Ghosties Beach Caves (Rainbow Caves)
Central Coast & Hunter - NSW
Munmorah State Conservation Area
Allow 1.5 hrs
Elevation gain (m):
Max. elevation (m):
Moderate (Grade 3)
Looking out of first cave
Looking out of the slot cave
Beach access sign at start of walk
Looking out of first cave
Click to see full image.
A hidden gem on the Central Coast, these beach caves are found at the bottom of towering cliffs and near pristine beaches and offer a secluded feel.
This moderately trafficked walk starts at the Beach Access sign on Hooey Street in Catherine Hill Bay.
The whole area is nestled within the Munmorah State Conservation Area, meaning that the walk is not dog-friendly.
Start down the rough beach access trail, where you will shortly pass a small swampy pond, before crossing a wooden footbridge through the swampy section.
At the first junction head right (both trails lead to beach, but heading right gets you closer to the caves). At the second junction, continue straight down to Moonee Beach.
You will immediately get great views south across Moonee Beach up to Little Beach and Flat Rocks Point. Look north to Hales Bluff and look for surfers in the ocean.
The walk to the beach is approximately 600m, with an additional kilometre to the caves.
Once at the beach, head right along the shore towards the rocky headland. Take some time to explore Flat Rocks Point, a popular spot for local anglers.
Round the corner to Ghosties Beach, across sand dunes and a boulder strewn section between the mainland and Flat Rocks Point.
You will get your first view of the caves as you round the corner, with the cliff punctuated by the tall slot cave. You will also see another larger cave below the saddle to Maktub Rock to the left.
The towering cliffs give the location a secluded feel, particularly given that the cliffs run most the way along Ghosties Beach.
Note that access to caves is tide and swell dependent, and you ideally want both to be low to safely access the caves. The second cave is especially difficult to access unless conditions are ideal.
For reference, the photos of the caves are not during optimal conditions. While the tide was approaching the low, the swell was not low, meaning small waves were continually crashing into the cave. If either was any higher, it would not be advisable to enter the caves, and
Enter through the tall slot cave and follow it through to a wider, deeper section of the cave, which opens up toward the ocean, with magnificent views of Maktub Rock and the second cave.
In the right light, the rocks within the cave look rainbow coloured, and so the caves are sometimes referred to as the Rainbow Caves.
The second cave is only accessible during the lowest point of the tide and in low swell, and is unique with bright red/purple rocks.
When returning, there is the option to head to the northern end of Moonee beach and explore the headland (via the Moonee Beach Track).
While the popular Pink Caves have been shut by the council due to a number of deaths at the site, the walk across the headland is still lovely, with elevated views down on to the beach, as well as views from the top of Pink Caves and Deep Cave Bay.
Track: The walk consists of a rough trail to the beach, followed by walking along the beach. While not signed, the track is relatively easy to follow.
Difficulty: The walk is mostly flat, with the exception of the beach access trail, and is suitable for most fitness levels.
Direction: The walk is an out-and-back track that returns the way it came.
The walk starts from the a Beach Access sign on Hooey Street in Catherine Hill Bay (GPS co-ordinates -33.166572, 151.626460), 9 hours drive south of Brisbane, or 1.5 hours drive north-east of Sydney.
Parking is limited, but is typically sufficient for how trafficked the walk is.
best time to go
The walk can be completed year-round, however, to safely access the caves it is recommended to visit at low-tide, during low swell conditions. You can check tide and swell at this website.
The walk is exposed to the sun and would be less desirable during the hottest part of the day in warmer months.
Remember, whenever venturing into the outdoors, practice the Leave No Trace principles and be considerate of others. This means: dispose of your waste properly, don't remove things or move things from their natural position and respect all wildlife. Also be sure to plan ahead and adequately prepare for any adventure.
I respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which all activities listed on this website are found, as well as Elders past, present and emerging. I strive to not promote sites where requests have been made for people not to explore due to the cultural significance of the site to Indigenous peoples, or note how to respectfully visit a site. If I have a promoted a site with cultural significance, please send me a message and let me know.