Nelson Bay is one of the best kitesurfing locations on the East Coast of Australia.
The reason is the bay has beaches facing every direction allowing you to have crosshore, onshore and offshore kiting opportunities in any wind direction.
Late May to Early September is absolute blast zone with the Westerlies reaching 30-40 knots regularly as they venturi down inside the bay. There are around 60% of days above 12 knots with most of them 15-25 knots and about 20% 25+, peaking July and August.
October to early March are when you can expect the Nor'Easters and Southerlies to start coming through giving a great opportunity for some offshore wave action and flat water from practicing your jumps.
The Northerlies tend to be weaker than the southerlies. The southerlies generally come with a storm front and large waves in the south exposed beaches.
April and September are the least windy times here so great for surfing or hydrofoiling with multiple surf break options and plenty of protected or exposed breaks suiting all ability levels.
The difficulty in the bay is the lack of reliable wind reports for anything other than Northerlies.
For live wind readings Port Stephens Marine Rescue weather station is better than relying on the Willy-Weather station at Williamtown which generally gives you a reading significantly under what the wind speed is in Nelson Bay for Westerlies due to the Venturi and Bay effect and is pretty inaccurate with most other directions.
For anything with South in it the gust readings from the Marine Rescue is closer to the actual wind speed than what their report says. E.g. if it says 15 knots gusting 30 knots from the South West, it's probably a stable 30 knots.
Port Stephens Marine Rescue is protected from most southerly winds so rarely gives a reliable reading for these. You're better off checking the willy weather wind report for Nobbys Beach (down in Newcastle) if you are looking at kiting Birubi as that will be more accurate. If you're kiting Jimmy's/Waynderrabah the southerlies are generally a few knots less than the Nobby's reading.
SE can be a bit gusty and unreliable.
ESE-ENE are pretty gusty near Yacaba Head, though you can just head farther up the beach.
Offshore flatwater in a NE.
Shallow water good for learning on low tides
Beginner on low tides. Intermediate on high.
Jimmy's is our primary location for teaching beginners in Nelson Bay. We choose it due to the large expanse of shallow water on its most eastern end near Yacaaba Head and because it is kiteable in nearly every wind direction.
The NE in summer creates the best flat water in the region. It is the perfect spot for training jumps or practicing board skills as a beginner as there is almost no chop.
On big southerly or easterly swells you get waves rolling through the south side of Yacaaba which make great ramps.
4wds use the beach so have your gear altogether and visible so it won't get run over and you aren't disrupting other beach users.
Waynderrabah/Bennetts beach is a short walk away as well if you want to ride onshore or offshore depending on the wind direction.
Getting to Jimmy's is easiest to do by boat. You can contact us to know when we are going over there if you would like to join. It is between a 5 and 15-minute boat ride depending on conditions and we charge $30 for a round trip or free with a lesson.
Otherwise, there is a ferry over to Tea Gardens but that doesn't drop you very close to Jimmy's or you can drive an hour and a half from Nelson Bay around to the Jimmy's Beach car park.
By boat is by far the easiest option and drops you straight at the kite beach.
All directions except ESE to S down near Yacaaba head.
NW can be gusty
Beginner/Intermediate in onshore
Advanced in offshore.
Great intermediate/advanced location.
Fantastic spot for waves and offshore riding as the wind in a SW or W is super clean and can be very strong to launch you into some massive airs in 30-40 knots.
The same accessibility as Jimmy's Beach so contact us if you'd like a boat ride over there.
Absolutely beautiful spot with a lovely hike up Yacaaba Head if you've got non-kiters coming with you.
Bagnall's Beach/Conroy Park
WNW, NW, N, NE
Gets gusty when swings more West or East.
Easy Access for kiting a NW
Decent spot if you are a beginner. Water gets a bit choppy in the higher wind days as it has a lot of water it can travel over, but that does make the wind cleaner.
The water is quite shallow going out from Bagnall's Beach for about 100 metres at spots on low tides so a nice place to practice if you're in the habit of losing your board.
Be careful when launching and landing. There isn't a large amount of beach and it backs onto trees. If you are not confident in landing I would recommend doing the self-rescue landing in the shallow water so you don't risk losing your kite to the trees.
NW, W, SW, S, SE
Gets gusty when swings more North or East.
NW can be a bit gusty, but worth it for the clean waves.
Birubi is a lot of fun for a more experienced kiter, but heaps of beach space available if you want to practice your kite-flying skills.
You get some big waves rolling through here which make perfect ramps for jumping or riding.
The waves break and then roll up to the beach for quite a distance giving a lot of flat water for jumping and landing practice as well.
You can get some funky upwind currents here which can make board recovery quite difficult. Because of all the wave action it will generally wash back onto the shore but can be upwind of where you lost it (speaking from experience here haha.)
In a big southerly the waves here can get absolutely massive, which is exciting but not for the faint of heart or anyone unsure of their skills.
Fingal Bay/Fingal Spit
NE, SE, S
Be aware of dead zones and turbulence from Shark Island and dunes.
Fingal Beach: Beginner/Intermediate
Fingal Spit: Intermediate/Advanced
The spit is an absolutely beautiful spot for a more advanced kiter to ride.
Super clean waves on the south side of the spit.
You can either do the big walk up from Fingal to set up near the spit, do a smaller walk down from Box Beach if the tide isn't too high (can even just set up at box and downwinder to the spit if the wind is right), or you can set up on the south side of Fingal and tack your way up, then do a little downwinder at the end of the session on the NE.
As half the spit will be offshore we recommend being very comfortable in your upwind kiting ability, recovering your board in offshore conditions, and capable of doing a deep water pack down and swimming your gear back to shore in offshore wind and large swell.
Fingal Beach is quite nice to kite in a SE. You don't always get huge swell rolling through so it's quite approachable for a beginner looking to play in their first waves.
Nelson Bay and Port Stephens is an amazing place to kite, and there are many more options that the main ones I have covered. In a Westerly we have done a downwinder from Sunset Beach on the Western side of Soldier's Point around Dowadee Island, down to Corrie Island for some flat water jumps, then back across to Little Beach to finish. Hell of a leg burner but a lot of fun!
In the future we are going to be running assisted downwinders inside the bay for Kiting and Wind Winging so send us a message if you'd like to be notified for the next adventure!
If you're interested in riding in exotic locations check out our next tour here: