Family Fun Out and About

Exploring Caves Beach

One of the bigger caves at Caves Beach, near Lake Macquarie, NSW.

There is something magical about beach caves.

Maybe it’s the fact that you can usually only access them for a short period when the tides are right. Or maybe it’s that the power of the waves, in many cases, have carved these beauties out of the rock that surrounds them. Either way, they are wonderful places to explore.

Just a short drive south of Newcastle is one of the best collections of sea caves you can find. Named Caves Beach for rather obvious reasons, this beautiful spot should definitely be on your ‘must visit’ list.

Exploring Caves Beach, near Lake Macquarie, NSW.

Exploring Caves Beach, near Lake Macquarie, NSW.

Exploring Caves Beach

Caves Beach is located on the Swansea peninsula east of Lake Macquarie, in New South Wales. It is about a 30 to 40 minute drive from Newcastle, or about 2 hours from Sydney.

It boasts a network of beautiful sea caves at the southern end of the beach, located at the bottom of the headland’s rock cliff face.

The caves are roughly broken into two halves, with easier access to the first section of caves (you can see one of the largest caves, which is pictured above, from the main swimming beach.) The second section of caves is further south and can only really be accessed at low tide and during calmer weather conditions.

When we visited the tide had already begun to turn, so while we got to explore the first group of caves in great detail, we sadly ran out of time to fully explore the second set of caves further around the headland.

Exploring Caves Beach, near Lake Macquarie, NSW.

Exploring Caves Beach, near Lake Macquarie, NSW.

To avoid our mistake, we’d recommend heading around the headland to the furthest caves first, then make your way back towards Caves Beach, exploring as you go. But make sure that you allow enough time to return before the tide changes.

The caves are all different shapes and sizes, ranging from large open caves, to narrow, connecting spaces you can crawl or wiggle through. The kids absolutely loved exploring them all, especially crawling through some of the smaller spaces, only to find they’d popped out in a neighbouring larger cave.

Crawling between caves at Caves Beach, near Lake Macquarie, NSW.

Crawling between caves at Caves Beach, near Lake Macquarie, NSW.

You could spend hours exploring the network of caves, if the tide and incoming water allowed it. But be aware that because of the ease of access to the caves, the area can get quite busy. It’s extremely easy to find the caves – you’ll spot one of the largest from the patrolled swimming area in front of the surf club. Couldn’t be easier!

We were there is the peak of the summer school holidays, so there was plenty of people exploring the area. If you want a quieter experience, we’d suggest going at sunrise or in the colder months when the beaches are less popular.

Exploring Caves Beach, near Lake Macquarie, NSW.

Exploring Caves Beach, near Lake Macquarie, NSW.

Other Highlights

Make sure to explore the tidal rock pools found at the entrance to the caves.

Our kids loved splashing in the larger pools, and even discovered some starfish in one of the pools which was a definite highlight for them.

There is also a Surf Lifesaving Club at the southern end of Caves Beach, which offers a patrolled swimming area on certain days. Check the club’s website here for details of patrolled days, tides and weather conditions.

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