Caves Beach is a beautiful sandy beach near Swansea in the coastal city of Lake Macquarie, our backyard. We’ve never actually been before because when we visited in summer, the carparks and street parking were always full. We decided to go recently though, even though it is cold and rainy Autumn. We’re so glad we did!
Just before I jump into it, I’d love to hear from you about a place in your backyard that you’ve discovered recently. Let me know in the comments at the end of the article!
This article is all our own experience. Everything we did was paid for by us, and no part of it was free or subsidised. That said, some of the links in this article are affiliate links, which means that I get a small commission if you click it and make a booking or purchase. I hope that you’ll use these links anytime you need to book a place to stay or activity! These small commissions help me to keep travelling so I can write and film more travel guides for you. I would never recommend anything I don’t or would not personally use!
About Caves Beach
Caves Beach is unique because, at the Southern end, you can find a network of caves worn out of the sandstone cliffs. These very same caves are the reason for the name of the beach. At low tide, you can access these caves and explore this scenic part of the NSW coastline. We didn’t think to check the tide times before we left, but we were lucky that the tide had been out and was on the way back in when we got there.
Parking during summer can be a challenge, but in Autumn, we were able to get a park close to the Surf Life Saving Club at the southern end of the beach next to Stuart Chalmers Park. This carpark is both the closest to the beach and the caves. The beach itself is a gorgeous white sandy beach with enough of a swell to surf if that’s your thing and more than enough to have fun on a bodyboard.
At the southern end, the sand gives way to sandstone cliffs and rocky outcrops that jut into the ocean. If you look closely at the rocks, there are some fascinating patterns and textures.
Make your way around these cliffs, and you will see the first and largest cave.
Heading into the cave, you’ll find lots of fissures and cracks.
Towards the back is one of the most prominent fissures. It takes you out the other side of the cave. From here you can access more of the cave network. Unfortunately for us, the tide had started to come back in and was flowing freely through here, so we decided not to head through it this time.
You can also head up the stairs to the top of the cliffs where you will find another car park and a lookout where you can take in the beach looking both directions.
There are picnic facilities including barbecues and seating, but these are hard to come by during the summer months.
We found a great little fish and chip shop in town called Caves Beach Takeaway. It’s a little bit more expensive than some, and they only take cash, but they did great fish and chips. You can find them here:
For the dog lovers, it’s important to note that you cannot have dogs on the beach at the southern end near the caves, they are however permitted 300m to the north at Hams Beach.
We went on an overcast day that ended up raining, but we were a little spoiled. We got to watch a rainbow form while we were inside the cave, ending in the ocean just outside. It was so beautiful to watch and such a pleasant surprise to our visit.
Getting to Caves Beach
Caves beach is part of the suburb of Caves Beach, a township in Lake Macquarie City Council. It’s just south of Swansea and Swansea Heads. The easiest way to get here is by car, but there is a bus available.
To get here by car, you can find it by entering Caves Beach in your GPS, or Stuart Chalmers Park. There are two car parks available. The first is at Stuart Chalmers Park; the second is at the top of the cliffs with access from Caves Beach Road.
It’s about 30km’s South of Newcastle, allow about 40 minutes for the trip. It’s also about 130km’s North of Sydney; you can expect it to take about 1 hour and 45 minutes for the journey.
By Public Transport
The only public transport available to Caves Beach is bus or taxi. To get there by bus, take Newcastle Transport bus 29, the Glendale to Swansea Heads service. Bus 29 is the only bus that goes to Caves Beach at the time of writing. You can connect with this bus from Cardiff Train Station. Otherwise, there are some intersecting bus routes at different points along the way 29 takes.
Admission fees and other costs
Parking at Caves Beach is free, and there are no entry costs.
The beach itself is accessible all the time. However, you can only get to the caves during low tide, so check the tide timetable before you go. The beach is patrolled by lifeguards from the September/October school holidays through to the April school holidays.
Hotels near Caves Beach
In spite of how special this beach is and how busy it gets in Summer, there are not a lot of hotels in the immediate area. The main one to consider is Caves Coastal, also known as Caves Beach Resort and Caves Beach Bar and Bungalows. It’s all the one place and is about as close as you can get to Caves Beach. Otherwise, your nearest options are in Swansea or Cams Wharf. You can also find holiday homes in the area listed on Airbnb and Booking.com. You can check what’s nearby using the search box below.
I’d love to hear about somewhere you’ve discovered recently in your backyard. Tell me about it in the comments below!