South Australia
Best months:
May to September

South Australia

Surfing guide
LAST UPDATED 07/01/2008
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Snowdog: Map of Australia highlighting South Australia; 30 December 2005

South Australia is one of the states in Australia, located in the southern central part of the country between Victoria and Western Australia. The capital of the state is Adelaide.

The Adelaide region offers an interesting collection of peninsulas that whilst difficult and time consuming to travel between, can offer consistent rewards for those that know where to look. Once you get to know which conditions work on which peninsula it's an easy mission to find waves. 

The Southern Ocean pounds this coastline with raw swell consistently, a lot of the energy will be from the west and so east facing breaks are a far rarer comodity in these waters.


Mad Max and Johnny the Boy (low rez, illustrative of the movie, educational purposes only); 1979

The Southern Ocean tears across the steep cliffs of the Nullabor to the west, unloading energy onto rare and isolated points such as Cactus before detonating along the desolate Eyre Peninsula. Sharky but rewarding and definitely a place to score an empyt unmolested wave. The remainder of the peninsulas tend to lie in the shadow of the Eyre to the west and hence see limited groundswell. Summer windswell madness is the norm around Adeliade, the capital itself. Kangaroo Island lies well to the south and receives plenty of swell.  The western points are really well of the surfing radar of most travellers which is pretty much the way the locals would like to see it stay. Dont let that discourage you though.

South of Adelaide towards the Victorian coast, options open up once again with the full force of the Southern Ocean again pounding the coast. There are a lot of beaches here but a long way between towns- take plenty of water with you when you travel. Remeber that they filmed Mad Max here...pray he's still out there...somewhere. 


Thomas Splettstoesser: Ocean Circulation Conveyor Belt, 2007-11-21

Cold winters and blistering hot summers are a feature of South Australian weather. Maximum temperatures in the low to mid 40’s  (degrees Celsius) are not uncommon along the coast in the summer months, while winter time maximum temperatures hoverer in the mid to low teens. Give the extreme heat of summer, it is vital to always cover adequate drinking water when heading to the more remote spots along the desolate west coast.  Water temperature varies from around 14 degrees late winter to a peak of 21-22 degrees in the summer months.

There are good waves year round in South Australia, but autumn (Mar-May) and winter (Jun – Aug) stand out for having more consistent and large surf. This is thanks to an increase in the intensity of low pressure systems moving through the Southern Ocean at this time of year. Strong sea breezes are a feature from late spring (Nov) until early autumn (Mar), so mornings are often the best time to surf in most locations.


Driving in Australia (from

There are two common ways of travelling in Australia: by car or by plane. Train can be an option, but not all states have a public rail network. Greyhound Australia provides a nation-wide (except Tasmania) interstate bus service. And there is a car ferry that departs from Melbourne and goes to Devonport in Tasmania.

The country is huge, so if don’t have enough time, take a plane. Fares are generally low, due to the amount of competition, and flights depart regularly. Main business travel corridor is Melbourne-Sydney-Brisbane with flights leaving every 15 minutes. You’ll be able to get to every state with Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin Blue or Regional Express. There also are some small state-based airlines that serve regional areas: Airnorth, Skywest, O’Connor Airlines and MacAir Airlines.  

Travelling by car is a great option as well, especially to those who want to see and feel the country from he inside. Australia has a well-maintained system of roads and highways and drives 'on the left'. Keep in mind that great distances separate its cities and after leaving one of them, you can sometimes expect to travel for hours before finding the next trace of civilisation. So it’s a good idea to hire a satellite phone in case of emergency. The shortest distance would be from Sydney to Canberra – just 3-3.5 hours (~300 km). But it is a truly magnificent experience to hire a car and travel around the coast of Australia (check the Great Ocean Road), which you won’t forget.

where to stay

SchuminWeb: Rockingham Hall Exterior; 7 March 2006

Your final decision really depends on your preferences and budget. If you like camping, there are a lot of those in every state of Australia. And there is a great option for those, who still prefers some comfort, but the budget is limited, – Hotel Formule1. These hotels have absolutely the same basic and very clean rooms (for 3 people) in all the cities (so you know what to expect) and can be found in Sydney (NSW), Coffs Harbour (NSW), Melbourne (VIC), Canberra (ACT) and Brisbane (QLD).  Rates can start from AU$59.00 per room/per night and conditions are usually better than in the numerous motels along the highways (where you will probably spend about AU$100 per room/per night).
There are nice caravan parks (van/trailer parks) with on site cabins in WA, as well as in most states (usually you will see the signs if you drive on the highway). Prices range from AUS$25.00 to AUS$50.00. They are very comfortable and have cooking facilities and a refrigerator. The extra price will provide you with some more comfort.
Cable Beach Backpackers is another nice place in WA with clean and spacious rooms, bathrooms and kitchens, just a few minutes walk from Cable Beach in Broome. Also try Augusta YHA – a very affordable and clean hostel in a brand new building.
And of course, there are all the luxurious hotels, where you can enjoy the best service. But basically for all the states the rule would be the same – there are numerous motels, hostels, caravan parks and camping sites near the surf spots, so you’ll definitely find something.

what to pack

Flashdance: A pair of very simple Moroccan flip flops; 25 May 2007

SA has hotter summers and colder winters than NSW, so pack according to the season.

Depending on the season you are planning to go, pack warmer clothes for winter and loose clothing for summer. Sunscreen and sunglasses are a must! Because of the weather changes, hayfever may be a problem, so anti-histamine tablets would be good too.

A small backpack makes a good carryon bag and will be useful in daily life. 
Women: remember to take a good flat pair of shoes....
And for everybody: pair of comfortable walking shoes will be great for walking.  

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