Beach Newport Beach was a quiet rural area until the 1930s, when weekenders started visiting, followed by residential development in the 1950s and 60s. The beach however was popular early with the Newport Beach SLSC being formed in 1911. Today Barrenjoey Road runs behind the northern half of the beach, which is adjacent to the shopping area, with a substantial reserve between the road and the beach providing a park, parking, picnic facilities and the surf club. South of the club a large stormwater drains crosses the beach, beyond which the backing slopes rise towards 50 m high Bungan Head.
The 1.3 km long beach faces east and extends from the rocks at Newport Head in a gentle arc to the lee of Newport Reef, a sandstone reef that extends 1 km due east and substantially reduces the east and southeast swell toward the south. Wave height decreases down the beach from 1 m in the north to less than 0.5 m in the south. The surf reflects this having an attached bar the length of the beach, but usually only cut by 2-3 rips north of the surf club, with permanent rips against the northern rocks and around the small northern reef. To the south the bar is usually continuous with no rips (Fig. 4.199 & 4.200). A narrow sand beach continues on past the rock pool, between the rocks and the cliff.
Swimming Newport is a moderate energy northside beach. While it is twice as long as its neighbours Avalon and Bilgola and has bigger crowds, it averages half the number of rescues, an indication of the less hazardous swimming conditions. Best between the flags, to the south and in the rock pool. Be careful swimming up the beach, as it is the surfers’ domain, and has a small reef and rips.
Surfing This is the home beach of three times world surfing champion, Tom Carroll. The surf is however limited to The Peak, an inshore reef toward the northern end. It produces reasonable lefts and rights under low to moderate swell conditions. The rest of the beach provides beach breaks with quality depending on wave, wind and bar conditions. When the east to southeast swell is up, the southern Newport Reef, provides big easy waves breaking slowly over a gentle reef and sand slope. Further out on the north side of the reef itself east to northeast waves produce a heavy right called Crosswaves or The Path.
Fishing The northern rocks and gutters are the most popular spots, with the southern reef fished during heavy conditions. Gutters are infrequent along the beach.