Newcastle beaches and surfing
With some of the best waves in the world at beaches which fringe its CBD, Newcastle on the NSW North Coast is the perfect place for a sunny getaway. There are long sandy beaches which run for miles and miles, vast sand dunes, coastal walking tracks and protected ocean pools perfect for families.
Both Newcastle Beach and Merewether Beach attract surfers chasing the perfect wave. Merewether is one of Australia’s National Surfing Reserves, a register of iconic surfing spots. The waves helped shape the career of Mark Richards, a four-time world surfing champ, as well as other surfing heroes like Luke Egan and Matt Hoy.
These legendary waves are perfect for beginners too and you can learn to surf year-round Surfest Surf School and Newcastle Surf School. Each February, NSW’s second-biggest city celebrates its beach lifestyle and surfing culture with Surfest, Australia’s largest surf festival.
Take a dip with history at the Bogey Hole, the oldest ocean pool on the east coast of Australia. It was cut into the rocks by convicts in 1819. The Newcastle Ocean Baths are famous for their beautiful art deco pavilion and the huge Merewether Ocean Baths are the largest complex of their kind in the southern hemisphere.
There are picnic tables and barbecue facilities in parks and reserves at a number of beaches, including Dixon Park Beach, Nobbys Beach and Stockton Beach, which is the longest beach in NSW. The giant sand dunes along Stockton Beach are popular for 4WD enthusiasts. And the ocean teems with fish.
You’ll find more coastal adventures along Stockton Beach in the Worimi Conservation Lands, home to the largest moving coastal dunes system in the Southern Hemisphere. Explore the dunes and shipwrecks in the area with Sand Dunes Adventures, Quad Bike King and Port Stephens 4WD.
Another way to experience the Newcastle coast is the Bathers Way, a scenic 5km walk from the historic Nobbys Head Lighthouse via Merewether to Glenrock State Conservation Area. You can spot humpback whales from vantage points between May and November. For an even closer look, take a whale-watching cruise with CoastXP or Nova Cruises.