Ghosties Beach is a spectacular beach that’s tucked away in the underrated Munmorah State Conservation Area on the Central Coast of NSW. Ghosties Beach has become an increasingly popular place to visit given its magnificent sea caves. The Ghosties Beach Caves, also known as the Rainbow Caves, are a stunning series of sea caves. Overshadowed by the nearby popular Pink Caves, the Ghosties Beach Caves are often overlooked. We certainly recommend visiting the Rainbow Caves as well as the Pink Caves.
In this guide, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about Ghosties Beach and its magnificent sea caves. Certainly, if you’re not prepared, you won’t be able to explore the Ghosties Beach Caves in all their glory. That’s because exploring the Rainbow Caves is tide and swell-dependent. To that end, this guide will clue you up on things to know before you go so that you get the most out of your trip and ensure that you visit safely!
We hope you find this guide helpful. While you’re in the area, make sure to also explore more of the Munmorah State Conservation Area in Lake Macquarie.
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Ghosties Beach NSW
Even without the spectacular sea caves, Ghosties Beach is an awesome beach to visit in its own right. Indeed, most of the beaches dotted along the coastline in the Munmorah State Conservation Area are isolated, serene and tranquil. Given how close this area is to Sydney, it’s surprising how relatively few people visit. But, that’s part of the charm of this beach as well as other beaches in the Munmorah State Conservation Area. You’ll get to visit a world-class beach without the crowds.
Essentially, Ghosties Beach is an extension of Moonee Beach. Located north of Ghosties Beach, Moonee Beach stretches approximately 1km. Separated by sand dunes and Flat Rocks Point, Ghosties Beach extends another 500 metres or so and is surrounded by high cliff walls, adding to its natural ambience.
Of course, the star attraction of Ghosties Beach is its Rainbow Caves!
Ghosties Beach Caves (Rainbow Caves)
There’s something truly mesmerising about beaches with caves. Certainly, when it comes to sea caves in Australia, the Ghosties Beach Caves in NSW are some of the best! These sea caves are located at the southern end of the beach and have become known as the Rainbow Caves. That’s because of the vivid, vibrant and intense colours on the inside of the sea caves. Indeed, the Ghosties Beach Caves are a phenomenal natural attraction worth visiting.
But, like all sea caves, there is an inherent danger with visiting. Let’s have a look at how to visit these sea caves safely below.
How to Visit the Ghosties Beach Sea Caves Safely
You should only explore inside the Rainbow Caves at Ghosties Beach at low tide and when the swell is slight. Simply, outside of low tide, the entrance of the caves is immersed in water, so accessing them isn’t safe. On top of that, even during low tide, if the swell isn’t low, the caves may still be inaccessible. That’s because, even during low tide, rougher waters can still penetrate and flow inside the sea caves, making them unsafe to explore. So, make sure you check the Ghosties Beach swell and Ghosties Beach tide times before you visit. Reading a Ghosties Beach surf report will also provide this sort of information.
With that said, care and caution must be taken when exploring the Ghosties Beach Caves, even during low tide and a slight swell. Each tide and swell is unique. Sometimes, the sea caves and the entrance are cleared of the ocean during low tide and a slight swell. This makes entrance and movement inside the caves much easier and safer. But, this isn’t always the case.
Seemingly low tides and low swells can change unpredictably and suddenly. So, even during low tide (0.3m is ideal) and a slight swell, walking inside the sea caves can be unsafe. Waves can penetrate and fill the cave unexpectedly and roughly, which may knock you against the inner walls of the cave, which creates obvious danger. So trying to move within the thin cave corridors is very much a hazard if the ocean conditions change.
So, now you’re in the know about safety, let’s look at how to get to Ghosties Beach in NSW in the first place!
How to Get to Ghosties Beach
To get to Ghosties Beach in NSW, you’ll need a car. There are no public transport options for accessing this beach. If you don’t have your own vehicle, we recommend using RentalCars.com. It’s a fantastic search engine for finding the cheapest car hire.
From Sydney, it’s a roughly 1.5–2 hour drive to get to Ghosties Beach. From Newcastle, it’s approximately an hour. Given its convenient location, it makes for an epic day trip from either destination.
The quickest and easiest way to reach Ghosties Beach involves parking on Hooey Street in Catherine Hill Bay. At this street-side parking spot, you’ll see a ‘Beach Access’ sign for Moonee Beach. From there, you’ll follow the track onto Moonee Beach.
From Moonee Beach, you’ll simply head south onto Ghosties Beach, walking 1.5km to reach the Rainbow Caves at the southern end.
For a more detailed description of the walk and sea caves, continue below.
The Ghosties Beach Caves via the Modified Moonee Beach Trail
Personally, Beck and I chose to explore the Ghosties Beach Caves as part of an extended Moonee Beach Trail walk. Exploring them as part of a modified version of the Moonee Beach Trail is an adventurous way to see them. After some effort hiking and taking in the surrounding coastline, finding the Rainbow Caves is an even more brilliant experience.
