For exquisite coastal views, enchanting rock pools and calm swimming spots, check out Moonee Beach, near Catherine Hill Bay. Just 15 minutes’ drive from Swansea, Moonee Beach is accessible from either the newly developed part of Catherine Hill Bay, or Munmorah State Conservation Area. Being a fairly secluded spot, the beach is not patrolled but offers a pristine coastal area with lots to explore.
There are a couple of ways to access the beach, but both are on foot – there is no direct road access. When we visited, we walked the Moonee Beach Trail (which is accessed from Snapper Point Road in Munmorah State Conservation Area).
The trail is quite easy to find using Google Maps but isn’t well signposted from the road, so drive slowly to find it. There is a small car park area at the start of the track.
The track begins at the summit of a hill and meanders down through beautiful coastal heath to the beach.
The trail is wide and relatively easy walking most of the way down, although it’s too rugged for pram or wheelchair access.
Take your time as you walk – there are so many beautiful wildflowers and coastal views to take in.
In the distance, you will see the newly developed section of Catherine Hill Bay.
The trail continues for about 2km. Although it’s a fairly easy walk on the way down, the return trip is all uphill.
So that we could maximise our time at the beach, we sent an adult back to pick up the car and drive it to nearby Catherine Hill Bay, which provides easier access.
Moonee Beach is bound by a crescent-shaped beach, with lots of sand and waves to the north, and rock platforms and Flat Island to the south.
When we arrived at the beach, we headed south to explore.
The rock platforms are stunning, and host rock pools teeming with sea life.
The kids loved clambering over the rocks and looking for fish and crabs.
There is an amazing swimming spot between the rock platforms and the sandy beach at the southern end. This area is constantly flushed by the ocean but is completely calm and sheltered from the waves.
When we were there a few families were swimming and kids were snorkelling around looking for fish. The water is shallow at first, but drops off quite quickly, so best to swim alongside younger kids.
Just past the rock platforms is Flat Island. Although it isn’t actually an island (being connected to the land), it is a striking grassy peninsula jutting out from the beach.
A short clamber up a dirt track takes you to the top of the peninsula, and you can walk right out to the end.
This was a real highlight for me – the coastal scenery on either side of Flat Island is just stunning, and it was an easy walk for the kids.
South of Flat Island is Ghostie’s beach, which boasts some stunning sea caves. You can only visit the caves at low tide, so we missed out on the morning we visited. It’s a great reason to plan a return trip though.
Moonee Beach is well worth a visit. If you want to visit the beach without walking the Moonee Beach Trail, you can access it from the southern end of Breakers Boulevard at Catherine Hill Bay – have a look at Google Maps to see access points. You will still need to walk along a bush track to get to the beach, but it is much shorter.
Good to Know
Amenities: There are no toilets or bubblers at Moonee Beach. If you want to walk the Moonee Beach Trail from Munmorah State Conservation Park, you will need to buy an $8 park entry ticket. Access from Catherine Hill Bay is free.
Distance: About 4km return if you walk the Moonee Beach Trail. Access is shorter via Catherine Hill Bay – perhaps about 500m (although there are varying access points from Catherine Hill Bay of different distances – check Google Maps before you depart).
Bring: Bring snacks, drinks, sunscreen, insect repellent, hats, and enclosed shoes for the walk down to Moonee Beach. If you want to explore the rock platforms and rock pools, take swimmers and some water shoes with you as there are oysters on the rocks.
Getting There: Access the Moonee Beach Trail via Snapper Point Rd in Munmorah State Conservation Area, or park on Breakers Boulevard at Catherine Hill Bay and walk along one of the beach trails.
For more information, visit the Munmorah State Conservation Area section on the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.
Alex moved to Newcastle with her family in 1998 and has called Newcastle home ever since. Alex is a mum to two busy boys who keep her on her toes. She has worn a few different hats over the years but is currently working part-time as a practice manager for an engineering consultancy. Alex loves travel, indoor plants and exploring rockpools at the beach with the kids.