Bob’s Top 10 Surf Spots Australia…

Surfing and Campervans go together like liquor and STD’s! That’s why Bob is a surfing expert. From Cactus to Coolangatta there ain’t a woman or a wave he hasn’t tried to jump…

To Bob, surfing is the bull-ridin’ of the ocean. A sport of Hawaiin kings and tanned, ridiculously good-looking humans – like Bob. But growing up on a ranch outside El Paso, ol’ Bob didn’t get to see the ocean much. Until he got his campervan. As soon as he got his first camper – a fire-engine red 1976 Suzuki Brat camper, he high-tailed it to California and the mighty blue Pacific.

Truth be told, when ol’ Bob started off in Hollywood – he dreamed of stardom. But it didn’t really go to plan and Bob managed only a few minor roles in ‘The Brady Bunch’ (he played ‘Customer at Butcher Shop’ in episode 167) and ‘Happy Days’ (he wore the shark costume in ‘Fonzie jumps the Shark’). And so after a tumultuous few years of snorting cocaine off Barbara Streisand’s sisters ass and sleeping in his campervan at the Manhattan Beach Value Mart car park, Bob left Hollywood and crossed the Pacific, all the way to Australia – where he would join, and ultimately rise to the top of, the campervan world.

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Australia presented campervannin’ opportunity in abundance for ol’ Bob. Sure, there was a roadtrip culture in Australia, but according to Bob, the Aussies didn’t know their ass from their elbow when it came to campervans. He would always say “these Aussies…they’re crazy, sleepin’ in little tents on the shitty ground where dirty dogs do dirty shits and fuckin’ dingos steal your baby!” Seeing the opportunity for a widespread campervan revolution, Bob worked day and night, educating Australians about the way of the camper-man – free, wild and irresistible to women.

In 1981 Bob traded his 1964 VW camper to 4 x surfing world champion, Bartholemew Chang for surf lessons in Newcastle. Within 6 months, Bob was semi-professional and his sponsors were all beggin’ him to jump on the world tour. Bart recalls “Bob was a natural. He could pig-dog like the best and his trademark ‘backside tail gremlin’ was unbelievable”. But Bob was first and foremost a campervan man. He didn’t want any distractions from his one true passion – “the open fuckin’ road!”

So Bob hit the road, in search of waves, babes and bright blue skies. In the mid-80’s, he travelled all over, from Cactus to Coolangatta, scoring epic waves and fathering 17 children to 19 different women.

“Those were the days” as ol’ Bob says, “when a man could plough his way around the country with nothin’ but a campervan an’ a hard-on”.

All these years on the road and in the ocean have given Bob a sixth sense about not only campervans, but also surfing. He’s surfed over 300 locations in Australia, been attacked by big sharks and even bigger women. And so, here it is – Bob’s Top 10 surf spots in Australia.

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#1 Snapper Rocks, Queensland

The Super Bank (or ‘Super Wank’ as Bob calls it), is at times, the most incredibly long, perfect right-hander in the world. When it’s over 5ft you gotta be fit, as the current running from Snapper Rocks through to Kirra is like a conveyer belt of carnage. When it’s under 5ft you’ll need a fucking cricket bat to fight off the swarming masses that descend upon the lineup. While it’s an awesome wave, it’s popularity essentially means that you’ve got a better chance of being eaten by a shark than actually getting a wave out there…

Best Conditions: Never Really – It’s always crowded. If you insist…February – April. S-SE Swell, W-SW Winds. Low-Mid Tide.

No Surf? On flat days take a day trip south to Brunswick Heads, Byron Bay, Broken Head or anywhere in Northern NSW. It’s all right on your doorstep and it’s all awesome!

Where is it? Snapper Rocks is right on the QLD-NSW Border and the very southern end of the Gold Coast. Just 5-minutes from the airport and about 1-1/2hrs south of Brisbane.

