Newcastle Beach is located on the southern side of the headland on which the historical centre of Newcastle sits, and which forms the southern bank of the Hunter River. Nestled between sandstone cliffs to the south and rock shelves to the north, the beach is a top attraction for both locals and visitors to the Hunter region.
A dynamic 650m coastal stretch, Newcastle Beach is renowned amongst bathers and board riders alike.The iconic and picturesque Newcastle Ocean Baths sit atop the rock shelf at the north of the beach. Concealed by the cliffs at the southern end lies the hidden gem known as the Bogey Hole, a tidal rock pool hand-hewn in the early 1800s by convicts for the personal use of the settlement Commandant.
The span of Newcastle Beach itself has a southeasterly orientation, and is split into three sections by rocky outcrops.
Colloquially known by locals as ‘Shark Alley’, the sheltered northern stretch is characterised by various sea grasses and rock pools, and is a popular spot for rock fishing. The tidal ‘Canoe Pool’ offers a large, shallow and sandy space, the perfect spot for families with young children and people lacking the strong swimming ability needed for bathing on the open beach.
Newcastle SLSC sits upon the central span known as ‘Main Beach’, and is generally the most popular and safest area for ocean bathing. Even so, beachgoers should remain vigilant of the several permanent rips along this stretch, and always swim between the red and yellow flags.
Main Beach produces a variable and challenging swell which has attracted many boardriding competitions throughout the years. It is typically best in a northeast with lefts off the north rocks, and rights into the rips.
The southern stretch of the beach below the rise of Sheperds Hill is home to the ‘Southie’ break, popular with local board riders. Bathing along this stretch is strongly discouraged due to challenging surf, and this area is not actively patrolled by club or council lifeguards.
South Newcastle Beach promenade is currently undergoing works as part of the revitalisation of the historic Bathers Way, which links the 6km of Newcastle coastline from Nobbys Head to Merwether and forms part of the Great North Walk.