Nobbys Head was called Nobbys Island until it was joined to the mainland by the construction of the southern Hunter River entrance wall in 1846. On the east side of the small knobbly head is a 250 m long beach (NSW 241), bordered by the entrance wall on the north and the inner rocks and reefs of Big Ben Rock in the south. In the early days of penal settlement the head was called Coal Island, where coal was mined by convicts. The beach can now be reached via the breakwater road. It is a moderately protected beach and waves average less than 1 m, producing a steep beach fronted by a continuous shallow bar, with rocks in the surf toward Big Ben.
Nobbys Beach (NSW 242) was also formed as a result of the entrance wall, and today the wall backs the entire beach. During big seas waves wash across the beach to reach the wall. At the south end a seawall continues round in front of the Nobby SLSC, founded in 1923, to car park at the foot of 20 m high Flagstaff Hill. The 900 m long beach faces the east-southeast and receives waves averaging 1.6 m on the outer reef. They are lowered along the southern section of beach where the bar is usually attached bar, with higher waves and rips dominating the northern end. The higher waves break on the northern reef and reform in a wide deep trough before reaching the beach as a strong shorebreak, with a rip flowing out of the trough (Figs. 4.140 & 4.141).
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.