Top Australian Beaches

When you're thinking about great Australian beaches then Bondi, Cable Beach, Whitehaven or Bells Beach may come to mind.

Newcastle beaches?

Not really.

That's not a thought that might cross your mind.

Or is it?

Lonely Planet says it is - it ranked Newcastle at number 9 in the top 10 cities in the world for 2011.

So we headed there to take a look.

australian beaches newcastle ocean baths

And this is what we found:

  • A strip of beaches that stretches along 5 km of open ocean;
  • Several ocean pools, some really, really huge;
  • A beautiful coastal walk going uphill to King Edward Park and then downhill to Merewether beach;
  • A couple of lookout areas to embrace the whole city and beyond;
  • Picnic areas and kiosks with tables and benches to savour your lunch while taking in the breeze and the views;
  • Beautiful waterfront character homes, 19th century terraces lovingly maintained, colourful and decorated with intricate lacing.

Newcastle's ranking in the top 10 world cities was not due only to its natural beauty and its great beaches.

It was also about its artists, photographers, fashion designers, art galleries and probably about the transformation from an industrial site into a creative, inspirational city. And also about the restaurants, cafes, bars, live music and the laid-back outdoor lifestyle.

australian beaches newcastle outdoor lifestyle

But as we only spent half a day there, I'll stick to the beaches.

So here we go.

Top Australian Beaches - Newcastle Surf Coast

australian beaches newcastle beach

The Bathers Way is a 5 km coastal walk that runs from north to south and links Nobbys beach to Merewether.

Uphill and then downhill, the slopes are quite easy and the walk is very pleasant.

You have all the great beaches and pools on your left side and the line of majestic homes on your right side.

australian beaches newcastle nobbys lighthouse

Start at Nobbys Lighthouse, go along the sandy beach and get to the Soldiers Bath below Fort Scratchley.

If you have time go and visit the Military and Maritime museums.

If not continue your walk towards Newcastle beach and Ocean Baths.

australian beaches newcastle ocean baths art deco buidling

The big pools at the Ocean Baths are free to use. The Ocean Baths were opened in 1912 and the historic pavilion in front of them with an art deco facade of the building dates back to 1930.

Another pool along the coastal walk, the Bogey hole, is the oldest man-made rock pool built by convicts. If you are just in a walking mood and don't want to get wet you can catch a glimpse of it from King Edward Park.

The park and the nearby Shepherds Hill complex housed an army observation post, a RAAF radar station and a war signal station to monitor shipping movements during WWII.

australian beaches newcastle lookout

Continue your walk to Strzelecki lookout from where you have 360 degrees views.

Start going down towards Bar beach, which is family friendly and has a rock pool.

australian beaches newcastle picnic areas

Next to it is Dixon Park beach good for surfers. Both beaches have free barbecues and sheltered picnic areas.

australian beaches newcastle merewether baths

Finally you arrive at Merewether beach and ocean baths which is said to be the largest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere.

australian beaches newcastle bodyboarders

Newcastle beaches are excellent for surfing and body boarding.

They make this busy and very large coal exporting port look like a holiday site. But Newcastle is more about business then holidays. We counted 15 large ships waiting to get into the harbour. See the white dots on the horizon line in the image above?

australian beaches newcastle tug boats

And here are some tug boats in the harbour heading towards the ocean to help maneuever the large coal ships in.

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