Stanwell Park (NSW 352) is one of the most photographed beaches in Australia. The Lawrence Hargraves Lookout on the high northern slope provides a commanding view of the beach and the coast beyond. The lookout commemorates the pioneering aviation work of Hargraves and in particular his flight of a box kite from the lookout in 1894. Today hang gliders use the same breezes to sweep all over the slopes and cliffs. The Stanwell Park SLSC was formed in 1908, one of the oldest in the country. It held its first surf carnival the same year. Stanwell Park occupies an amphitheatre shaped valley, with steep forested slopes rising 300 m to the sandstone plateau. The railway and the main road winds round the back of the valley with the now popular suburb nestled over the slopes of two smaller valleys, drained by Hargraves and Stanwell creeks. The spur of these valleys backs the centre of the beach with creeks and lagoons at the mouth of each valley. One hundred metre high sandstone cliffs frame the beach with the Illawarra coal measure first appearing at the coast just north of the northern headland. Car parks are located near the mouths of both valleys, with the surf club occupying the northern side of southern valley.
The 850 m long beach faces the southeast and is exposed to waves averaging 1.6 m, which usually generates four strong rips: two against each headland, and 2-3 shifting beach rips (Fig. 4.275 & 4.276). The bar separating the rips is often separated from the beach by a wide, deep trough, with waves reforming to surge up the steep beach face.
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.