Photograph by Jason Knott, Alamy
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A surfer looks toward fellow wave riders at Margaret River in western Australia.

Photograph by Jason Knott, Alamy

Surf At Margaret River in Australia

There's plenty of coastline in Australia, but not all of it is lined with towering forests and limestone caves.

Recommended by: Mark Healey, Surfer

One thing Australia has in abundance is coastline, and with that comes waves. Though there are plenty of places to catch them, Healey’s favorite is unequivocally the Margaret River.

"The Margaret River itself is the main spot," he says. "It’s a world-famous wave. When it’s small, it can be pretty damn user-friendly. When it gets bigger, it gets more challenging. At the same time, it’s not untouchable." Surfers of all stripes can find a ride in this southwestern corner of Australia, which has over 75 spots, from gentle beach surf to giant reef breaks.A large part of the appeal of the area, however, is its natural beauty and easy lifestyle. On shore are forests full of some of the world’s tallest hardwood trees and limestone caves with some of the longest stalactites on the planet.

Nearby, Australia’s best vineyards churn out world-class Cabernets and Chardonnays. Surprisingly, despite the surfers and oenophiles that flock here, the region maintains a mellow vibe, and it’s surprisingly easy to find solitude. “You can go on beaches for days where you won’t see a footprint,” Healey says.

Plan This Trip: The Margaret River Surf School offers rentals and lessons. For information on traveling, visit the Augusta Margaret River Tourism Association’s website.

Mark Healey is the consummate waterman. He has surfed some of the world’s famed big breaks, like Waimea, Jaws, and Mavericks, free dived with sharks—and caught a ride on the tail of a great white—and he regularly spearfishes for dinner, holding his breath for up to four minutes at a stretch.