Agnes Waters is a quiet little surfing town with long stretches of beautiful beaches, lovely bush walks (aka trail walks – see, I’m turning Aussie already!), and a kangaroo sanctuary where you can feed and pet baby kangaroos!
It is the highest point on the East Coast where you can go surfing. Any higher and you’re getting attacked by all sorts of sea creatures. So a lot of travellers coming from North are stoked to give surfing a try, and those coming from South are desperately trying to perfect their surfing skills before ditching it until their next adventure. It is also the cheapest place on the East Coast for surfing lessons. Below, I will compare the main three surf schools in Agnes Waters.
SURF SCHOOLS IN AGNES WATERS
REEF 2 BEACH SURF SCHOOL For only $17/lesson, these guys take out massive groups of people out to the main beach everyday for 3 hours. I didn’t have a chance to take a lesson with them but I was told the instructor to student ratio was very low. However, if you’ve already been introduced to surfing and only looking to touch up on your skills, they could be a great option. After all, you get what you pay for.
LAZY LIZARD SURF SCHOOL Lessons are taught at the main beach and last 2 hours. The instructor to student ratio never goes over 1 to 8 which was my favourite part of this surf school. Lessons are $25 and discounts for multiple bookings is available for those staying longer than a couple of days.
GNARLY TOURS A very fun and eventful afternoon with Gnarly Tours. They’re definitely very popular in Agnes as they work directly with one of the best hostels in town. They also offer free gopro photos with lessons which is a winner with all backpackers. They drive out to a beach outside of town and tend to go in very large groups with only 2 instructors and often not enough boards for everyone so you end up sharing. Although that’s not usually an issue as surfing can become very tiring and a break every now and again is needed. Lessons cost $25 and last about 3 hours, they also have deals for those who are looking to book multiple lessons. I think it’s worth mentioning that depending on which instructor you pair up with you may not get much formal training on how to surf. One instructor focuses on the adventure/fun side of the lesson whereas the other is very technical and a great teacher, so you have options depending on what you’re after!
HOSTELS IN AGNES WATERS
BACKPACKERS @ 1770 A very laid back and relaxing atmosphere. The common room was my favourite part of the hostel, filled with comfy couches and cool pieces of art everywhere.
BEACHSIDE 1770 YHA My favourite part about the YHA was the lovely staff that worked there. I went in to ask about work for accommodation opportunities and they were extremely friendly and welcoming! Unfortunately due to my time-limit I was not able to work there but we hung out for the entire week that I was there! Other high lights: they are the closest hostel to the beach with a direct pathway only steps away from their front door!
COOL BANANAS The most popular hostel in Agnes. A family owned business who have extended their family by welcoming backpackers from all over the world (some staff have been there for months with no plan of leaving!) The atmosphere is very chilled and friendly. I met some amazing people here and we sat around for hours having deep life chats. Conversations can get very deep when there’s not much to do in a town!
TIPS FOR AGNES WATERS & TOWN OF 1770
- The town of 1770 is approximately 6 km from Agnes Waters and it is an ideal place for catching gorgeous sunrises and sunsets. It’s also a great place to stay for campers and camper vans as the campsite is located right on the beach. But be sure to book early as it gets fully booked during the high season.
- If you like walking, I highly recommend the walk on the beach from Agnes Waters to 1770. It is secluded, peaceful, and full of gorgeous scenery (and washed up jelly fish). You can go all the way to the end and climb some rocks to get to 1770 (if you’re into that), or simply take the last pathway from the beach to the main road.
- There’s a massive Op Shop located just 20 minutes walk outside of Agnes. They carry absolutely everything from clothes and accessories to mattresses and camping equipment. And it is all sooooo incredibly cheap! Think $2-5 for clothes, you know I had to touch up on my “wardrobe” lol 😉
- If you’ve got a free day from surfing, make sure to check out the gorgeous coastal trail walks Agnes has to offer.
- If you’re not on a time crunch and want to learn how to surf or even touch up on your skills, Agnes is a great place to do it. You can get a sweet deal on board rentals if you book weekly. I even found groceries to be cheaper than the rest of the East Coast. To save even more money, commit at least 2 weeks at a hostel and work for accommodation. You’re given a bed, free breakfast (if offered by the hostel), wifi, and in some cases, free surf boards!
- Best way to unwind after a full day of surfing? Sunset yoga on the beach offered by Vitality Wellbeing 1770! Note: not all classes are on the beach and during sunset. Check their schedule for more details.
- Last but not least, listen to your heart and don’t ever force travels. This doesn’t necessarily relate to Agnes, but it’s something that came up for the first time in my travels when I was there. I was worried about money and how much I was spending on hostels so I looked for opportunities to work for accommodation. I found out hostels require at least 2 weeks commitment and because I was on a time crunch to get to Sydney, I booked a week just to get a weekly discount (which wasn’t much). The results were that the entire time I was there I wasn’t feeling like myself. I was forcing the decision to stay there just to save money. And when you force something, things don’t tend to go your way. For example, my entire goal for Agnes was to learn how to surf and while I was there I caught a cold and had no energy for anything remotely physical, let alone surfing! And when I felt a bit better, there was a massive storm and the lessons got cancelled! So I guess what I’m trying to get at is don’t let money decide your travels. Money comes and goes, and it’s always in the same form. It’s there to buy you material goods, but most importantly to buy you safety and comfort. But experiences that come with traveling are once in a lifetime opportunity. You may never get the chance to visit a place, with the same people, and certainly never at the same age again.