Austinmer Beach

Photograph by Sonia M

Austinmer beach is located around 15 kilometers north of Wollongong, or 75 kilometers south of Syndey’s CBD and offers a host of gorgeous photographic opportunities. At one end of the beach is a large tidal pool and at the other end is a large rocky area with many interesting cracks, crevices and bumps. It is worthy of more than a single visit if you really want to make the most of all the different shooting possibilities.

Special Photographic Features or Notes

There are great shots to be made at either end of the beach. The tidal pool at the south end, what I call the “Dry Area” and the “Wet Area” at the northern end.

The Wet Area

Photograph by Steve Arnold

Approaching the cliff from the beach car park, you need to step down off of the main rock shelf (about a 2 feet descent – not so bad!) and traverse your way around tip of the cliff until you can reach slightly higher ground again. The water depth varies depending on the tide and whether you can make it around in between waves, but it should be achievable in most conditions if you are willing to go about thigh-deep. The waves lose most of their power before they reach you as they have travelled over many meters of rock before they reach you on this path, so keeping your footing isn’t usually a problem.

The highlight of this area is a large crack in the rock shelf, between which the waves push up and spill over onto the surrounding flats, before rushing back down into the gap. Depending on how close you want to get you can shoot from a higher vantage point and stay dry or if you don’t mind setting your tripod down in the water you can get up close and personal with the rushing waves.

Photograph by Steve Arnold

The Dry Area

Photograph by Steve Arnold

There are lots of interesting shots to make here even if you don’t venture around to the Wet Area. Right off the beach is a large rocky platform that gives some great opportunities for capturing the moving water as it crashes up against the rocks and rushes back down over them.

The Tidal Pool

Photograph by Sonia M

At the southern end of the beach is a large tidal pool, separated into two sections. This is a great location for making some long exposures and when the sun is rising you can catch some great reflections in the smoothed out waters.

Night Photography

Without having visited Austinmer at night, I would have to assume that there would be some light spillage from the road and houses up in the hills overlooking the beach, but if you were to venture around to the wet area at the north end of the beach then you would be sheltered from it.

Special Equipment

You will need the standard set of equipment for shooting here, as would be common for most of NSW’s coastline:

  • A sturdy tripod.
  • Grad ND filter kit (for both sunrise & sunset – the sky will still be a lot brighter than the rocky foreground even when the sun is going down behind you)
  • Lens cloths.
  • Remote shutter release to reduce camera shake. You can get away with using the 2-second timer function on your camera but this makes it difficult to time your shots well when you are capturing the waves rushing in over the rocks.

Best Time of The Day

As with most other locations along the coast of NSW, sunrise is great. Sunset is also good however on cloudy days when the whole sky lights up with colour.

Tidal Information

You can make great photos here no matter what the tide is doing but a high tide may limit your access to the wet area.

Wind Information

Wind hasn’t been a factor in my previous visits. The height of the landscape behind the beach would shelter you somewhat from winds coming from the west. If coming in from the east, you can probably expect to be wiping the sea spray from your lens pretty often.

Getting there

Click here to see the location marked in Google Maps.

There is a large car park right next to the beach which, at the time of day you are likely to be visiting (ie dawn or dusk) will have plenty of spaces to choose from. It’s a short 5 minute walk from the car park to either end of the beach.

Author Bio

Steve Arnold

Leave a reply

Found our guides useful? Return the favour and submit one of your own.