Our Australian beaches and harbours are famous for their amazing sailing, surfing and scuba diving. But if you’re heading overseas this year, why not sample somewhere a bit different for your favourite pastime? Check out our suggestions for watersports places in different parts of the globe.
Kingston, Ontario, is known as the freshwater sailing capital of the world (all this time we thought it was Sydney Harbour!) The annual Canadian Olympic Training Regatta is held here in late August. It’s a beautiful freshwater paradise and you can hire sailboats to make a day of it.
Visit Ahoy Rentals to find out more about sailboat hire, kayaking and other activities.
The Firth of Forth, on the East Coast of Scotland, has a mix of open and sheltered sailing, and many harbours do not charge dues. Good places to see are the pretty harbour of West Wemyss, picturesque Inchcolm Island and fascinating Bass Rock. Look out for aggressive gulls in the mating season at Inchcolm, and watch for submerged cabling in its harbour!
Find out more about sailing in the Firth of Forth.
The Greek Islands
Clear blue waters, white beaches and pretty much no-one to bug you – that’s the Greek Island sailing experience! Sail all day on the beautiful Mediterranean, then when you want some food and company, pull in at one of the little harbours for great Greek food and nightlife from the many restaurants scattered across this islands.
Santorini, Mykonos and Kos are some of the more famous destinations – or you could ask the locals and chart your own course.
Florida, with a similar climate to the Gold Coast, is well known for many watersports including waterskiing. There are no real beaches at Florida Keys, but the atmosphere at Key West is worth the trip. Summer is hurricane season, so check the weather before you go – and it usually gets quite busy there leading up to the 4th of July. There are many waterskiing schools in Florida – a simple Google search will show a variety of options.
Jeffrey’s Bay, South Africa, is renowned as having the ‘perfect wave’, and is considered one of the top three surfing spots in the world. Although it’s a bit overdeveloped, there are also many great backpackers there. Try Island Vibe where you can watch the sunset from the deck, laze around the pool, take a surf lesson if you’re a beginner, or grab a beach horse-ride – there’s plenty to do as well as surf!
Bali has a range of surfing experiences for beginners and experienced riders. If you’re not fazed by reefs, strong undertows and massive waves, try Ulu Watu, where waves typically reach over 6m, or Padang Padang, with razor sharp coral reefs, but also some of the best surf breaks in Bali. If you’re a beginner, these aren’t recommended – try Serengan or Kuta Beach – good beach breaks and lots of people to help if you get into trouble.
November to April is the best time to visit for surf breaks.
Andaman Sea, Thailand
Beautiful marine life, colourful exotic soft coral and an amazing variety of sharks and reef fish- if that’s what you like, then the Andaman Sea is the spot for you. It’s not for beginners, as there are sometimes waves and weather to deal with, but it’s well worth it for the experienced diver.
The Blue Hole, Belize
The incredible Blue Hole was made famous by Jacques Cousteau, who declared it one of the top ten scuba diving sites in the world. It is a limestone sinkhole of 145m depth, surrounded by coral reefs, known for the deep blue colour that gives it its name. The Hole is the opening to a series of caves and tunnels that are just waiting to be explored. See live coral, hammerhead sharks, reef fish and many other marine creatures. It is still pretty un-touristy, and has some of the world’s best preserved marine ecosystems.
Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
Warm, clear water, perfect weather almost all year round, and both well-known and untouched scuba areas, Grand Cayman is known as the best of all the Caribbean diving sites.
Summer (June – September) is often quiet, as rain and hurricane warnings put a lot of people off. It does get quite busy from mid-December to mid-April, so if cyclones don’t bother you, go in summer!