Wave hunter: The ultimate surfing safari in Noosa
This is the time of the year any surfer worth their sunburnt lips would give up their right leg (and other body parts) to come and surf Queensland’s world-famous breaks. The water’s warm – we’re talking no less than the mid-20s – and if you get up early enough you’ll beat the summer northerly winds.
From the right-hand point breaks of the southern Gold Coast all the way up to Fraser Island, some of the best waves on earth will be coming your way. But let’s face it, summer can get crowded, especially when a decent swell hits (beach cams make surf checks so much easier!).
But I discovered a way to escape the crowds entirely; and you can too. How? Well, surfers have been doing it since the most famous surf film of them all, 1966’s Endless Summer… go on a surfing safari (or a ‘surfari’).
I flew in to the Sunshine Coast at exactly the right time. A big swell had just hit Noosa Heads and waves were wrapping around the point like the ones I drew on my exercise books at school. Trouble was, every surfer on the east coast seemed to have heard the news, and these guys were good. I barely stood a chance. I might’ve surfed since I was seven, but these surfers were getting barreled in the womb.
But a few hours later, I’m the one riding the best waves of the day. That’s because if you book a surfari you’ll be taken to the best waves in the area, mostly free from crowds, by operators who have more local knowledge of the area than anyone – they’re the surfers who’ve surfed here day in, day out for decades. There’s empty of surf breaks all around Noosa, it’s just that people don’t bother to look.
We hightailed it across the Noosa River, through the north shore and out along an endless beach. After a ride through a shallow lagoon we found perfect head-high waves like I haven’t surfed since a trip to Indonesia’s Mentawai Islands. There were dolphins and tuna jumping, and only two other surfers in the line-up. I surfed till I couldn’t paddle any more, and my stomach was red-raw from rash; even then I wanted more. I hadn’t felt so surf-exhausted since I was a teenager.
For the next two days I reckon I rode some of the best waves of my life. Once we even took a jet ski to surf in a secluded cove not far from Noosa Heads. When the swell finally departed, I couldn’t have surfed another minute.
There’s perfect waves all along Queensland’s coastline, but it’s worth taking a surfari to find the breaks no-one else knows about. Just pack sunscreen and a rash vest; you’ll be logging some serious surf time.
Surf packages: Tropic Surf offer everything from 1 ½ hour private lessons to seven-day packages.