Secret Spot: Not many secret surf spots on the Gold Coast. If you wanna escape the crowds, you’ll need to cross the border into Northern NSW (ie Fingal!). Or scan the beach breaks of Palm Beach, Burleigh & Currumbin for a good bank.

Where to Stay: There’s a heap of backpackers and caravan parks along the Gold Coast Highway, all just a 2 minute stroll from the beach. Be careful where you choose to free camp in your campervan, the council are watching!

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#2 Burleigh Heads, Queensland

In Bob’s opinion, Burleigh Point is a vastly underrated wave. An epic, barrelling right-hander, it can hold swells up and over 10ft during cyclone season (Feb-March), putting on a crazy show for locals sitting on the hill above. The ideallic setting of the wave and the crystal clear, warm waters make this one of Bob’s favourite Australian surf spots. It too can get crowded, but nowhere near as hectic as its southern cousins Kirra and Snapper Rocks. Another great little right-hander about 10 mins south is Currumbin Alley. Bob’s nearly been decapitated by overzealous goat-boaters here on many occasions, so keep your eyes peeled for dickheads in the water.

Best Conditions: February – April. S-SE Swell, W-SW Winds. Mid-High Tide.

No Surf? On flat days go for a wander up James St and leisurely game of lawn bowls at the iconic Burleigh Heads Bowls Club. Or head to the Currumbin Valley and go for a swim in the rock pools.

Where is it? Burleigh Heads is on the southern end of Queensland’s Gold Coast. It’s an hours drive south of Brisbane and about 900kms north of Sydney.

Secret Spot: Not many secret surf spots on the Gold Coast. If you wanna escape the crowds, you’ll need to cross the border into Northern NSW. Or scan the beach breaks of Palm Beach, Burleigh & Currumbin for a good bank.

Where to Stay: There’s a heap of backpackers and caravan parks along the Gold Coast Highway, all just a 2 minute stroll from the beach. Be careful where you choose to free camp in your campervan, the council are watching!

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#3 Crescent Head, New South Wales

If there’s a heaven, then the mid-north coast of NSW is probably what it looks like. Lush green farmland & rainforest collide with perfect white sands and empty beaches for a massive stretch of coast between Newcastle and Byron Bay. And smack bang in the middle of this stretch is the ideal coastal town of Crescent Heads. As it requires a detour from the highway, most travellers drive straight past this little patch of heaven. With a golf course on the headland overlooking the right-hand point at Crescent Head, this wave is one of Australia’s surfing icons – often providing long, mellow rides with faster sections and the occasional tube. The surrounding forests and the endless empty beaches to the north make Crescent Head one of Bob’s favourite pit-stops. If you’re in the area it’s worth checking out nearby surf breaks Seal Rocks and Boomerang Beach (perfect if the northerlies are killing the waves everywhere else!).

Best Conditions: February – July. E-SE Swell, SW-SE Winds. Mid-High Tide.

No Surf? On flat days, go for a game of golf on the headland or hike nearby bushlands. The local pub is great for killing time.

Where is it? Crescent Head is about 1hr 30mins south of Coffs Harbour. It’s just about the half-way point betwen Brisbane and Sydney.

Secret Spot: This region is littered with secret breaks. Drive around and explore!

Where to Stay: The caravan park in Crescent Head is literally RIGHT on the beach (& campervan-friendly). Take note of local parking signs if you’re looking to free camp in town.

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#4 Angourie Point, New South Wales

The Northern Rivers region of NSW is ol’ Bob’s idea of heaven. The Pacific Highway southbound follows a wild, pristine coastline to the left, and endless cane fields to the right. It really is a special patch of Australia – and another reason why travelling by campervan is your best option. Angourie point is heralded in Australia surf folklore. It’s a special, isolated little spot about 10kms from another ideallic surf town, Yamba. The wave wraps around the headland, bending towards the deeper waters inside the cove. Barrels are pretty rare here, but it does happen. The wave itself is fun, but the locals can be fairly fierce – don’t be a prick, be respectful and you’ll get some good ones.

Best Conditions: February – July. SE-NE Swell, SW-W Winds. Low-Mid Tide.

