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Where to Surf in Newcastle, Australia

Placed like a polished prize along the coast of New South Wales, Newcastle ranks as one of the top surf towns in Australia.

Only about a two hours drive north of Sydney, it offers a rich surfing history that is rooted within the already tight-knit community. 

Surfing in a town that may not be as high on the radar to non-Aussies, deciding on a spot to surf can be daunting to visitors. Here’s some guidance and what to expect.

Newcastle Surf Guide

Waves in Newcastle

Newcastle hosts a variety of breaks for every kind of surfer, a surf town frequented by pros, beginners and everyone in between. 

Depending on where you go, you can find some slabs or rollers within a five minute drive of one another. There are a plethora of beach breaks with some reefs scattered in the mix. The most well-known spots are along Merewether in Newcastle.

Surf Culture at Newcastle

A pillar of surfing history, Newcastle is home to the legends Mark Richards, Julian Wilson and current tour surfers the likes of Ryan Callinan, Jackson Baker and Morgan Cibilic.

It also has been a WSL CT tour stop throughout the years and continues to be a popular spot for regional surf competitions like the Surfest Newcastle.

The culture of surfing runs deep within the foundation of this town and is upheld proudly among Newy locals.

While strongly a “born and bred” type of place, the people are nothing short of friendly to anyone passing through.

Since this isn’t a major tourist scene, expect slow mornings, good coffee, even better waves and easy days you can cruise through. 

Gear Needed to Surf In Newcastle

The waves here are pretty all around, so any board will suffice.

On small days, it can be fun on a mid length, log or fish.

When there is a swell, which Newcastle can pick up almost too well it’s annoying, a high performance shortboard is your best bet.

Since it is further south in Australia, it can get pretty cold in the spring and winter, hitting the mid to low 60s Fahrenheit.

We recommend a 3/2 or 4/3 full wetsuit.

During the fall and summer, water temperatures get up to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, so a bikini or boardies will do just fine. 

The Best Spots to Surf in Newcastle

Spot 1: Nobbys

On the peninsula toward the Lighthouse, Nobbys Beach is a beach break more protected than the other spots in Merewether.

It offers clean, long left and rights with the right wind direction and isn’t tide dependent. 

This is a good spot for beginners or groms when it may be bigger at other spots.

There is a parking lot that is straight to the beach. It’s often not too crowded and has easy access.

Spot 2: Bar Beach

Bar Beach is the furthest north spot along the long stretch of beach in Merewether. Located near the boardwalk and the hub of the coastal town, there is plenty of parking around.

There is a parking lot at the top of the cliff, neighborhood parking and parking along the streets beside the boardwalk.

Bar beach is an exposed beach break that takes NE, E, or SE swells and works best with NW wind direction. While the sandbar can change, it provides some fun punchy left handers.

It can be anywhere from average size to pumping double overhead surf.

The waves hold up well all the way to shore and provide a wonderful canvas for deep carves and snappy turns.

On bigger swells, this spot is for more experienced surfers due to the wave power and the crowds.

The locals can get eggy if you clearly don’t know what you’re doing – so in this case, when in doubt, maybe don’t go out and go for a swim.

Spot 3: Dixon Park

Dixon Park is between Merewether and Bar Beach on the beach strand and is one of the funnest beach breaks one can stumble upon.

This spot stays pretty consistent regardless of the swell size and can be fun for all surfing abilities. It has a sand and rock bottom that works best on a SW swell with NW winds coming in. 

On bigger days, this spot handles the swells well and can create reeling lefts and rights for advanced surfers. It can get pretty busy, so beware of the crown and locals that dominate in the lineup.

Spot 4: Merewether - Ladies

At the southern end of this beach stretch is Merewether beach.

It is an iconic reef and rock bottom that has multiple peaks depending on how it breaks with the tide.

Its alternative name, “Ladies” comes from its location out front the Merewether baths built in the 1930s for women to bathe in.

“Ladies” break is particular with conditions just like most ladies, not always breaking, but with the right tide and swell, can become a solid slab along the rocks beneath.

It breaks fairly close to shore and can be hollow, fast and powerful for those looking for some speed.

This break is for more advanced surfers and the crowd is most likely lined with rippers and groms.

It is pretty peaky, breaking further out and forming into the slab. It can be harder to read but still consistent when an easterly swell hits.

What To Do In Newcastle When the Waves Are Flat

When a flat spell hits, there’s still plenty of things to explore.

A three mile boardwalk connecting the coastline, Bathers Way is iconic to Newcastle.

The paved pathway provides beautiful views of all the beaches and connects to the Memorial Walk; an ode to the Aboriginal history. 

The Merewether Ocean Baths are the biggest ocean baths in the southern hemisphere and a unique swimming spot to bathe in the sun and lay in the warm saltwater. 

The Bogey Hole is a small ocean bath that can be full of tourists, but a fun attraction to jump in and bathe while the waves crash over.

Nobbys Lighthouse is still active and guides ships into port, sitting on a large rock on the edge of the beach. Another spot to enjoy Newcastle’s history and beauty.

The Bottom Line: Surfing Newcastle

Newcastle, Australia is a gem of a town and one of the most beautiful places one may experience.

The waves are consistent and the people are kind – there’s not much else you could want.

If you’re looking for a place to go that feels like a home away from home, I highly suggest finding your way here somehow.


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