NSW National Surfing Reserves: Protecting and preserving our coastline and culture
The New South Wales (NSW) coastline is spectacular, unique and awe-inspiring. The coast spans 2,137 kilometres and a huge proportion of that coastline has beautiful breakers perfect for surfing. In combination with the surf beaches around the country, Australia has come to be recognised as one of the most perfect surfing locations in the world.
In a bid to preserve and maintain these beaches and the wider Australian surfing culture, the National Surfing Reserves partnered with the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment to declare significant sites as Crown reserves. These sites have been and will continue to be recognised as having natural and cultural significance. They will be protected and preserved for years to come.
Since 2007, there have been 19 iconic sites up and down the coast recognised as reserves and many more proposed. Below are the first seven to be recognised.
The wonderful thing for surfing enthusiasts is that while the reserves may not have accommodation directly onsite, there are Crown land camping and caravan sites nearby.
Angourie National Surfing Reserve
Angourie was the first-ever gazetted National Surfing Reserve in NSW. It is a world-famous surfing location because of its combination of exceptional breaks and tranquil beauty. The coastal ecosystem has rocky boulder reefs, tidal rock pools and pristine sands, all home to a plethora of sea-life from octopus, sea cucumber, starfish and salmon to dolphins and turtles.
Located on the north coast near Yamba, Crown land accommodation nearby includes:
- Calypso Holiday Park
Crescent Head National Surfing Reserve
Crescent Head National Surfing Reserve has been a prime surfing spot since World War II and is famous for its longboarding culture. Spanning 3.5 kilometres of sand, this is one of the longest right-hand breakpoints in Australia. The coastline is peppered with rocky pools teeming with starfish, sea snails, crustaceans and tiny fish. The beach is surrounded by gorgeous sand dunes, pandanus palms, banksia and paperbark. Because of its proximity to Port Macquarie, Crescent Head is within driving distance of a range of Crown land accommodation options including:
- Beachfront Holiday Park
- Big4 Harrington Holiday Park
- Crescent Head Holiday Park
- Farquhar Camping Ground
- Grassy Head Holiday Park
- Harrington Beach State Park
- Hat Head Holiday Park
- Horseshoe Bay Caravan Park
- Manning Entrance State Park
- Scotts Head Holiday Park
- South West Rocks Tourist Park
- Stuarts Point Holiday Park
- Sundowner Breakwall Tourist Park
Lennox National Surfing Reserve
Lennox National Surfing Reserve has been incredibly popular since surfing took off in the 1950s. Home to the world-famous Lennox Point, the reserve is celebrated for its powerful and large point break. The area of Lennox was created by a volcanic eruption millions of years ago. To this day, the remains of this mighty eruption remain visible and awe-inspiring.
The unique thing about the reserve is that it boasts powerful breaks for enthusiastic and seasoned surfers but is also home to the gentle waves of Flat Rock, which are ideal for learners to find their feet. Lennox Head is a relatively quiet surfing town, but surfers can take advantage of Crown land accommodation in the surrounding area, including:
- Ballina Central Holiday Park
- Ballina Lakeside Holiday Park
- Clarkes Beach Holiday Park
- Lake Ainsworth Holiday Park
- Massey Greene Holiday Park
- Shaws Bay Holiday Park
Cronulla Beaches National Surfing Reserve
Cronulla Beaches are some of the best and most notorious surf beaches in the wider Sydney region. Surfing and surf culture are often associated with the area and the beaches have been frequented by the world’s greatest surfing champions.
The beaches in the famous Sutherland Shire weren’t always surfing hotspots. It wasn’t until Hawaiian Olympic Swimmer Duke Kahanamoko visited the area in around 1915, extolling the greatness of boardriding, that surfing really took off. Cronulla is located close to Sydney's central business district, so Crown land accommodation is not extensive.
Merewether Beaches National Surfing Reserve
Merewether Beaches National Surfing Reserve is one of Newcastle’s most iconic surf beaches. The reserve stretches the 2 kilometres from Dixon Park to Burwood Beach and has been home to many champion surfers. Merewether Beach, while modest in size, is recognised as one of the most popular surf spots in Australia. In fact, it is known as Australia’s ‘Crown Jewel’ amongst surfing enthusiasts. The beach combines exceptional surfing conditions with stunning natural surrounds and a strong culture. Crown land accommodation in the area includes:
- Stockton Beach Tourist Park
Killalea National Surfing Reserve
Killalea National Surfing Reserve is nestled amid breathtaking parkland in the Killalea State Park. The state park has 250 hectares of coastal reserve and is a popular location on the south coast. The natural ecosystem is unique and diverse, with a wonderful combination of sub-tropical rainforest, rocky shores, coastal sand dunes, mangroves and salt marsh. Whilst spanning just a short distance, the reserve is a surfing oasis not far from Sydney. Killalea State Park offers basic accommodation, and is also a short distance from Shellharbour, where more Crown land accommodation can be found, including:
- Killalea State Park
- Shellharbour Beachside Tourist Park
North Narrabeen National Surfing Reserve
North Narrabeen is well-known as a hard-core surfing beach on the outskirts of Sydney. The reserve covers the 50 hectares of land and water including part of the scenic Narrabeen Lagoon. The reserve boasts five distinctive surf breaks, giving visitors the rare opportunity to experience true variety without going far, including the point, the alley and bombie. Located on Sydney’s northern beaches, this reserve features the beauty of an unspoilt coastline, just a short drive from the buzz of the central business district. There is one Crown land operated park in the area:
- Big4 Sydney Lakeside Holiday Park
Since 2010, another 11 spots have been granted reserve status as the state continues to guard this precious coastline. These reserves are listed below:
- Maroubra National Surfing Reserve
- Margaret River National Surfing Reserve
- Kalbarri National Surfing Reserve
- Manly-Freshwater National Surfing Reserve
- Yallingup National Surfing Reserve
- Burleigh Heads National Surfing Reserve
- Currumbin Alley National Surfing Reserve
- Snapper-Kirra National Surfing Reserve
- Daly Head National Surfing Reserve
- Point Sinclair National Surfing Reserve
- Phillip Island National Surfing Reserve
- Mid Coast National Surfing Reserve