Redhead Beach

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

It’s a popular surfing and swimming spot near Newcastle...

The beach is patrolled from the September/October school holidays until ANZAC day on the 25th of April.

Redhead Beach

Swim between the flags:

The flags are beside the shark tower at Redhead Surf Lifesaving Club (SLSC). There are heaps of rock pools for the kids to play.

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 view is amazing (top picture).

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

The name “Redhead” originates from the red colour of the 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 km.

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

Looking at miles of beaches from the lookout.

At the southern end of Nine Mile Beach lies another patrolled swimming spot: 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 dog-friendly section is a bit further south from the flags…

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

The dog-friendly section is out of reach from the SLSC.

Park at Cain Street Reserve on Cain Street and walk through the bush on the pathway with your dog on a leash. Take the leash off once at the sand.

Check the map below.

4WD Driving

Here’s the fun part…

You’re allowed to drive on the sand with a 4WD between north of Awabakal Street and south of Jewel Street.

Access to the 4WD section of the beach is from Awabakal St, Blacksmiths, or Kallaroo Rd near Jewells crossing, Belmont North.

4WD beach driving sign

You must have a permit to drive on the sand (since 2015) and your 4WD must be registered.

Get a permit online or at a designated outlet:

The closest outlet to Redhead that sells permits is Metro Redhead Petrol Station, 100 Collier St, Redhead. You’ll need your driver’s license and vehicle registration.

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.

You can also camp at the beach by the creek, make a fire, and take your dog and fishing gear.

Just remember there are no toilets, water or garbage bins… it’s a primitive place after all.

Where to Stay

Most visitors in Redhead Beach stay in a holiday rental. You can search on a site like Stayz or Airbnb.

Haven’t used Airbnb before?

Use our unique Airbnb referral link and receive from $20 to $70 discount on your first stay.

The coupon amount depends on the total cost of your stay, which must be at least $400. (To get the max discount of $70, the total cost of your stay would have to be over $1,400.)

Click here to get your Airbnb coupon.

You just have to register with your name and email address, and your coupon will be automatically applied to your first booking.

These are top places to stay near the beach in Redhead:

(As an Airbnb Associate, I earn when you book through one of these links, at no cost to you.)

  • Redhead Beach Escape is a great and clean apartment a short walk to the beach, and you can enjoy drinks on the front deck. It’s perfect for two people. The hosts can provide a portable cot and a small mattress for free if you’re travelling with small children. 
  • Luxury BeachFront House is a fantastic house with excellent amenities. It’s perfect for two or three couples and kids because the three bedrooms have queen beds. It’s a fabulous house for dogs as well, and the location couldn’t be better. It’s right beside the beach!

Other Beaches at Lake Macquarie

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

Follow the directions on Google Maps. 

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Hi! I'm Christine.

When we moved to the Central Coast from Sydney 15 years ago, we struggled to find thorough information about the beaches, bushwalks and hidden gems, so we set out to explore as best as we could. Now that we have visited every town, beach and secret spot, I'll help you discover this stunning region! 


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