5 Beginner surf spots in South Australia

By Michelle Tyndall



If your kids have been asking to learn to surf, this is the information you’ve been waiting for. Particularly if you’re not a surfer yourself. A great place to start is, of course, surfing lessons (assuming your child is a confident swimmer – if not, perhaps start there).  


Summer is the ideal time to learn to surf and South Aussies are spoilt for choice when it comes to beaches with smaller white-water waves to gain confidence and hone their skills. If you’re staying close to home this summer, consider Middleton on the Fleurieu Peninsula, or a patrolled beach along the mid-coast surfing reserve from Sellicks Beach to Christies Beach. If you’re off on a family holiday, there are beginner options in Robe and Streaky Bay. 


With so many beautiful beaches to discover, plenty of patrolled options and a number of surf lesson providers to choose from, we’re sharing five of our favourite beginner surf spots for families to help guide your decision. We can’t wait to see you post your groms on socials because #ItsBetterOutside 


Before you head off, don’t forget to check the conditions on Swellnet. And remember: 


  • look for white-water waves 
  • surf patrolled beaches 
  • ask for advice 
  • surf with others 
  • always have an adult supervise 
  • wear a wetsuit (recommended) 
  • be sun smart, and have fun! 


For more beach safety tips visit Surf Life Saving SA. 






In front of the Surf Life Saving Club at Southport Beach, you’ll find low to moderate waves, and beach breaks ideal for people learning to surf. It’s also patrolled (check ahead to make sure you visit during patrol hours). Beach access across the boardwalk offers beautiful views, and the Onkaparinga River outlet – where the river meets the sea – is a great spot for little ones to wade and splash.


Location: Port Noarlunga (33km south of Adelaide)


Facilities: Parking, toilets, cafes and other amenities nearby in Port Noarlunga


Things to do: If you head back to Port Noarlunga beach, you’ll find a reef perfect for snorkelling. The township is also worth a wander, with plenty of places to stop for something to eat or drink.  






Not too far from the Adelaide CBD, it takes around 40 minutes to arrive at Moana – a popular surf beach for beginners. The beach is patrolled (check times) and the waves are small, with lessons available for children through to adults. The Disabled Surfers Association of Australia’s SA Branch also runs learn-to-surf events at Moana for people with a disability.


Location: Moana (36km south of Adelaide)


Facilities: Parking, toilets, caravan park, shops and eateries nearby


Things to do: Why not start with a surfing lesson? It can help to build confidence and reinforce safety in the water. 





Around 90 minutes from Adelaide, Middleton enjoys waves most days of the year – rolling white water waves, perfect for beginners. From Day Street to Middleton Point, there are great spots to learn, and several surf lesson providers in the area to help you get a head start. It’s important to note that some sections of the beach are for more advanced surfers. If you’re not sure how to read conditions – ask for help.


Location: Middleton (81km south of Adelaide)


Facilities: Parking, toilets, caravan park and other accommodations options, bakery


Things to do: There are so many wonderful beachside towns to explore on the Fleurieu. It’s easy to spend a day, and enjoy a short trip or a longer stay. There are caravan parks in Middleton and Port Elliot (as well as other nearby towns) and plenty of amenities. It’s hard to resist a stop-in at either Middleton or Port Elliot bakery! And don’t forget the Encounter bikeway if you’ve got the time and means for a ride.






If you’re planning a trip to Robe during the summer school holidays why not progress your surfing skills while you’re there? Depending on the conditions, some sections of Long Beach can be good for beginners. Long Beach is, well, long, so book some lessons to help find the perfect spot. Not only will you learn the basics, but you’ll also start to learn how to read the conditions – a valuable lifelong skill.


Location: Robe (336km from Adelaide)


Facilities: Caravan parks and other accommodation options, parking, toilets, playgrounds, picnic facilities, supermarket, cafes, restaurants, pubs, walking trails and a host of other amenities in the township


Things to do: When it comes to things to do, you’re spoilt for choice in Robe and its surrounding areas. You can day trip to Naracoorte, Mount Gambier or the Coonawarra or stay in town and enjoy one of the many great places to eat. You can swim, kayak, fish, picnic or enjoy a walk through Little Dip Conservation Park to see the Obelisk. The options are endless.




Streaky Bay is located on the stunning west coast of the Eyre Peninsula. A popular summer holiday spot, offering places to camp, stay and – you guessed it – learn to surf. Once again, let’s taut the benefits of lessons! Like Middleton, there are some advanced surf beaches in Streaky. It’s best to learn from the experts – there are numerous options to pick from. If you’re lucky, you might even spot dolphins while you’re out on the water. 


Location: Streaky Bay (700km from Adelaide)


Facilities: The township boasts all the amenities you would expect, including accommodation, a supermarket and places to eat


Things to do: Surfing, fishing and stand-up paddle boarding are fairly high on the list when visiting Streaky Bay! Explore the rock pools at The Granites or Smooth Pool. Stay in nature-based camping areas or choose a caravan park within the township. There are plenty of accommodation options.




Discover why #ItsBetterOutside with more handy tips and ideas for families, or subscribe to our e-news for ideas straight to your inbox.


For more information on South Australia’s coast and marine plants and animals check out Where Birds Sing and Wildflowers Dance.


Nature Play SA is supported by the Green Adelaide Board.


[Photographer: Nathan Robertson]