Merewether Beach has been crowned the “best city beach” in Australia for 2018 and has maintained its place in the top 101 Best Australian Beaches list.
Produced by Global Beach Ambassador for Tourism Australia, Brad Farmer, the list assesses 11,761 beaches around the country.
New assessment standards for the 2018 ratings included a fresh ‘Triple-A’ criteria: Affordable, Accessible and Authentically Australian.
Mr Farmer has been researching Australian beaches for over 33 years and wrote the first Surfing Guide to Australia in 1985.
“This year’s list was all about finding genuine and authentic Australian experiences,” Mr Farmer said. “At Merewether, its not overly pretentious; people are down to earth and friendly. Other contenders like the Gold Coast and Sydney's Manly or Bondi Beach, are now congested and over-exposed."
Beachgoers agreed. On Tuesday, father and son Mike Graeme Wheeler were at Merewether where Mr Wheeler snr was visiting from Brisbane.
Though he said he didn’t get a chance to visit often, Graeme said the local was “stunning” and compared well with his home on the Gold Coast.
Figures released with the list suggest 70 per cent of international tourists visit Australian beaches as part of their trip.
Take it from the beachgoers …
"Well it's got to be good for Newcastle I suppose, to get rated like that, it will just bring people here.
“It's a great beach, probably the best beach we've got.
“I've got my certain spots though, I like a bit of room; down at redhead and around that area."
- Scott Black, 52, Boolooroo
"I think Merewether Beach is the best beach. This is where my father used to bring me as a child and now I bring my children here.
“I come to Merewether to relax and you can have food if you want, or just lay on the beach.
“My whole family is based around this beach, so i agree it's the best."
- Doone Wilson, 47, Fletcher
"It should be [voted the best]. It's nice, it's clean and it's just a great place to come.
“It's a much cleaner than down there [Sydney] and the crowds are never as bad."
- Andy Morrison, 38, Fern Bay
“It's a really great atmosphere here. There's always plenty of people running around and it's a lively beach, there's always plenty happening.
“You can always find a park, there's less crowds and everyone's always considerate when you're swimming in the baths."
- Amy Ryan, 36, Fern Bay
“I think it's really accessible to anyone in any sort of situation in life. People can come down and obviously accessibility is great, there's a park run down here on Saturdays, and it's very much an area for everybody. It's great for families and surfers love it."
- Brenton Pobjie, 48, Carrington
"I grew up in Sydney, so being familiar with Sydney beaches I think that's one of the attractions of Newcastle Beaches [less congestion and overcrowding], particularly Merewether.
“It's great to see not just beach users, because I come from Matiland, I come in and run, then have a swim and then catch up with friends.”
“It's that appealing I'm willing to travel 45 minutes to get here."
- Kylie Rose, 46, Maitland
"When I think of Merewether, I think of the stretch. It's not as compact as some of the Sydney beaches and plus, you don't have to pay for parking.
“It's kind of one of the world's best kept secrets, we kind of don't want people to know. I've been surfing here since I was 12. I work in Sydney but I live up in Newcastle, primarily so I don't have to put up with the crowds; and the rat race; and the traffic; and the parking; and the general vibe, it's a lot more relaxed here.”
- Michael Negline, 46, Newcastle
“This is a beautiful spot, the baths are excellent, I don't think we have anything like this in Brisbane.
“I've actually got a disability myself, I've injured my back and I've got muscular dystrophy.
“Getting down here was easy and there's wheelchair ramps down the baths.”
- Adam Killey, 45, Brisbane