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At the dome-like 55 m high Crowdy Head the shoreline turns trends for the southwest for 30 km to Red Head. The first 18 km extends past the mouth of the Manning River to Farquhar Inlet and contains two longer beaches. The first is Harrington Beach (NSW 185), which together with Crowdy Bay beach ties Crowdy Head to the backing Pleistocene barrier deposits. The beach runs southwest from the head for 5.6 km to the northern Manning River entrance wall at Harrington. Between 1895 and 1901 the 300 million year old sandstone rock from Crowdy Head was quarried and transported by railway line along the back of the dunes to Harrington, for construction of the northern entrance wall. The dunes were badly destabilised by the 1950s and drifting onto the Crowdy Lagoon wetlands. A stabilisation program commenced in 1983 resulting in the present stable, vegetated system. The road from Crowdy Head runs the full length of the beach with access provided from Crowdy Head, across the dunes, or in the south at the car park for the Harrington Beach Walk which takes in the beach and dune vegetation, including a small stand of littoral rain forest. The beach faces the southeast and receives waves averaging 1.6 m, which produces a well-developed double bar system. The inner bar is usually attached to the beach and cut by rips every 200-300 m, with more widely spaced rips on the outer bar. A strong permanent rip runs out against Crowdy Head, and in the south the extensive and highly variable river mouth bars are a danger to both swimmers and boaters (Fig. 4.104). The river usually runs out against the northern wall producing strong tidal currents.
Beach Length: 5.6km
General Hazard Rating: 7/10

Patrolled Beach Flag Patrols

There are currently no services provided by Surf Life Saving Australia for this beach. Please take the time to browse the Surf Safety section of this website to learn more about staying safe when swimming at Australian beaches. Click here to visit general surf education information.


Formal parking area
Formal parking area



Topographic rips


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.