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Coalcliff, as the name implies, is the first of the mining towns that took to the slopes and the coal seams for their livelihood and to the sea for their recreation. The beach fronts a steep, narrow valley, with sides rising 300 m to the backing plateau. The coal mine is located towards the rear of the valley. A railway used to run from the mine to a small exposed harbour on the rock platforms about 2 km south of the beach. The Lawrence Hargraves Drive winds between the mine and the town area, with access to the beach limited to a car park behind the Coalcliff SLSC and street parking. The small surf club was formed in 1924. The small settlement has increased in popularity since construction of the elevated Sea Cliff Bridge road in 2005. The elevated road and footpath winds for 1 km, suspended 20 m above the sea and rock platforms. The main Coalcliff Beach (NSW 354) fronts the valley, and is a 500 m long east-southeast facing coarse sand beach, with a mix of sand and rock seafloor off the beach, and the small Stony Creek draining across the southern end. Waves average 1-1.5 m maintaining three dominant rips, a strong rip against the southern rocks, a shifting central rip and one flowing north past the northern rocks (Fig. 4.277). When the bars are separated from the beach the waves reform and surge heavily up the steep beach face (Fig. 4.278). A 400 m long rock platform extends south of the beach widening to 200 m, with a small rock pool located on the platform just south of the beach.
Beach Length: 0.5km
General Hazard Rating: 6/11

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
Public phone
Drinking water
Toilets Block M/F



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.