Dusty pink clouds scattered across a blushing sky, surfers catching the last gold tinged wave of the day or a blazing sun slipping magnificently into Newcastle Harbour. Newcastle’s incredible coastline and working harbour never shine more brightly than at sunrise and sunset. Bid farewell to another brilliant day or welcome a new one at these fabulous vantage points across Newcastle.
Snap and savour a sunrise or sunset
Nobbys Beach, sunrise and sunset
A sky flushed with pink and gold over the wide sweeping expanse of Nobbys Beach guarantees a picture-perfect moment. A good vantage point is the southern end of the beach (near the Pasher Bulker sculpture or from the rock pools below) looking north towards Nobbys Lighthouse. Try to arrive at least 30 minutes before sunset. If you’re lucky an enormous freighter will enter the harbour on the opposite side of the break wall – entering your shot!
Tip: while you’re there take a stroll up to the grassland surrounding Fort Scratchley for magic city and harbour vistas at twilight.
The Bogey Hole, sunrise
Arrive just before dawn to capture the iconic Bogey Hole at its pristine best. On days when the swell is small, the Bogey Hole is like a mirror and can be so astonishingly clear you can see fish and crabs beneath the surface. On big swell days, you’ll capture waves crashing into the convict built baths.
Merewether Baths, sunrise
Set your alarm waaay before the sun has even thought about getting out of bed to capture that hero shot of the Southern Hemisphere’s largest ocean baths. Arrive before the early morning lap swimmers partake in their daily crawl up and down the non-existent lanes (although they do make great subject matter) to capture an unruffled surface. Photographers love to get a shot of the lane numbers from the southern end of the baths and of the pumphouse at the other end of the pool.
Anzac Memorial Walk, sunset
The Anzac Memorial Walk’s 450 metre clifftop span affords 360-degree views of the Pacific Ocean and out to the Hunter Valley. Sunsets looking towards Merewether Beach are particularly fetching. “Newcastle’s coastline from Nobbys to Merewether is a very photogenic stretch. It’s hard to take a bad photo here,” says Cooks Hill photographer Jessica Blacklow.
The Obelisk, sunrise and sunset
One of the city’s oldest navigational markers high on a prominent knoll overlooking Newcastle, the Obelisk makes for a brilliant sunrise or sunset vantage point. Built in 1850, the stark white obelisk and lone palm tree contrasts beautifully against a blushing sky. From the top you can see all the way to Stockton and over the lower Hunter plain.
Newcastle Ocean Baths, sunrise
Jessica Blacklow says the Newcastle Baths are her favourite sunrise spot. “You can watch the sun coming up around all the morning rituals of the locals; surfers at the Cowrie Hole and the regular morning swimmers at the baths. It really is the best time of the day when everything is fresh.” The Canoe Pool at the northern end of Newcastle Beach meanwhile makes a brilliant vantage point for both sunset and sunrise photos. The rusted chain link fence offers a textural element while the adjacent rockpools look magic bathed in golden light.
Tip: never underestimate a reverse sunrise or sunset. “Go to Newcastle Ocean Baths. Stand near the Canoe Pool and you can get the sunset and turn around and get the reverse sunset,” suggests Toni Woodcock.
Newcastle Beach, sunrise and sunset
Jessica also loves photographing surfers at Newcastle Beach. She captured this image (below) at a surf competition in February this year when there were a lot of good surfers in town. “There was a real buzz that morning as the surf was huge and the light was right. Photographers get a real high from these sorts of conditions and there were heaps of us about that morning. Such an iconic spot to photograph our coastal culture here in Newcastle.”
Tips for photographing the perfect shot
- If capturing a sunrise - take the time to prepare the night before.
- Get ready the night before. The colours change rapidly in the morning and you need to get yourself to the beach an hour before sunrise," says local photographer Nick Klynsmith.
- Follow the clouds and sun. The sun moves location throughout the year (at the moment it’s rising towards Nobbys, Nick says).
- Take snacks - whether it's a coffee for sunrise or a thermos for sunset, make sure you've got what you need to be comfortable.
- Slow shutter speeds of the water before it becomes too bright, says Nick, makes your photos look like paintings.
- If using drone of video equipment, be sure to check CASA and film permit requirements ahead of time.
Here's some of our favourite shots from around Newcastle
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