The most popular beach in Newcastle is Bar-Dixon Park-Merewether beach, a 1.3 km long exposed southeast-facing beach that hosts three surf lifesaving clubs (Fig. 4.141 & 4.142). The beach is bordered by Bar Rocks in the north and the Merewether rocks and rock pool to the south. The surf clubs divide the beach into three sections. In the north is Bar Beach (NSW 245a), which is patrolled by the Cooks Hill SLSC. The beachfront club sits on slopes overlooking the beach and is backed by Memorial Drive then a park and oval. Dixon Park beach (NSW 245b) occupies the centre with the Dixon Park SLSC located on 20 m high slopes and backed by Dixon Park, with beachfront houses to either side. The southern Merewether Beach (NSW 245c) extends south to the beginning of a 1.5 km long rocky section of shore. The Merewether SLSC is located at the southern end at the base of slope, with houses behind. The entire beach is surrounded by long established inner Newcastle suburbs and has good road and bus access, with large car parks adjacent to the three surf clubs. In addition two rock pools are located on the rock platform at Merewether. The surf clubs were formed in 1911, 1932 and 1910 respectively, attesting to both the long popularity of this beach and its inherent swimming hazards. A shark attack at Merewether Beach in 1907 hastened the formation of the surf patrols in 1908. The first surf carnival in the area was held on the beach in March that year.
The entire beach receives waves averaging 1.6 m and is bounded by 50 m high cliffs fronted by wide rock platforms. Rocks and reefs also occur in the surf at either end and at places along the beach, and are exposed following beach erosion. The waves and sand produce a beach characterised by a bar usually cut by 4-5 beach rips with permanent rips at either end, the northern at Cooks Hill being the more prominent. Higher waves break on an outer bar and the northern and southern reefs, the latter called 'The Ladies'.
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.