Despite the global convergence of taste, no two places are identical. Each has its own original aesthetic, food, music, local culture and unexpected surprises. One of the best ways to get to know a place, aside from spending time there, is to read what the locals do — and not just the newspaper. On a recent trip to Australia we allocated some quiet time to sip coffee and read. These magazines, covering surf culture, fashion, music and more, were our favorites. Whether you’re heading down under or just like a good magazine on the coffee table, these have our stamp of approval.

aus-mag-gear-patrol-tracks198 Tracks Magazine
A true surfer’s magazine that lives up to its slogan — “The Surfers’ Bible” — Tracks covers it all: girls, swells, sharks and (obviously) surfers from around the globe. But, having been around for a while (decades), this magazine has a little more soul to it. Each issue features National Geographic-worthy shots, intimate travel guides, short stories and editorials by those who always have one eye on the sea. tracksmag.com
aus-mag-gear-patrol-foam198 Foam Symmetry
Focusing more on the art, inspiration and beauty of surfing, this magazine consists mostly of photographs. Its weighted, tactile pages entice readers to patiently flip through it, and in the process get a behind-the-scenes look at the sport. foamsymmetry.com
aus-mag-gear-patrol-paper-sea198 Paper Sea Quarterly
A sort of alternative Vanity Fair, Paper Sea Quarterly is a good way to spend a whole afternoon. Their features and photo essays highlight surfing, but they also put an emphasis on the artists, vagabond lifestyle and unique fashion that accompany the sport’s creative culture. As its name implies, PSQ publishes just four times a year, but each issue, filled with candid essays and poignant (albeit abstract) photography, is a worthy afternoon-killer. papersea.com.au
aus-mag-gear-patrol-smith198 Smith Journal
This quarterly Australia-based publication isn’t a flip-through. The Smith Journal was meant as a literary meeting ground for writers, artists and creative minds. Some of their essays are nostalgic. Others have an air of clairvoyance. All — whether they be about travel, fashion, provenance or culture — are well thought out, and in some cases very funny. smithjournal.com.au
aus-mag-gear-patrol-tredlie198 Treadlie
Treadlie is a quarterly lifestyle magazine for bike enthusiasts. From design and fashion to art and culture, they cover it all. If you’re looking to explore a new city on two wheels or get insight from bike entrepreneurs, subscribe to this one. treadlie.com.au
aus-mag-gear-patrol-surfingworld198 Surfing World Magazine
Founded in 1962, this Australian publication is the second longest running surf publication in the world. Today, they’re far-reaching and ask all the sport’s hard-hitting questions: has the new WSL actually changed surfing? When will Slater retire? With in-depth op eds and humorous illustrations, they dive deep to uncover surfing’s history and cultural renaissance. surfingworld.com.au
aus-mag-gear-patrol-fete198 Fête
You’d be forgiven if you didn’t know what “fête” meant, which is why Fête explains exactly who they are on their cover. The lifestyle magazine aims to celebrate the lives of average people. With an emphasis on recipes, fashion and interior design, this light reading magazine has a refined aesthetic befitting its focus. fetepress.com.au
aus-mag-gear-patrol-huck198 Huck Magazine
Within the pages of Huck you’ll find people who “paddle against the flow”. The alternative publication focuses on the skating and surfing culture, and the lifestyles it inspires. But this international magazine cannot be pegged down so easily. They also cover politics, rap music, Middle Eastern wars, marijuana, personal celebrations (and tragedies) and more. huckmagazine.com