Moderately hazardous: 4-6
Highly hazardous: 7-8
Extremely hazardous: 9-10
At Norah Head the shoreline turns and swings to the southwest down towards The Entrance. Rocky shores dominate the first 2 km south of the head, with two exposed beaches (NSW 273 & 274) located amongst the rocks and reefs and separated by the low Soldiers Point. The road from Norah Head runs out to a large car park located to the lee of the point, providing good views and access to both beaches. The first is Pebbly Beach (NSW 273, also called Gravelly Beach), which lies 500 m south of the head. It can be reached on foot from the Norah Head road in the north, or the Soldiers Point car park at the southern end. It is 600 m long, faces southeast and lies between low bluffs and wide rock platforms. The beach receives waves slightly reduced by the seaward protrusion of Soldiers Point, which usually maintain a continuous bar during low waves, or cut by rips against the rocks and one toward the centre during higher waves. In addition rocks often are exposed along the southern half of the beach.
On the southern side of Soldiers Point is Soldiers Beach, (NSW 274) a popular swimming and surfing beach, but also a potentially hazardous location (Fig. 4.158). On average the lifesavers rescue 80 people each year, the second highest in the State for a non-metropolitan beach. The beach lies at the end of Soldiers Point Road, which terminates with two large car parks either side of the Soldiers Beach SLSC (formed in 1953). The beach faces the southeast and sweeps for 900 m between the northern Soldiers and southern Pelican points where the beach swings round to face the northeast. Along most of the beach waves average 1.6 m and maintain a single bar that is usually cut by a strong permanent rip against Soldiers Point, a weaker rip against Pelican Point, and 1-3 beach rips depending on wave conditions. Often a strong northerly current runs along the northern half during southeast swell conditions.
These are two rip-dominated beaches, with strong permanent rips against the rocks. Only swim when patrolled and between the flags.
The northern Soldiers Point provides a reasonable left over the reef, while down the beach waves break on the bars into the deep rip channels, with a bigger right off the southern rocks called Sunset.
The flat rocks either end of the beaches allowing access to deeper water, however beware as waves sweep over the rocks at high tide.
- Formal parking area