With tens of thousands of miles of pristine and unspoiled coastline, Australia is unsurprisingly one of the world’s best kiteboarding destinations. However, with so much ground to cover, it helps to have an idea of where you need to be heading. With that in mind, we asked pro kiter Tommy Gaunt to give us his ten best Australia kiteboarding destinations to make it easier for you to choose.
We’ve helpfully split these into east and west coast destinations because unless you’re planning a very serious trip, it’s more than likely you’ll be hitting one or the other. Some of the best Australia kiteboarding destinations listed here rank amongst the very best in the world. So, if you’re serious about riding, you simply have to check as many of these out as possible.
Western Australia: from Perth – north to south
With a sand spit running out from the mainland in to the ocean, Safety Bay is a world class flat water spot. The spit extends out about half a mile forming an inlet and what’s known as ‘the pond’. The water comes up and over the spit making the pond very flat. It’s big enough to fit 30 to 50 kites in comfortably but it’s always best on week-days as it’s quieter. It’s sometimes good to get out of the pond and kite in the ocean which allows a lot more freedom and space.
The pond is not an ideal place for learning, however, on the ocean side it is about waist depth for about a quarter of a mile. This is a very unique kiting destination because of its flat water on one side and ideal learning conditions on the ocean side. November to April is the peak season when you’ll find a sea breeze coming in most days.
There are three beaches at Woodmans Point, also known as Woodies. It’s very simple: Beach 1 is where beginners go, Beach 2 is where intimidates go, and Beach 3 is for advanced riders. This isn’t a specific rule but that’s usually what happens. Especially as Beach 3 is an offshore spot and only suitable for advanced riders. There’s a sand spit which goes out from the beach that shelters the water on the other side making it butter-flat.
There is a lot of riding to be enjoyed at the Woodies thanks to the three beaches. Currently, there are no shops nearby, just pristine sand and ocean.
This place is a surfer’s paradise. The coastline is filled with world-class breaks and has produced some of the best surfers in the world. It’s a great town and the region is famous for wineries, so the vibe is cool and relaxed. The kiting is mostly waves and big winds. The famous ‘Main Break’ at Prevelly is where the kitesurfers usually go. This is an advanced spot, as waves are intense and there’s not much room for error as it breaks onto reef. If you’re a capable kitesurfer, head out here and you’ll catch some of the best waves of your life. Pack a small kite because when that sea breeze kicks in it cranks. But it’s a world-class wave to surf and kite.
Prevelly Park is close to the surf breaks but there’s not much going on at night. It’s pretty laid back but if you want some night activity check out Margaret River’s main strip. There are many restaurants where you can wine and dine. And the Settlers Tavern is great to go for a spot of drinking and socialising. They often have live acts and a great selection of local beers. There’s even a double decker bus that takes you home on the weekends. With surf shops and a culture of surfing that’s been around since the 1950’s this is vintage Australian surfing scene. The kitesurfing is growing in popularity too and you can buy gear in the area if you need some spares – check out Mr Kite and Sail for lessons and gear.
Before leaving Margret River be sure to check out surrounding beaches and towns. Gracetown is a surfing town just ten minutes away. There is one little shop and a café here. Just out the front there is ‘North Point’, a very famous wave featured in most Australian surfing videos.
Another world-class spot that has two sides, flat water on one with waves and ocean on the other. This is one of the best lagoons in Australia to practice all those new tricks you’ve been thinking about trying. It is located about 30-minutes south of Margret River. When the wind is blowing from the SE direction, it’s perfect. A popular spot for kiting but one that doesn’t get too crowded. Just like Safety Bay and the Woodies, you will find some professionals coming here through the summer season for training.
There is also a beach break with smallish whitewash waves. It’s a great spot to learn if you’ve never ridden in waves before. It’s also an excellent beginner’s location, with plenty of beach space and not too many people around. Augusta is a quiet town that has plenty of facilities and accommodation, including hotels, caravan parks and hostels. Elemental Kiteboarding offer lessons in the area.
East Coast: From far north QLD to Melbourne in the south
This kiteboarding destination is a little bit out of the way but don’t let that put you off. It is windy most days and huge coastlines allow for a variety of conditions. The best spot is the beach at Cooktown’s golf club where there’s a river mouth which creates a flat water lagoon on the inside, and on the outside, there are waves and open ocean to play in. Remember, you’re in Far North Queensland, and crocodiles have been spotted in the lagoon at night.
