The suburb of Bar Beach enjoys views and a relaxed lifestyle just metres from one of Newcastle’s most popular beaches.
Bar Beach gets its name from the beach that runs along its eastern border. It’s a relatively small suburb buffered by Merewether, The Junction and Cooks Hill. Bar Beach is less than two kilometres from the Newcastle CBD.
The suburb was formed in the 1920s and has always been predominantly residential. There are differing theories about how Bar Beach got its name; the most popular suggest it is named after the sand bar a couple of metres offshore, which allows beachgoers a shallow place to swim and enjoy the waves. The other theory is based around the naturally forming pool at the northern end of the beach. Reportedly called “the Bar”, this pool provides a safe place for children to enjoy the beach. The surrounding rocks provide shelter from larger waves and retain sand, making it a shallower spot to swim.
Making the most of the views is the Newcastle Memorial Walk. Built to commemorate the centenary of the ANZAC landing at Gallipoli in 1915, the Memorial Walk is a 450-metre long clifftop walkway from Bar Beach to Strzelecki Lookout. Strzelecki Lookout provides panoramic views of Newcastle and is also a popular place for hang gliders, who use it as a launching point.
“THE TWO-METRE-LONG ‘GOLD BOWL’ HAS PLAYED HOST TO THE AUSTRALIAN BOWL RIDING CHAMPIONSHIPS FOR SEVERAL YEARS, ATTRACTING PROFESSIONAL SKATEBOARDERS FROM ACROSS THE GLOBE.”
After being revitalised in 2010, Empire Park (overlooking Bar Beach) became a popular spot for sports enthusiasts, particularly skateboarders. Empire Park houses one of Australia’s best skate parks. The two-metre-long “gold bowl” has played host to the Australian Bowl Riding Championships for several years, attracting professional skateboarders from across the globe.
Due to its smaller size Bar Beach only offers a few places to eat and drink. A small kiosk on the beach itself is a great place to grab fish and chips, while the Cooks Hill Surf Club has its own bar and is often used as a function centre.
Despite its small area, Bar Beach has a relatively large population, which has a lot to do with the number of units and townhouses in the suburb. However, along the beach and overlooking the city are multi-million dollar mansions.
While there are no schools in Bar Beach itself, primary school-aged children fall within the zone for the nearby Junction Public School. Newcastle Grammar School, which is a combined primary and high school, has an additional campus at Cooks Hill.