With six beaches and 29 surf breaks, Newcastle’s legendary waves beckon those wanting to head out for a paddle.
Surf n SUP
Local surf spots
Newcastle’s reef and beach breaks are recognised around the globe.
One thing surfers love about Newy’s beaches is you can surf in almost every wind (except for a straight easterly). When one end of the beach is choppy another corner can, with any luck, offer clean conditions.
Head for Newcastle Beach, the city’s premier town beach, when there’s a Nor’easter or Nobbys Beach when there’s a southerly. Offshore reefs tempt skilled surfers while Dixon Park and The Cliff offer good beach breaks.
Merewether Beach is one of Australia’s National Surfing Reserves (a register of iconic surfing spots). Four-time world surfing champion Mark Richards and surfers Luke Egan and Matt Hoy honed their craft on Merewether’s waves. Ryan Callinan, currently ranked in the top 20, also hails from Merewether. On big wave days crowds flock to Merewether Point to catch of glimpse of surfers taking on monster swells.
While Merewether is considered the best for big waves, beaches and reefs elsewhere are good on their day. Newcastle Beach offers the best public transport access so it does get crowded. Surfing in Newcastle is largely considered at its best in winter.
Best spots for groms
Newcastle beaches offer sheltered spots for kids and fun corners protected from sea breezes.
Nobbys and Stockton Beach are considered the best for learners. Stockton offers protection near the break wall. Head for protected southern corners, less exposed beaches or the white wash if the swell gets too big.
Learn to surf
Nobbys Beach (where the surf schools are based) is a patrolled beach with gentler tides and a sand bank making it a good place to nail the basics.
Insider Tip: Merewether surfer, Philippa Anderson, with help from fellow surfers Ellie Lambkin and Sarah Baum want to get more females in the water and help surfers achieve their own personal goals.
Smooth sailing more your style?
Head to the languid waters of Throsby Creek for some stand up paddle boarding, otherwise known as SUP.
SUP Newcastle offers lessons on Throsby Creek at Carrington using boards which are light, stable, safe and durable. If you already know how to SUP, BYO board for a social paddle with SUP Newcastle or hire one of their boards for a fun paddle session on Thursdays.
At the other extreme SUP Newcastle also offer lessons in the incredible new sport of foiling, a hybrid of surfing and hydrofoil technology.
Watch the pros
Catch the world’s best surfers at Surfest, a 12-day event at Merewether Beach.
Surfest is the largest surfing festival in the southern hemisphere with more than 850 national and international competitors from over 30 countries. While Surfest has been cancelled for 2021 due to COVID-19, plans are underway for the annual surf competition to return in 2022 – it’s 37th year.