Western Australia
Best months:
May to September

Western Australia

Surfing guide
LAST UPDATED 13/07/2008
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Snowdog: Map of Australia highlighting Western Australia; 30 December 2005

Western Australia is the largest of state of the country, which covers the western third of the mainland. It is bordered by South Australia and the Northern Territory and it's capital is Perth.

The whole coast here is ideally placed to take full advantage of SW depressions and swell trains spraying out from the Antartic and perrering the coastline.

May to September will be your prime season for these swells with rarer NW swells courtesy of descending Indian Ocean cyclonic systems more common from Dec-Feb. Onshore winds courtesy of the enormous inland deserts are very common in summer and sometimes there is just no beating them, no mattter how early you get up.



Kristian Maley: Freemantle Harbour, WA; 2005

Australia's Indian Ocean coastline, a magical stretch of coastline and island groups and one of the largest province of any nation in the world. Western europe could be housed quite comfortably within it's remote borders.

Perth the capital is offically the most isolated city in the world. All this helps to keep the crowds down a little and solo sessions are not hard to manage wherever you go.

Winter is better with morning offshores common but it is rare not to see some onshore activity late in the afternoon. Enjoy the reefs and relish the points, easily some of the best Australia has to offer. 



Robert A. Rohde: Annual Average Temperature Map, 15 February 2008

Season dictates where to surf in WA to a large degree. The north and south movement of the sub-tropical high pressure ridge with the seasons leads to vastly different swell and wind conditions. Local effects such as sea breezes also play a large factor in surf quality.
Water temperature varies greatly along the west coast, with Margaret River seeing a range from around 14-15 degrees in winter, to 20-21 in summer. This means a 4/3 wetsuit in winter and a short wetsuit or boardshorts in summer. With air temperatures regularly rising into the mid to high 30’s along the coast in summer, the cooler water temperatures can be a blessing. As you head north water temperatures become progressively warmer

Spring (September-November) and Summer (December-February)

The afternoon south/southwesterly sea breeze becomes a major feature along the west coast of WA from spring into summer. It even has its own special name, that being “the Fremantle Doctor”.  As days become longer and the sun sits higher in the sky, a greater amount of solar radiation is imparted on a given area of land. Combine this more intense solar heating with colder offshore waters and you see a localized sea breeze of considerable strength. This sea breeze tends to form mid morning and gains considerable strength by the afternoon. This leads to deterioration in surf quality for most areas, so mornings are definitely the time to surf.
It is worth noting that these strong sea breezes also produce perfect conditions for kite-surfing and windsurfing.
Larger swells are less frequent in the summer months, but you still get the occasional big event. Perth beaches are usually quite small at this time of year, so you are often best to head down south to Margaret River and surrounding areas.

Autumn (March-May) and Winter (June-August)

Autumn can be a great time for big wave surfing in the Margaret River region, due to an increase in intense low pressure systems through the Indian and Southern Oceans. Winds can still be light at this time of year before the sub tropical high pressure belt starts to move north for the winter. As you descend deeper into winter, the mid latitude westerly winds often take hold through Margaret River, leaving large but ugly onshore surf for days on end.

Perth beaches tend to see larger, stormy waves at this time of year, so it is a good time to be based in the states capital city.

Further north is the best option though, with lighter winds, large swell and warmer water as you head north towards Geraldton and Carnarvon. Be prepared for desolate conditions the farther north you go, and also extended hours on the road.


Be wary of your fuel (from www.wikitravel.org)

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.

what to pack

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

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

Dress casually, with sports shoes, loose clothing.. sunglasses and 30+ or over sunscreen - ESPECIALLY for summer!

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.

Don't take an umbrella, as it barely rains in WA.

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