropolis. Here, on this rugged but beautiful stretch it’s all about exploration. Locals are notoriously tight-lipped about surf spots in the area so it’s up to you to seek them out. Follow your nose down the myriad of testing 4WD tracks and if you’re lucky you might strike gold!
Eyre Peninsula, South Australia
If you’re looking for the ultimate surfing and four-wheel driving challenge, the Eyre Peninsula will test you to the limit. Extremely remote and uncompromising, this desert coastline offers the ultimate thrill both in and out of the water. Huge Southern Ocean storms send lines of swell marching in to meet some of the best reef-breaks Australia has to offer. However, to reach them you’ll need some serious wheels, as often you’ll be crossing country completely devoid of road or even track. Best to be packing a Jeep for this scenario. Also, a friendly warning, the waves here aren’t the only things that have teeth, the ocean is alive and you’ll be sharing the water with some ‘fish’ much bigger than yourself. It’s truly a place for those seeking adventure.