Redhead Beach Insider's Guide

Redhead Beach

Redhead Beach lies at the northern end of Nine Mile Beach at Lake Macquarie.

It's a popular surfing and swimming spot near Newcastle and a great beach for kids and walking dogs.

The beach is patrolled from the September school holidays until April.

Make sure you swim between the flags to stay safe because there can be strong rip currents.

Swimming is beside the shark tower at the Redhead Surf Life Saving Club. There are heaps of rock pools for the kids to play in.

Looking at the shark tower

This is a great spot to escape the summer crowds. The beach is vast, parking is easy to find and the scenery is stunning.

View of the beach

If you'd like a bird-eye view of Nine Mile Beach, park your car on Iluka St corner Redhead St and walk on the path to the lookout. The scenery is stunning.

The massive rocky cliff at the northern end is the first thing you notice when stepping on the sand at Redhead Beach. It's quite an impressive cliff because it's so steep.

Actually, the name "Redhead" originates from the red colour of this cliff when seen from the ocean.

the steep rocky cliff at the beach.

The next thing you notice looking southward to Nine Mile Beach is the beach stretches for, well, miles – it actually measures 7 miles (11 kilometres).

The untouched stretch of sand is backed by sand dunes and Belmont Wetlands State Park.

Looking at miles of beaches from the lookout.

There's another patrolled swimming spot at the southern end of Nine Mile Beach: Blacksmiths Beach.

On the other side of Blacksmiths is Swansea Channel, the entrance of the Pacific Ocean into Lake Macquarie.

If you'd like to walk your dog on the beach, the extremely spacious dog-friendly section is a bit further south from the flags.

The pathway leading to the dog-friendly section of the beach.

To access the dog-friendly beach section, park at Cain Street Reserve on Cain Street and follow the path to the beach.

And enjoy delicious fish and chips or an egg and bacon roll at Cargo Espresso Bar beside the beach while taking in the stunning ocean views!

4WD Driving

Here's the fun part…

You can drive on the sand with a 4WD between Awabakal and Jewel Streets.

Access to the 4WD section of the beach is from Awabakal Street or Kallaroo Road near Jewells crossing.

4WD beach driving sign

You must have a permit to drive on the sand and your 4WD must be registered.

You can get a permit online and find more information here.

Remember that the sand is soft so reduce your tyre pressure to at least 15psi to avoid getting bogged. And take recovery equipment with you such as snatch-strap, shackle, shovel, MaxTrax, a tyre deflator and a compressor.

Unfortunately, beach camping is no longer allowed, but you can enjoy a fire. Bring your own firewood and a specifically designed fire container. Also, make sure there's no fire ban in place.

Where to Stay

Most visitors to Redhead Beach stay in a holiday rental. You can search on a site such as Airbnb. Here's an excellent accommodation:

Luxury Beach Front House is a fantastic house with excellent amenities. It's perfect for two or three couples with kids and dogs. And the location couldn't be better – right beside the beach!

Redhead Beach – Getting There

Redhead Beach is worth the drive from Sydney, Newcastle or the Central Coast.

Seagulls and vast empty beach

From Sydney: 2 hrs north on the M1. Take the Doyalson/Swansea exit.

From Terrigal: 1 hr 15 min north on Pacific Highway. 

From Newcastle: 25 min south via Pacific Highway.

There’s ample parking at the SLSC.

Large carpark at the beach

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