Moderately hazardous: 4-6
Highly hazardous: 7-8
Extremely hazardous: 9-10
Flagstaff Point marks the coastal centre of Wollongong. The original harbour is located on its northern side, the city spreads to the immediate west and the main Wollongong City Beach (NSW 373) extends for 3.1 km to the south, terminating at a groyne located on the Port Kembla seawall. The beach is backed by an extensive foreshore reserve containing from the north, the large Wollongong City SLSC, which includes a restaurant, then the showground, Lang Park football field and reserve, Wollongong Golf Course, the sewer treatment works and finally a seawall, which is backed by stockpiles of coal for adjacent Port Kembla harbour. The beach is also called City or South Beach as opposed to the North (Wollongong) Beach. Twenty metre high Flagstaff Point also has parking and grassy parks, with additional parking, parks and picnic facilities around the surf club area.
The beach is exposed to waves averaging 1.5 m, which produce up to 20 rips along the beach (Fig. 4.300 & 4.301). The single bar between the rips is usually attached to the beach, but does detach, with a trough linking the rips, during high waves. The beach was originally considered unsafe for bathing and shark infested, however the formation of the surf club in 1913 led to its increasing popularity. In the patrol area there are normally three rips between Flagstaff Point and the surf club, with rips spaced about every 200 m down the beach, including in front of the southern 500 m long section of seawall, where often no beach sand is present. A surf club was formed at Coniston halfway down the beach in 1938, however it did not survive the war years, closing in 1943.
The southern end of Wollongong Beach has been modified by the seawall and breakwaters for Port Kembla Harbour. South of the rock groyne that forms the southern boundary of Wollongong Beach is, at times, a narrow strip of sand (NSW 374), running in front of the seawall for 1.3 km down to the northern Harbour breakwater. This is a relatively inaccessible beach and not suitable for swimming. At times the beach is eroded and the waves break straight on the seawall. When the beach is there it usually has a continuous attached bar, with rips forming during higher waves, particularly along the northern half, however the location and setting of this beach make it off limits to the public.
A potentially hazardous beach owing to the prevalence of rips along the entire length. Stay at the northern end in the patrol area and between the flags.
Picks up most swell and can offer good beach breaks when conditions are right.
The persistent, though shifting gutters along the beach are readily accessible and popular.
- Formal parking area