No Surf? On flat days explore Yuraygir National Park or go for a swim in the nearby Green Pools. Yamba is a great little surf town for chilled beers.

Where is it? Angourie Point is about 6kms south of Yamba. It’s about 650kms north of Sydney and 400kms south of Brisbane.

Secret Spot: Heaps around here. Back Beach (just south of the headland, can have fun little waves over Summer when the dreaded northerlies are blowing.

Where to Stay: Nearby Yamba has a heap of great caravan parks (all campervan-friendly) and a backpackers hostel.

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#5 Black Rock // Aussie Pipe, New South Wales

Black Rock is a powerful, hollow left-hander (the right can get good also!) which explodes over a shallow, urchin-infested bottom. It’s not a wave for beginners, but it is a very photogenic spot when the swell is on. The locals here are a tough breed, so be respectful or lose some teeth. Just around the corner is one of Australia’s most picturesque beaches – Jervis Bay, with water clearer than a Californian sky. The South Coast of NSW is super-mellow, with great beaches and great little country towns – it really feels a world away from the hustle and bustle of Sydney.

Best Conditions: May – September. SE-S Swell, NW-E Winds. Mid Tide.

No Surf? On flat days…relax and unwind! It’s all about nature on the South Coast.

Where is it? Aussie Pipe is about 15 minutes drive from Jervis Bay. It’s about 3-Hours south of Sydney by campervan.

Secret Spot: Plenty of secret little waves around this region. Try nearby Caves Beach and around the Mollymook region for fun beachies.

Where to Stay: There’s caravan parks and national parks all around this region – but over summer you’ll need to book ahead as it can get very busy!

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#6 Bells Beach, Victoria

Not just a Point Break reference, Bells Beach is ol’ Bob’s absolute favourite Australian surf spot. About an hour and a half south of Melbourne, Bells is actually made up of several different waves – Rincon, The Bowl, Centreside, Southside and Bob’s favourite section: Winki Pop. Bells can handle massive swells – with wide, open faces, inviting hacks and carves for days. Winki Pop is the faster end section, often great fun when the swell is 2-5ft. The water is very chilly, so you’ll need a 4-5mm wetsuit. The crowds aren’t anywhere near as aggressive as in Queensland or Sydney, in fact they’re outright friendly! Set amongst vast, hilly farmland (with wild kangaroos & echidnas!), Bells is a special place on the Victoria coast.

Best Conditions: March – September. SW Swell, NW Winds. Mid-High Tide.

No Surf? On flat days…explore the Great Ocean Road and 12 Apostles, a must-see for any tourists in Australia.

Where is it? Bells Beach is just south of Torquay in nearby Jan Juc (the start of the Great Ocean Road!). It’s about 90-minutes drive from Melbourne cbd.

Secret Spot: Loads of secret spots to explore, including a little north toward Barwon Heads. Nearby Jan Juc is good if you’re a learner.

Where to Stay: Jan Juc Caravan Park is great and there’s plenty more parks & backpacker hostels in nearby Lorne.

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#7 Cactus, South Australia

A true wild-Australia experience, Cactus Beach on the fringe of the vast Nullarbor Plains is an absolute must-see. It’s remote and notorious for giant sharks, deadly snakes and wayward characters. It’s the final frontier for surfers – with an apocalyptic terrain and a genuine ‘Mad Max’ feel. Cactus is the left that peels off the headland, handling waves up to 3m. Further East is Caves and Castles, short sharp waves that pack serious punch if you’re not prepared. The locals here are as tough as it gets – hardened by solitude and a fear of creatures that lurk below. Cactus is not just about the wave – it’s about the experience. Right in front of the beach is Point Sinclair Camp Ground, perched in the sand hills and unchanged for over 40 years. A pilgrimage to Cactus is a must for all Australian surfers and a totally unique experience for backpackers and travellers alike.

Best Conditions: April – September. S-SW Swell, E-NE Winds. Mid-Low Tide.

