The history of Catherine Hill Bay revolves around coal, shipping and engineering. For anyone with even the slightest interest in the history of New South Wales, a visit to Catherine Hill Bay is a must.
I could start a ten-page rave about the history of Catherine Hill Bay and why the old jetty should be saved, but I leave that to Wikipedia on Catherine Hill Bay – I’ll just stay with what I came here for – how to get there by public transport.
If you possess a Seniors Card the return trip is just the regular day Opal fare of just $2.50. If you’re on an Opal (full fare) adult cardholder the fare is a few more dollars.
Unfortunately, there is no bus service to Catherine Hill Bay on Sundays or public holidays, and a limited service on Saturdays.
The trip starts out from Sydney Central aboard the regular (M-F) Opal service from Central to Newcastle Interchange, departing Central at 05:45.
Alight at Wyong where the train arrives at 07:34. When you tap off with your Opal card and exit the station you’re at the bus stop – right out front of the station.
The bus to catch from here is bus number 80 to the Lake Haven Shopping Centre, Lake Haven. The timetable for Wyong station to Lake Haven
On arrival at the Lake Haven Shopping Centre change here for bus number 99 with the destination, Swansea. The timetable for Lake Haven to Charlestown and Swansea
After a 30-minute bus ride, you’ll arrive at Catherine Hill Bay. The first bus stop in Catherine Hill Bay is out the front of what is known by the locals as the “Catho Pub” or The Wallarah Hotel. Alight here.
The pub serves meals 7 days a week. It’s the closest and most convenient establishment to have lunch if you’re traveling by public transport. So if you’re looking forward to lunch, I’d suggest you alight here and check out their menu. After that, it’s an easy walk down the hill to the beach past all the old workers’ cottages.
On arrival at the beach, you’ll see the famous Catherine Hill Bay Wharf to your right. You’ll also almost certainly find the lifeguards of the Catherine Hill Bay Surf Club on duty. The beach is beautiful, so if it’s summer, pack a swimsuit for a dip.
At the front of the Surf Club, there’s a large board with the history of Catherine Hill Bay. There is a road behind the club that once lead to the jetty. But now the jetty is blocked off from the public. You can now only walk as far as the barrier.
Once you’ve visited the beach, walk back up to the pub for lunch. For your departure from Catherine Hill Bay, you can use the same bus stop out front of the pub to catch bus 99 departing at 13:28, north, through to Charlestown Square where you’ll arrive at 14:11. Be careful not to miss the bus as if you view the timetable you’ll see there are only a few services a day.
Charlestown Square is the largest shopping mall in the Newcastle area so there are numerous buses heading through to the Newcastle Interchange where you find trains departing back to Sydney every half hour.
Enjoy the round trip to the historic location. Be sure to check all your departure times from the timetables in case of any changes before setting out.