Newcastle, Australia – Dudley Beach

Unlike Pauline, I have lived almost my entire life in the same part of Australia, in various suburbs of Newcastle, near a beach.

This is an area built on the sweat and blue-collar toil of coal miners and steel workers, but it slowly working on life after the death, or serious injury, of those industries.

I grew up in a suburb called Dudley, which is technically in Lake Macquarie City but we still say we come from Newcastle. When we moved there in the mid 1960’s it was considered the outskirts of town. Dirt roads, a few houses, a Primary School, a single officer Police station, a corner store, and two Pubs pretty much covered it. Now it is considered a somewhat upmarket beachside suburb hosting quite a few million-dollar-plus houses.

The one constant is the fantastic beach. I was never a surfer like most of my childhood friends but Dudley Beach offers so much more than just great waves and golden sand.

Dudley one of the best beaches in Australia especially for surfers
Dudley one of the best beaches in Australia especially for surfers

The beach itself is unpatrolled, which means if you can’t swim well or don’t respect the ocean then there are no lifesavers to come to your rescue. The flipside is that the crowds stay away so you will certainly be able to find a nice chunk of sand for yourself.

I mentioned earlier that Newcastle was a coal town, well, I recently learned that Dudley Beach was the site of the first discovery of coal in Australia in 1791 and in more recent times local mine tunnels extended under the beach and then up to a mile under the sea.

dudley 15a

For me, the most interesting thing about the beach, and the part that captured much of my time as a kid, is the rock platform at the Southern end of the beach. Formed by volcanic action around 250 million years ago, the rock platform is quite incredible.

Here you will find a number of small rock pools which, depending on the tides, can be home to a myriad of sea life. There are also the remains of a petrified forest and a difficult to get to, but very worthwhile tessellated pavement.

dudley b

While there are bigger and better blowholes carved into the rocks in other parts of Australia’s coast, the blowhole at Dudley can still manage to throw up some WOW moments if you catch it with the right tide and swell conditions. I have experienced it when the water was being propelled a good 10 metres (30 feet) into the air.

dudley c

While the meeting of lava and ocean is quite a spectacle in Hawaii, Dudley Beach shows what happens to that scenario after many millions of years of erosion from the pounding ocean, salt, and the influence of man.

You can spend hours looking over the rocks shelf and wondering how nature can create such seemingly precise lines and shapes. It seems anything but random.

dudley d

Moving further south a few hundred metres you come to a spot we called Shell Beach as kids. So-called because of the thousands of shells and small, smooth rocks washed ashore when the tide is high and the waves are pounding.


Shell Beach is more protected from strong currents than the main beach as it lies between two rocky outcrops which act as a natural breakwall.

dudley f

I had forgotten how much I use to love this place and am excited that my daughter, wife, and dog have now found the same excitement in visiting. We tend to make it the first place to take visitors when they come to see us. Maybe that’s just an excuse for me to keep going back though.

Dean Williamson
Dean Williamson
Dean is the main creative force behind Reasons to Visit. A road trip veteran with over 35,000 miles of driving in more than a dozen countries. He has also worked in the Australian travel and tourism industry for the past 10 years.

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    • Now I look back and realise that even though I didn’t get to travel in my youth I lived in an amazing place.
      I just checked the share button and it seems to work. Not sure what happened.

    • It was a bit shocking to me that I spent the first 20 years of my life a few minutes walk from here but didn’t really appreciate it until I was showing it to overseas visitors. Just goes to show how easy it is to take your local area for granted.

  1. Gorgeous backyard, Dean ~ Whoever designed your landscape is awesome! No doubt you’ve visited the blowhole near Hanauma Bay on Oahu ~ the Dudley blowhole reminds me of this. Much like you, I’d visit the blowhole and Oahu’s beaches whenever folks came to visit. Thank goodness for friends, they helped me make the most of my (too short) time in Hawaii.

    • Thanks Melodie. I have driven the north shore of Oahu twice but never seen the blowhole. One for me to add for my next trip. It was great to meet fellow bloggers and hope to be able to do that again sometime either home or away.

  2. What a stunning beach! How lucky you were to grow up here. It’s wonderful showing children the places that were special to you as a child. I love being able to see some of my favourite places anew through the eyes of my kids. #TheWeeklyPostcard

    • Well said Clare. My teenage daughter and her friends often go to the local beaches but this one is a bit secluded and she didn’t really know it existed until I showed her. Now they all go there quite a bit.

  3. What a beautiful beach! Sand is nice, but I’ll take the tide pools any day. So much fun hunting for and watching the sea life in them! I’m reminded that we often overlook what’s right in our own backyards. And yours is quite the backyard! #TheWeeklyPostcard

    • I’m with you. Unlike my mates I was never a surfer, and laying on the sand didn’t interest me. But wandering around the rocks I found much more interesting.

    • Shell Beach is great for kids especially Brooke, but also nice to get away from the world for a while. It’s safer for a bit of swimming and some really interesting finds among the shells and rocks.

  4. Dean you are right, this is a beautiful part of Australia and for many would also be an unknown part of our coal history. I can see why you are proud to show this area to visitors, it truly reflects the natural beauty reminds me of some of the coastline in our southwest. Thank you for sharing this with us at #TheWeeklyPostcard

    • Thanks Lyn. It now makes me wonder why we travel the world looking for great beaches when it’s so unlikely that they will be better than what we have at home.


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