Watersports in Australia

Find out about watersports in Australia and where to go to enjoy them...


Surfing is one of the most iconic outdoor sports in Australia. The country's many beautiful beaches and excellent waves have made the sport incredibly popular.

Where to surf

Surfing is possible all around Australia apart from the northern coast where there are a lot of jellyfish and saltwater crocodiles.

Most of the coast of New South Wales and Queensland gets a lot of swell and there are many great surfing beaches, such as Kirra and Burleigh Heads. The beaches and water can be very crowded on this stretch of coast, however.

The southern Australian coast also gets plenty of swell, with Bells Beach being the most famous surfing location in this area.

The west coast and Perth receive substantial swell all year round and there are good surfing beaches at Margaret River and Esperance.

The huge swell waves of the Southern Ocean also provide plentiful surfing in Tasmania.

Surf schools and clubs

There are many surf schools located around the country whothat provide lessons to both novices and experts.

People keen to get more involved in the sport, or to compete, can join one of the many surf clubs located throughout the country:


Surfing competitions in Australia are very popular with both competitors and spectators alike. They take place at beaches all over the country and are suitable for surfers of all abilities. Bells Beach on the coast of Victoria is one of Australia's iconic beaches and surfing locations. The country's longest running professional surfing event, the Rip Curl Pro, is held here and is a major international event.


Windsurfing is also a popular sport in Australia and there are clubs and schools on beaches throughout the country.

  • To find out about windsurfing in any part of the country, locate a club or books lessons: Click here


The warm, clear water and coral reefs of Australia make diving a very popular sport in the country. The most famous place to dive is on the Great Barrier Reef near Cairns. This is one of the most renowned diving areas in the world and it is possible to dive here all year round. There is a huge variety of marine life to be seen including coral and tropical fish, sea turtles and sharks. There is also excellent diving further south in the temperate waters near Melbourne and Sydney.

Learning to dive

There are diving schools located around the coast in all states. A novice can begin by taking regular lessons or an intensive course.

Medical requirements

The medical requirements for diving in Australia are among the strictest in the world. To be allowed to dive in Australia an individual must undertake a Recreational SCUBA Diving Medical to ensure they are fit to do so. The South Pacific Underwater Medicine Society provides a list of doctors who can provide these certificates.

Overseas medical certificates are only accepted if they meet or exceed the Australian Standard and must be no more than a year old.

Canoeing and Kayaking

Australia has many rivers, lakes and gorges which are popular for canoeing. Sea kayaking is also popular, with St Kilda Beach in Melbourne and Sydney harbour being popular locations.

Where to canoe

In Western Australia the best canoeing spots include paddling the Blackwood River from Bridgetown or Nannup, and the Murchison River in Kalbarri National Park. The Avon River offers rapids including the Multiplex Avon descent, which is popular with professional canoeists.

Sea Kayaking is possible on Ningallo Reef and Penguin Island near Rockingham. There are good canoeing spots near all of Australia's major towns and cities.

In South Australia there is good canoeing in Port River close to the centre of Adelaide and in Coffin Bay National Park.

In Victoria the Yarra River and Lake Bellfield, Lake Fyans and Lake Wartook in the Grampians are popular with paddlers. For white water paddling the Upper Muarry River near Cooryong is a popular choice.

Around Sydney kayaking is possible from Rose Bay to the Sydney Harbour beaches. Canberra's Lake Burley Griffin offers good canoeing and it is possible to paddle to the Molonglo River.

Close to Brisbane there is good canoeing around Moreton Bay as well as sea kayaking along the Gold Coast.


Each state in Australia has a canoeing association providing information on recreational canoeing in their state. These offer information on clubs and competitive canoeing as well as listing places where complete beginners can have lessons to get help them get started in the sport.

  • To find contact details for each state's canoeing association: Click here