One hundred and fourteen metre high Diamond Head is composed of resilient Triassic volcanic trachyte, which gives it a rich red colour. It was sighted and named Indian Head by Captain Cook in 1770, after he sighted 'natives' on its slopes. To the south of the head is a 15 km long southward sweep of the coast to Crowdy Head, with two beaches (NSW 183 & 184) occupying the shore, most of which is located in Crowdy Bay National Park.
At 14.8 km long, Crowdy Beach (NSW 184) is the longest on this section of coast. It starts at the rocks that barely separate it from Kylie Beach and trends due southwest, until 4 km from Crowdy Head, where in Crowdy Bay it begins to curve in lee of the head and actually faces northwest against the head (Fig. 4.101). All but the southern 3 km lie in the Crowdy Head National Park. The park preserves both the beach and the backing coastal heathland and swamps situated on 100 000 year old Pleistocene barrier deposits, an area that provides a habitat for more than 100 species of birds. The beach is accessible in the north at Kylie, Mermaid and Fig Tree car parks, then there is a detour to the south and a car park at Crowdy Head SLSC. The surf club was formed in 1956 to patrol the beach for the Harrington-Crowdy residents. Most of the beach is exposed to waves averaging 1.6 m and has a double bar system, with rips cutting the usually attached inner bar, then a deep trough and the outer bar. Towards the south the beach sand becomes very fine and the beach wide, low and firm. At the same time wave height drops in lee of Crowdy Head and the outer bar mergers with the inner resulting in a wide, low gradient surf zone (Fig. 4.103). Rips still occur with a permanent rip against the boulder beach leading to the head.
The small Crowdy Head settlement is a fishing port with two short breakwaters built in the 1960s to enclose the small boat harbour. Combined with its neighbour Harrington they have a population of 1450. The houses are nestled on the exposed circular 55 m high Crowdy Head, which is surrounded by ocean apart from a 400 m of beach and sand that connect it to the adjoining beaches. The head is largely cleared and was quarried between 1895-1901 for the Manning River training wall. It does however contain a small remnant stand of littoral rain forest.
SLSA provides this information as a guide only. Surf conditions are variable and therefore this information should not be relied upon as a substitute for observation of local conditions and an understanding of your abilities in the surf. SLSA reminds you to always swim between the red and yellow flags and never swim at unpatrolled beaches. SLSA takes all care and responsibility for any translation but it cannot guarantee that all translations will be accurate.