There’s not much in the way of nightlife other than a couple of taverns for a beer in the town and some hotels/B&B’s. Check out Australian Kite Safari, who run tours and trips up to Cooktown and even further North.
Port Douglas has rarely been given a bad review – the place is stunning. Four Mile beach is the main recreational area, running all the way to the busier area which has a swimming zone. No kiting is allowed there but further up the beach there is a spot where all the kiters go. The conditions at Four Mile are great fun, at their best on a mid-tide when lagoons fill and small kickers add variety.
If you keep going further round the bay you can find some amazing flat-water lagoons. Not many people kite in these lagoons as there is not much room but go check them out.
There’s a large variety of hotels and hostels, from five-star luxury to chilled hostels. There are also loads of places to eat and a nightclub which is good for a night out. Although if you head 40-minutes south to Cairns you’ll find a busier and more full-on nightlife scene.
There is a shop called WindSwell who run lessons and offer a large variety of kiting and SUP tours.
Alva is the main kite spot near Townsville. It’s one of the best Australia kiteboarding destinations on the East Coast, with massive sand bars creating flat water lagoons. As the tide drops more and more sand bars form, making it a flat water paradise. Offshore there are also banks which create small waves. These work on a low tide and the inner ones on the higher tides. It is a spot which has a lot to offer and is definitely worth checking out if you’re ever in the region In The Loop Kiteboarding is based here.
Ideal for intermediate to expert riders, this spot only works on a northerly or north-easterly wind. But when it’s on, it’s on. A really cool spot, you have waves on the outside and flat water on the inside. Some parts of the beach can get rather busy so make sure you find your own launching and landing spot. With a rock wall protecting the inside flat water section, it is some of the flattest water you will find. The surf point break at the tip means you can get some super smooth waves.
Be careful not to kite too far into the lagoon, as the wind tends to be obstructed by the trees the further you get in. It works best on an out-going tide when you can just set up on the sand near the car park in the estuary, play in the flat water for a while then head out into the waves. Watch out for boats and jet skis, as this is a heavily used boating channel. If you are not a confident rider, stay close to shore and don’t ride near the boats.
Byron Bay and the surrounding area is a world-class spot mixed with great vibes and a thriving culture. There are plenty of areas just 30-minutes drive from Byron. Kiting here is good but be careful of beach goers, swimmers and surfers. The southern section of the beach near the lighthouse is where you’ll find kiters going on a windy day and when the direction is right. Just over the headland you have Tallows, which is a huge stretch of beach ideal for kiteboarding. However, no power kites or kitesurfing is allowed at Cosy Corner where hang-gliders land – that is, north of the southern-most track to the carpark. Both Byron Bay and Tallows are wave spots, beginners should make sure they are accompanied by a confident kiteboarder.
Take out your surfboard and catch some waves or twin tip to bust some moves on flat-water in between waves. Perfect. There is a real buzz around Byron Bay with a huge surfing culture, making it one of the best Australia kiteboarding destinations. In the summer months a lot of backpackers arrive so it can become very busy. But this also means there is a massive variety of accommodation, restaurants and nightlife. Check out Byron Bay Kitesurfing it is one of Australia’s longest running kite schools.
St Kilda’s West Beach is one of the best Australia kiteboarding destinations, and it’s Melbourne’s most central teaching location. St Kilda can be crowded so be careful when setting up and riding here. The teaching area can also become busy in peak summer season, so be aware that if you enter this area it’s likely that you’ll encounter someone who is learning to kitesurf and may not be in complete control. However, many experienced kiteboarding instructors will be in teaching in this area and can assist if there is a problem.
There are plenty of beaches and spots around St Kilda that work on all different wind directions. There are plenty of kite schools in St Kilda such as Zu Board Sports and Kite Republic, so drop by and ask for there recommendations. Of course, this being Melbourne there is plenty of accommodation, restaurants and bars with a good general vibe around.
So, there you have Tommy’s list of the ten best Australia kiteboarding destinations. As you can see, there is a huge variety of conditions, facilities and experiences on offer. But then would you expect anything less from Australia?
Find out more about Tommy Gaunt and his new kite school in Anegada in the British Virgin Islands by visiting: www.tommygauntkitesurfing.com