Merewether Beach has been named Australia's best city beach in an annual wrap-up of the nation's best stretches of coast, beating iconic locations such as Bondi Beach and Surfers Paradise.
The home of next month's Surfest competition was ranked among Australia's top beaches overall in the 101 Best Australian Beaches list, which cited it as the region's "blue jewel in the crown".
However, the citation made special mention of Merewether Beach evolving to become the best city beach in Australia.
"Other contenders like the Gold Coast and Sydney's Manly or Bondi Beach are now congested and over-exposed," the 101bestbeaches.com
"This section of coast to the north of Sydney has not only some of the nation's best quality surfing beaches, but has authentic locals and is comparatively affordable, all in a laid-back atmosphere, from the clean sands to an emerging café scene."
The listing also made mention of Merewether Beach's status as a National Surfing Reserve - one of only 20 in Australia.
Lord Mayor of Newcastle Nuatali Nelmes said that with summer in full swing and Surfest just around the corner, it was easy to see why Merewether had gained such recognition.
"From the ocean baths to the surfing breaks, Merewether Beach is one of the most spectacular stretches of coast in Australia," the Lord Mayor said.
"The surf breaks have always been there of course, but the improvements undertaken in the past 10 years - the ocean baths refurbishment, construction of the Bathers Way and development of Surf House - have really transformed it into a must-see destination for everyone.
"Locals have always known it, but it's nice to see us once again gain national recognition for this amazing place."
Merewether local and four-time surfing world champion Mark Richards said Merewether Beach "has everything going for it".
"From a surfing point of view, it has the most consistently surf-able waves of any beach in the area, and on its day those waves are world-class," he said.
"The beauty of it from a non-surfing point of view is the variety. It has the flagged area, you've got the rock platform for kids to explore, you go further south and you've got two of the best ocean baths in the world, then there are the cafes that have opened up as well."
"Then there's Bathers Way - Council has done a phenomenal job with that program."
The 101 Best Australian Beaches list is considered the benchmark for independent beach rankings in Australia and has been running since 2012.
The winner of Australia's best beach in this year's list was Nudey Beach off the coast of Cairns in Far North Queensland, while Horrocks Beach in WA was runner up.
Dreamtime Beach, south of Coolangatta, was the highest-ranked NSW beach coming in at No.3.