Learn to surf the North Coast of New South Wales which features some of the top surfing beaches of anywhere in Australia. The naturally beautiful coastline has both amazing breaks and long stretches of white sandy beaches with crystal clear water.

From Terrigal to the Tweed, the North Coast is home to the many of NSW’s top surfers including ASP World Champions, Mick Fanning (2007) and Stephanie Gilmore (2007, 2008).

The coastline features the likes of the iconic Byron Bay and other internationally renown breaks such as Ballina, Lennox Head and Yamba-Angourie in northern NSW that are central to Australian surf culture and history as well as being at the forefront of surfing revolution of years gone by.




Minnie Waters



Learn to surf schools in darlington beach

Darlington Beach is a great place to learn to surf and on good days the swell can get up to 4 ft. At its best, it can get as big as 7-8 ft which usually happens each month. Darlington Beach is great for beginners through to the experts, as all comers can take advantage of the amazing waves.

Darling Beach Locations

1999 World Champion, Mark Occhilupo, toured from the Gold Coast to Coffs Harbour in NSW, raising awareness about some of the state’s best surfing holiday destinations. The week-long tour ended at Darlington beach in Coffs Harbour on the Mid-North Coast.

To get to Darlington Beach, take the Arrawarra, Woolgoolga and Mullaway exit from the Pacific Highway, veer to the right and over the bridge then take a left onto Eggins Drive. You’ll find Darlington Beach 1.5km down the road on the right.

Learn to Surf schools in emeRALD BEACH

Learn to surf at Emerald Beach, an exposed point break on the North Coast that features a very consistent swell. Generally, Summer will be the best conditions for surfing, while it’s best to get the wind from the southwest. Most of the surf is from groundswells and the best swell angle is from the northeast. The break is a left-hander.

emerald beach locations

Emerald Beach is one of the best beaches along the Coffs Harbour coastline and features one of the best surf spots in the region. Emerald Main Beach is a great spot for beginners with the safest area being towards the corner in front of town. You can almost always find a wave at Emerald Beach making it one of the most consistent locations around.

Emerald Beach is in the middle of Coffs Coast Regional Park. To get there from the Pacific Highway, turn east onto Fiddaman Road and drive for a further 1km.

Emerald Beach is a great place for beginners to get started!

Learn to surf schools in MINNIE WATERS

Looking for learn to surf schools in Minnie Waters? Surfers are offered a wide range of choices at Minnie, with “Flatrock” to the north featuring a reliable reef break with east to south-east swell with a consistent offshore wind.

minnie waters locations

The Minnie Waters beach break is great for surfing and has a few different beaches, starting with the main beach, the south beach and the back beach, just off the National Park.

Minnie Waters is best in the summertime as the waves can get up to 6ft. Minnie Waters accommodates all ranges of surfing ability, from beginners up to experienced surfers. Minnie Waters is generally uncrowded, which makes everything a lot more enjoyable.

Learn to surf schools in SAWTELL

Sawtell in Port Macquarie is an exposed beach break with reliable surf. The best time of year is either autumn or winter and it works best in offshore winds from the west-southwest. The break gets a mixture of groundswells and wind swells with the best direction being from the southeast. You’ll find both lefts and rights to work with here.

Sawtell beach locations

Sawtell offers consistent peaks in most swells from NE to SE, when there are suitable winds. On days with larger swells, look for the big sandbank that builds between the headland and the reef (Sawtell Island) at the southern end of the beach. This can produce some long and fast rights.

Conditions aren’t the best for beginners during big swells, so leave it to the experienced surfers.

You can get to Sawtell Beach from Fourth Avenue – the beach has easy access.

Sawtell Beach is highly versatile, working in most conditions given the right wind conditions.
You’ll find everything from long barrels to short peaks, depending on the banks and the direction of the swell. The surf can range from 2 to 8 foot.

Learn to surf at WOOLGOOLGA

Woolgoolga is a great place to learn to surf on the North Coast. It is an exposed beach with a reef break that has great consistent surf. Autumn and winter are the best times of year and conditions are ideals with some offshore winds from the south with the shelter here from the southerly winds. The surf is predominately from groundswells and the best swell angle is from the east-southeast. The beach breaks have both lefts and rights and are great for beginners learning how to surf.


Woolgoolga main beach is great for shortboards and is suitable for beginners as it’s a patrolled beach. For those more experienced and looking for something a little bigger Woolgoolga back beach might be more up your alley.

Shorter rides are on offer at the southern end of the beach where the waves can often close out. The southern corner of Woolgoolga Beach is the best place for beginners to check especially if you’re looking for shelter from the southerly swells and south winds. If you head up the beach a few hundred metres, the rides are a little longer with a better shape.

To get there from the Pacific Highway, turn east at the roundabout onto Beach Street and you’ll find the town centre about 1.5km down the road.

What to do when there is no surf

There is plenty to do on the Mid North Coast when there is no surf to be had.

If you are feeling up for an adventure, try a visit to the beautiful rainforest at Dorrigo National Park. Be sure to check out the elevated Skywalk boardwalk for incredible views over the rainforest. Walk along the Wonga Walk and see the Crystal Shower Falls (1.5km – allow 1.5 hours return) for the amazing experience of being behind a waterfall. Once you return to the Rainforest Centre, have a beverage or grab a meal at the lovely, award-winning Canopy Café. Sit inside or out and enjoy amazing fresh local food in the most amazing natural surrounding.

For another great experience on the Mid North Coast, check out the Solitary Islands Aquarium. You’ll get a look into the unique marine environment of the Solitary Islands and you’ll discover what makes the Solitary Islands Marine Park so incredible through a series of guided tours and visual displays. Tickets for adults are $10 and kids, $6!

Located right next to the Novotel Resort and open every weekend and NSW school holidays from 10 am to 4 pm, a visit to the Aquarium is one not to be missed.

If you want to chill out while on the Mid North Coast, you can have a look at the botanic gardens. The North Coast Regional Botanic Garden features natural bushland as well as exotic species. Covering more than 20 hectares, the garden is of Coffs Creek, nearing the end of Hardacre Street off Harbour Drive.

best places to get a bite and coffee after your surf

After your surf, you might need a bite, so this is our pick for the top café to grab some food and a coffee:


Once you’ve finished surfing, head over to Ponds Café and grab a great meal. They have chicken schnitzel, burgers, pizzas and more. Ponds Café is a local favourite at Darlington Beach with consistently high ratings.


Surf street café is just a short walk from the beach. Head over and grab some delicious food from the huge selection. Get your choice of incredible food and coffee and just sit back and relax.


The Minnie Water General Store is the main takeaway for locals. Grab some fish and chips, takeaway food or coffee. A great spot after you’ve finished surfing.


Café Treeo has been consistently rated the best café in Sawtell. They have coffee and a large menu to choose from. Be sure to have a look while you are in Sawtell!


Always rated consistently highly for their amazing coffee, Riviera Top Shoppe has a cool design where you’ll instantly feel at home. If you’re looking for some caffeine after a surf, be sure to check it out.


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