I always get this question from people visiting Newcastle. What’s interesting in Newcastle?
I know Newcastle doesn’t have iconic landmarks like the Sydney Opera House or the Harbour Bridge but let’s not forget that there’s the biggest sand dunes in Australia close to Newcastle.
Introducing the Stockton Beach.
Stockton Beach, on the Tasman Sea, starts on the northern side of the break wall that protects the entrance to Newcastle harbour in Stockton, Newcastle’s northern most suburb, and stretches for 32 km in an approximate north-easterly direction to Anna Bay in Port Stephens.
In some areas it is as much as 1 km wide and has sand dunes over 30 metres high although at the Stockton end it is at its narrowest with no dunes. Each year the dunes move north by approximately 4 m.
The sand on Stockton Beach varies from hard to soft packed and changes daily with the changing winds and weather. The dunes are the largest continuous mobile sand dunes in the Southern Hemisphere.
The first time here, it looks like a desert, where you only can see sand everywhere. But it is not that hot. It is very cool and windy down here.
This is a popular tourist attraction for sight seeing, 4WD tour, quadbike, camping and also sand boarding. It sounds extreme, it sure is and certainly suits those who are looking for some adventure!
We arrived at Birubi Point, where most of the sandboarding operators gather at the car park. The ticket entry cost about $25 for a 2-hour sandboarding experience. From that point, we were taken by the big Hummer 4WD to the sandboarding spot.
For beginners’ lesson, we started with the more gentle slopes. It’s easy to sandboard, really. You just sit on the board and let gravity pull you down the slope. As we gained courage, we went higher and tried the steeper spots. The more steeper, the more adrenaline rush you can feel!
After we became more confident, the operator showed us how to do it while standing. It’s pretty much like skateboarding but you’re going downhill.
I call it beginners luck as I managed to try that without falling from the board the first time!
Well, this is truly one of my priceless experience here in Newcastle. Another priceless experience in Australia coming up next!