I’ve spent a lot of time up in Newcastle, NSW so it’s about time I wrote a post about the best beaches in Newcastle within a 1 hour drive.
When I stayed with Steve’s mum for six weeks last Christmas, we spent loads of time exploring the area and the amazing beaches on offer. Just so you know, The Central Coast (which Newcastle is part of) has the best beaches near Sydney (in my opinion), so I partnered with Expedia.com.au to bring you the best beaches in Newcastle, all within a 1 hour drive. If you’ve not been to Newcastle before, hopefully this post will inspire you to because it’s a proper little gem.
10 best beaches in Newcastle
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1. Merewether beach
I’m going to start straight away with Merewether beach, Newcastle’s most famous beach. The long stretch of sand is actually split up into a three beaches; Dixon Park, Bar beach and Merewether beach.Merewether is my favourite part because they have a beautiful ocean baths and some great places to eat such as Blue Door cafe for the best acai bowl in town and Merewether Surfhouse for a fantastic sunset dinner over the beach.
Bar beach is great for families as the water is a lot flatter but it sure is an incredible sight to walk along the Newcastle Memorial Walk which overlooks all three beaches. You’ll be wondering which is better, Bondi or Newcastle ocean walk!
2. Newcastle Baths
Image source by Matt Lauder
One of Newcastle’s most famous swimming spots is Newcastle Baths which opened in 1922. You can’t see the baths from the road as it’s closed off meaning you’ll get the peace and tranquility for your swimming time. It’s a must see when visiting the area.
3. Bogey Hole, Newcastle
The Bogey Hole is one of the most iconic ocean pools in NSW. It’s a heritage listed sea bath and is the oldest European constructed site in the area, dating back to 1820. This amazing pool is in a secluded part of the city which I didn’t know existed until I saw it on Instagram. Unbeknown to me, I had actually ran past it many a times on my morning run along the coast.
4. Dudley beach
Image by Matt’s Photography
If I had to go to one beach in Newcastle, it would be Dudley beach which lies east of Merewether beach. I love this beach as it really has that secluded feel and honestly feels like you’re a million miles away from the city. It definitely has that wow feeling for me and is one of the best beaches in Newcastle.
5. Redhead beach
The nine mile beach at Redhead!
Next door to Dudley lies Redhead, a huge stretch of beach that seems to go on forever, nine miles to be exact. It’s famous for its red cliffs and you’ll get enough room to feel like you have the beach to yourself. There’s a food truck down there so you can grab some food and toilet facilities as you won’t want to be leaving anytime soon and perfect for families too.
6. Nobby’s beach
Nobby’s beach has a beautiful stretch of sand right in the middle of the city. With the famous walk to the lighthouse, you’ll notice beautiful pockets of the beach which is just gorgeous.
The walk to the lighthouse gets busy but don’t let that put you off, there’s picnic benches and toilet facilities which are perfect for families to spend the day. I love this walk, especially at sunset.
7. Caves beach
Image source: John Lechner Art
Slightly out of Newcastle, and the next beach along from Redhead lies Caves Beach. Steve’s uncle lived right opposite the beach which is just amazing. If you love a bit of exploring, you probably won’t be surprised to hear that there are some caves to explore. Just make sure you arrive at low tide to have a peak inside.
8. Bongon and Frazer beach
Just an hour south of Newcastle lies two of my favourite beaches in Australia, Bongon and Frazer beach in Munmorah State Conservation Area. Frazer is the busier beach, known for surfing and has camping spots too but around the corner is the smaller and quieter beach called Bongon.
I absolutely love both beaches, especially for the various rock pools surrounding the area and the feel that you’ve found a real hidden gem. It would be hard not to love these beaches and they are easily some of the best beaches in Newcastle!
9. Toowoon Bay
Just a little bit further down the coast past The Entrance lies Toowoon Bay. We went exploring one day and found this beautiful stretch of beach. It also has a long stretch of sand out towards the ocean providing almost two beaches in one. I was in awe when I saw how clear and turquoise the ocean is.
10. Port Stephens
Heading 1 hour north of Newcastle lies the famous Port Stephens. There’s over 26 beaches to explore in the area but here are some of my favourites:
Shoal BayImage: Booking.com
When I first saw Shoal Bay, it honestly looked like a scene from Krabi, Thailand. I couldn’t believe how we were still in Australia. The ocean is flat here so it’s good for people like me who can’t handle the waves (typical Brit!)
When you climb up to the top of Tomaree Mountain (it honestly only takes 15 mintues), you’ll see a couple of beaches ahead of you. The first one is Zenith beach, one of my favourite beaches near Newcastle. It’s absolutely gorgeous here.
Along from that view point of Tomaree Mountain lies Fingal Bay, a beautiful stretch of sand that’s truely gorgeous. If you time it right at low tide, you could even walk over to Shark Island, but be very careful if you attempt this to avoid getting stuck due to the tides.
Image: Port Stephens Tourism, by Dylan Stevanovic
Just around the corner from Fingal Bay lies a gorgeous small beach called Kingsleys. This one really feels like you’ve found the perfect gem away from any crowds.
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Honorary Mention – Seal Rocks
Although it’s a bit further away from Newcastle (1h45min drive), my favourite place I’ve discovered near Newcastle has to be without a doubt, Seal Rocks. It has a brilliant camp site overlooking the beach and there’s a few beaches to discover in the area as well as a beautiful lighthouse to walk up to.
I also love Bluey’s Beach nearby and Shelly Beach has to be my favourite. Although it’s a nudist beach, (because let’s face it, nudist beaches are always the best beaches for the seclusion) we found this beach purely by looking at google maps, not realising it was in fact a nudist beach. When we got there after a 10 minute trek through the bush, there were some nudists but it was so so beautiful, we were both in awe of this beach. We even contemplated coming back again and doing the nudist thing, but come on, the conservative Brit within me chickened out!
If you need to hire a car to get to Newcastle, then make sure you read this post on the cheapest car hire in Sydney here. What’s your favourite beach in Newcastle? Let me know in the comments section below!
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