-North Cronulla Beach (Sydney’s) almost vanishes
Sydney’s North Cronulla beach almost vanishes after wild weather causes severe erosion
The only Sydney beach that can be reached directly by train (it’s about a 45-minute journey from CBD’s Central Station), Cronulla is ideal for families and surfers of all levels.
Give us the wide-angle view: what kind of beach are we talking about?
Famous though it may be for its surfer-friendly waves, Cronulla’s name comes from an Aboriginal word meaning “place of pink seashells.” Cronulla, which hugs the Bate Bay coastline in Sydney’s southeast, beyond Botany Bay in Sutherland Shire (dubbed ‘The Shire’), is actually a string of beaches; Cronulla Beach and North Cronulla Beach are at the centre, with Elouera and Wanda beaches fanning out towards the north in a golden, five-kilometre sweep.
Lovely. How accessible is it?
Cronulla is the only Sydney beach that can be reached directly by train—it’s about a 45-minute journey from CBD’s Central Station, on the T4 Eastern Suburbs & Illawarra Line. There’s plenty of beachside parking, too, so you can also make the 40-minute drive from downtown if you’re so inclined. Like all Sydney beaches, Cronulla and its tributaries are free to access, but only lifeguards can drive buggies on the shore.
Got it. Decent services and facilities, would you say?
You’ll find changing rooms close to all of Cronulla’s beaches, along with nearby shops where you can rent surf gear; score a cup of joe; or double down on some ice cream and fish n’ chips. There are a few good cafes close to Cronulla Beach, like the quirky Grind Espresso and stylish Blackwood Pantry, the latter with outdoor tables. If you or a fellow guest needs one, you can also book a free beach wheelchair for easy rolling.
How’s the actual beach stuff—sand and surf?
Cronulla Beach is patrolled by lifeguards year-round, so it especially suits visiting families; North Cronulla, Elouera, and Wanda beaches are patrolled only during the spring and summer (October to April). All, though, offer uncrowded waves for surfing (just note that fibreglass surfboards can only be used outside of the red-and-yellow flagged swimming areas). For surf, lessons contact Cronulla Surfing Academy or Surfing Cronulla Surfschool.
Excellent. Can we go barefoot?
Cronulla’s soft sands and interconnected beachfronts (linked via esplanade) make for an ideal beach day, with plenty of opportunities to sunbathe and stroll. Behind main Cronulla Beach, there’s also a natural amphitheatre, with shady, grassy areas perfect for sitting and picnicking.
Anything special we should look for?
If you need a break from the crunching waves, take a dip in one of Cronulla’s two large rock pools, between the Cronulla and North Cronulla beaches. There are more tidal pools to the south along The Esplanade, including Shelly Beach and Oak Park. Cronulla’s peninsula also has several shady parks, including Gunnamatta Park, beside Port Hacking estuary (with adjacent Gunnamatta Bay Baths). Just beware of dangerous ocean rip currents, and always swim between the red-and-yellow flags.
If we’re thinking about going, what—and who—is this beach best for?
Cronulla offers brilliant surfing for all levels—but if long walks are more your thing (where have we heard that one before?), you’ll no doubt enjoy an hourlong stroll on The Esplanade, which wends it way along the coast from Cronulla Beach down to Bass and Flinders Point.
Part of Cronulla formation has been closed to the nationalist for information reasons aft a lifeguard operation was near teetering connected a cliff borderline and had to beryllium relocated, aft changeless immense swells eroded the beach.
Weeks of rainfall and chaotic weather person severely eroded beaches successful immoderate coastal regions of New South Wales.
Some of the worst hits areas were Sydney’s Cronulla and North Maroubra beaches, and Bar Beach successful Newcastle.
Wow. This utilized to beryllium Nth Cronulla beach, and Sth Cronulla is backmost to bare stone too. I’ve ne’er seen them this bad.
The operation astatine Cronulla was craned retired connected Monday nighttime aft the Sutherland assembly deemed it unsafe, and said immoderate further erosion of the soil slope “would airs an unacceptable hazard to the structural integrity” of the tower.
A spokesperson for the assembly said that extended works were being done to “address the interaction of important soil erosion” crossed the shire’s beaches and reassured formation goers that formation information would not beryllium affected.
“Lifeguards volition support the aforesaid level of ocular surveillance arsenic would ordinarily beryllium provided during wintertime months from the Coastalwatch surf cameras,” said the spokesperson.
James Mcfadden, a section nonmigratory who has lived successful the shire for 27 years said helium had “never seen the h2o this high”.
“I spoke to 1 aged fella successful his 80’s and helium told maine helium hadn’t seen it similar this for decades, the soil usually goes retired for a 100 metres astatine debased tide,” helium said.
Mcfadden, who was astatine the formation taking photographs said soil cliff faces had replaced the mean entries to the formation each the mode to Kurnell.
Coastal geomorphologist and Professor astatine the University of Melbourne, David Kennedy said the scenes astatine Cronulla were “uncharacteristic but not unprecedented” and said the standard of the erosion seen was apt owed to the interference of infrastructure successful the earthy formation process.
“Beaches are counterintuitive. They’re escaped piles of sand. But due to the fact that they are movable obstructions to the h2o they are large astatine benignant of laying determination and acting arsenic a buffer. They are the daze absorbers of the coast,” helium said.
“What we’ve done is we’ve removed immoderate of the shocks connected the coast, by putting successful the seawall, and by doing this we person efficaciously reduced the beaches resilience to change. Because what we’re protecting is the infrastructure down the formation and not needfully the beaches themselves.”
Kennedy said the dense oversea walls connected either broadside of North Cronulla formation apt contributed to the accrued erosion of the shore. The oversea walls were constructed successful 1974 aft a akin play of stormy upwind eroded the beachfront and threatened the properties and infrastructure that enactment it.
“We volition astir apt spot much events specified arsenic these arsenic clime alteration takes its toll, and we get much eastbound seashore lows. The problem, of course, is successful the past 50 years we person done a monolithic magnitude of gathering connected our shorelines, and we’ve really reduced the earthy capableness of the beaches.”
Kennedy admits that determination are nary casual answers for councils looking to support their shorefronts. He says a “balancing enactment betwixt protecting spot and protecting the coast” needs to beryllium struck, informing that hard engineering solutions were not ever effective.
In Cronulla’s case, Kennedy expects the soil to people instrumentality to the formation erstwhile the existent bout of atrocious upwind ends and warns adding further oversea walls could marque the erosion worse.
“I would expect the soil to travel backmost successful that area, if you were to permission it alone. However, the timescale of erstwhile it would travel backmost would beryllium harder to predict, and would truly beryllium connected the weather”
“The question truly volition beryllium however agelong is the assembly consenting to permission it successful its existent state.”
A lifeguard tower was left teetering on a cliff edge and had to be relocated, after constant huge swells battered the shoreline