The ANZAC Coast Walk, or Bather’s Walk is a great addition to the growing number of dedicated walking tracks around the Newcastle area, and it just may be the best one so far.
Where are we walking?
This time we decided to take a return walk from Dixon Park Beach to Strzelecki Lookout and back. A couple of hours including plenty of time to admire the views and take some great photos of the beaches and surrounding area.
From Dixon Park, you will have some impressive views to the south taking in Merewether Ocean Baths at the closest point to the cliffs of Dudley Beach in the distance. This is also the home of many world-class surfers including World Champion and Legend Mark Richards.
Head for the hills
Turning to the north we climb a small hill and are presented with an incredible, albeit somewhat daunting view of the walk that lies ahead of us for the day. Our goal for the day was just beyond the highest point in the distance and then back. It was smart planning that had us downhill for the return leg.
The beach above is Bar Beach which has a popular kiosk and seating area for drinks and snacks. It is also a popular area for local kids as across the road are sporting fields and one of the area’s best skate parks. The recent redevelopment of the area has been very well done, which can’t always be said of things around here.
Is anyone home?
You may be wondering where are the people on such a beautiful sunny day. Well, the sun was out but at a refreshing 14 degrees Celsius the only life on the sand or in the water were crazy surfers and seagulls.
You can barely move for the crowds in the height of Summer but at this time of year, it is more just a rest stop for the walkers. But hey… if you have to sit around somewhere then it may as well have a great view.
What’s your excuse?
I have no excuse as to why, after more than 50 years of living around Newcastle, this was the first time I had walked around this part of the beach. The water was crystal clear and the colours were stunning. It would be worth taking some time to wander around on the rocks, but maybe when the weather, and the water, are a little warmer.
We decided to walk around the road to the Lookout rather than climb the steps only to turn around and come back the same way. By doing this section as a loop it opens up a different perspective on the creation of the path and also some decent views across the city toward the Harbour.
Lest we forget
This section is called the ANZAC Memorial Walk and is dedicated to the memories of our fallen military throughout history. It is a fitting tribute lined with information on the various important battles and the sacrifices these brave men and women made. So great that it has been built in a place where so many people will learn the history while admiring the views.
These rows of soldiers are engraved with thousands of names of those who made the ultimate sacrifice and form a magnificent contrast to the blue background of the sky and ocean.
Now that’s a decent view
While it takes a little effort to reach the top of the path and stand at Strzelecki Lookout, the scenery is worth every bit of it. People around the world know of the famous Sydney beaches like Manly or Bondi but never hear that Newcastle has more beaches, more sand per sitting butt, and the same waves and Lifeguards. So why wouldn’t you make the two-hour drive north for a few days?
This is also a popular spot for whale spotting during their migration. The weekend before we were here had dozens of whales and pods of dolphins spotted for almost an entire weekend. Today… nothing.
The ANZAC Walk has opened up this area where before it was cliffs and Saltbush. This was my first experience with the Coast Walk I was genuinely impressed. Superbly maintained and with scenery to match any coastline in the world, this should be on everyone’s to-do list if they are planning a visit to the area.
I mentioned earlier the view on the other side of the walk and I couldn’t finish up without showing what it looks like away from the coast and across the Harbour, because that’s a pretty decent view as well.
Where the bloody hell are ya?
It may look like the Fun Police have been out in force when you read this sign but it’s not as bad and scary as they make it sound. The beaches in Australia need to be respected with powerful waves and unpredictable currents. But follow the Lifeguards’ instructions and you will be fine.
One final tip, while the walk is wonderful all year round, come when it’s warmer so you can get your feet wet without the fear of frostbite!