The Moonee Beach Trail is one of the best walks in the Munmorah State Conservation Area. The route is a Grade 2, 4km return walk, taking approximately one hour. It’s on a management trail starting at Snapper Point Road, descending and finishing at Moonee Beach. With that said, the Moonee Beach Trail doesn’t include visiting Ghosties Beach. But, with some extra exploring, you can easily add an excursion to Ghosties Beach and its Rainbow Caves.
By accessing the Ghosties Beach Caves via the Moonee Beach trailhead, it’ll be a one-way 3.5km walk, taking about an hour. From the trailhead to Moonee Beach is 2km. Then, the walk from Moonee Beach to Rainbow Caves is 1.5km
If you’re keen on this option, start by parking your car at the small Moonee Beach trailhead parking area just off Snapper Point Road. Only half a dozen vehicles can fit here. Arrive early to get a spot!
How to Access Ghosties Beach Caves From Moonee Beach
Whether you’ve parked and started in Catherine Hill Bay or the Moonee Beach trailhead, you’ll eventually arrive at Moonee Beach. Basically, you’ll walk along the sand southwards, towards some small sand dunes. As you approach the sand dunes, you’ll see flat rock platforms to your left. This area is called Flats Rock Point and is worth exploring in its own right. Either way, eventually, you’ll continue up the small sand dunes and around the bend to your right. You’re now officially on Ghosties Beach!
From there, simply go to the southern end of the beach. It’s at this southernmost part of Ghosties Beach where the Rainbow Caves are located.
The Fissure and Rainbow Sea Cave
Even from afar, you can see a thin sliver of an opening through the cliff wall. This fissure provides the entrance into the Rainbow Caves. The white sandstone rock of the outer sea caves features epic orange ripples. If it’s safe to proceed, you’ll enjoy a fascinating walk through the narrow inner corridor of the first rainbow sea cave. The fissure leads to the first cavern, which has an immense palette of rainbow colours smeared on the walls!
FYI – because the caves are not exposed to sunlight, photography of the interior of the cave is often quite tricky.
The Second Rainbow Sea Cave
Once you proceed through the first cavern, you’ll exit onto a small section of Ghosties Beach. This stretch of sand connects you to the second sea cave. Again, this second sea cave features a marvellous array of colours on the inner walls. Unfortunately, Beck and I weren’t blessed with safe conditions to enter or explore the Rainbow Caves. Hopefully, next time!
As far as we’re aware though, the colours are not as vibrant as those found at the nearby Pink Caves.
The Pink Caves
There are other excellent sea caves near Ghosties Beach. At the northern end of Moonee Beach, you’ll find the amazing Pink Caves. These are certainly worth exploring and perhaps even more spectacular than the Ghosties Beach Caves!
For more information on visiting the Pink Caves, read our guide: How to Find the Pink Caves on the Central Coast.
UPDATE – PINK CAVES CLOSED: on the 29th of July 2022, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Services (NPWS) permanently closed access to the Pink Caves. Please respect the wishes of NSW NPWS and do not visit this area. For more information, read The Pink Caves Close Due to Deaths: Here’s What Happened.
About Munmorah State Conservation Area
There’s more to explore in this part of the Central Coast in NSW than just the Ghosties Beach Caves and Pink Caves. Indeed, there are other beautiful beaches, lookouts and camping spots to enjoy in Munmorah State Conservation Area. Check out our Munmorah State Conservation Area guide to plan your trip to the area.
Below, please find a few of the most frequently asked questions about Ghosties Beach in NSW.
Where Is Ghosties Beach?
It’s located between Budgewoi and Catherine Hill Bay in the Munmorah State Conservation Area on the Central Coast in New South Wales, Australia.
How Do I Get to Ghosties Beach?
To find out how to get there, read this section.
Is Ghosties Beach Dog Friendly?
Munmorah State Conservation Area is a pet-free zone. So, you’ll have to leave pooch at home for this adventure.
Why Is It Called Ghosties Beach?
It’s unclear why it’s called that. If you know why it’s called Ghosties Beach, please let us know in the comment below.
Five Gear Essentials
- Merrell Moab Mid Gore-Tex Hiking Boots: these hiking boots are super comfortable and lightweight.
- The North Face Venture Jacket: a fantastic windproof/waterproof jacket.
- Osprey Skarab 30L Day Backpack: a great backpack for hiking, which has plenty of space to store your gear.
- The North Face TKA Glacier Fleece Jacket: an excellent warmth:weight ratio fleece jacket that’ll help keep you warm.
- Columbia Convertible Trousers: a value for money pair of water-resistant convertible trousers.
These are five gear essentials we recommend when exploring the Rainbow Caves. For a more comprehensive list of hiking gear and equipment, read 66 Travel Accessories That You Must Travel With. For a more general summary of everything you’d need for a trip, check out our Ultimate Packing Checklist.
- Check the tides and swells: at the risk of sounding like a broken record, make sure to always check the tides and swells when exploring sea caves. It could save you and your buddies from harm!
- Check the forecast: other than tides and swells, check the Ghosties Beach weather before you head out. Exploring on a nice day, free of excessive coastal winds would be ideal.
- Ghosties Beach Accommodation: there are no Ghosties Beach camping areas or accommodation options. We recommend the nearby Frazer Campground or Freemans Campground if you’re wanting to camp near the beach.
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