No Surf? On flat days…head into nearby Penong and go to the pub. There’s not much going on around these parts!

Where is it? The middle of nowhere. Take a dirt road off the highway at Penong and drive 20kms towards the beach. You’ll arrive at Point Sinclair Camp Ground. Cactus is 866kms from Adelaide and 1,900kms from Perth. The closest real town is Ceduna, 100kms away.

Secret Spot: Heapssss of spots around here – explore the Eyre Peninsula and Port Lincoln. There are long, isolated, perfect waves literally all around.

Where to Stay: Point Sinclair Camp Ground. For $10 a night you get a flush toilet, a place to park the campervan and a bit of fire wood. This place is awesome!

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#8 Yallingup, Western Australia

Anyone who has watched classic Taj Burrow surf movies ‘Sabotaj’ or ‘Montaj’ will understand. This region, close to Margaret River is a wave-haven. Yallingup Main Beach is a perfect A-Frame, offering lefts and right in swells up to 4m. Nearby Rabbit Hill is a short, punchy, hollow menacingly perfect wave – for experienced and or crazy fuckers only. This area is Western Australia’s premiere surfing region and well worth the trip.

Best Conditions: April – September. SW-W Swell, SE-NE Winds. Most Tides.

No Surf? On flat days…head into nearby Margaret River where there’s a great little cafe scene or explore Ngilgi Cave. This region is also known for its wineries – so if you’re into wine, enjoy!

Where is it? Yallingup is 40kms north of Margaret River and 260kms south of Perth.

Secret Spot: There’s plenty of waves around this region, but also plenty of surfers. But drive around a little and you’ll still find plenty of solitude to be had.

Where to Stay: Yallingup Beach Holiday Park is campervan-friendly and situated right in front of Yallingup Main Beach.

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#9 Red Bluff (Carnarvon), Western Australia

Here’s another ‘Mad Max’ style wave in remote Western Australia. About 100kms north of Carnarvon, Red Bluff is an infamous lefthander, which grinds along a razor-sharp, urchin-infested reef. It can get BIG, but it can also get perfect – in fact, it’s regarded as Australia’s best lefthander! This wave is for the experienced surfer only – remember, if shits gets nasty, you’re a long way from help out here…

Best Conditions: S-SW Swell, SE Winds. Mid-Tides.

No Surf? On flat days…go fishing! This area is a fisherman’s wonderland. Or sandboarding on the dunes that abound in this region.

Where is it? Red Bluff is 100kms north of Carnarvon on the Western Australian mid-coast. It’s 1,000kms north of Perth.

Secret Spot: There are, but take precautions. This area is remote and the ocean is not only full of things that will try to eat you, it also produces some huge swells. Know your limits and don’t surf anywhere if it doesn’t feel right.

Where to Stay: There’s a campground at Red Bluff, however there are limited facilities here so come prepared with fresh water, food and other essentials.

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#10 King Island, Tasmania

Martha Lavinia, located on the north-east of King Island was once voted one of the Top 10 waves in the World by Surfing Life magazine. And with good reason. King Island is full of perfect, punchy A-frames – the kind you used to draw in your school book during maths class. There’s no crowds and consistent waves – it’s a small island, so there will always be perfect conditions somewhere on the island.

Best Conditions: All winds, all swells. Mid-Tides.

No Surf? On flat days…head into town. There’s not a lot going on, but there is a thriving agricultural economy on the island, perfect for beef & cheese-lovers!

Where is it? King Island is located in the Bass Strait, between the Australia mainland and the Tasmanian mainland. It’s never been easier to get there now that the guys from ‘King Island Surf Safaris’ started operating. They can fly you directly from Barwon Heads (near Torquay) to King Island. Go to www.kingislandsurfsafaris.com.au for more information.

Secret Spot: The whole fuckin’ island is one big secret!

Where to Stay: King Island Surf Safaris will not only fly you over there, they’ll also set you up with a place to stay! Otherwise, there’s a few motels and holiday parks near the center of town.