Lake Macquarie – what a playground you are! Located just 1.5hrs North of Sydney this beauty is twice the size of Sydney Harbour and the largest saltwater lake in the Southern Hemisphere.
Yep, it certainly is HUMONGOUS and full of non-stop opportunities for family fun. Once you arrive you’ll see that this area is more than ‘just a lake’. It’s like a ‘choose your own adventure’ book – what will you do first?
Check out all that’s on offer below with our ‘Top 9 things to do in Lake Macquarie‘ –
1. Explore the lake (of course! )
Located on Awabakal country, Lake Macquarie is traditionally called Awaba which means ‘a flat or plain surface’. This glassy surface certainly puts on a show at sunrise and sunset. The vibrant sky reflects on the lake’s surface as far as the eye can see, making for some great photo opportunities.
You can grab a fishing rod and try your hand at catching a fish, jump in a kayak or simply go for a swim. And why not combine all that with a picnic? With a circumference of 174km there are unlimited opportunities to find yourself a lovely patch of grass and set up for the day.
2. Become cave explorers at Caves Beach
The sea caves located at the southern end of Caves beach are a sight to behold. When you arrive you are greeted by a grand stone arch that has been carved out by the ocean swell over thousands of years.
As you venture further into the cave you’ll find a network of tiny tunnels and holes as well as some colourful rock pools – the kids will have a ball exploring every nook and cranny… and if they rope you into following them into a dark tunnel, be sure to duck your head haha!!!
The caves are only accessible at mid to low tide so make sure you check your tide times before you arrive. After exploring the caves head over to Caves Coastal Bar and Bungalows for lunch or dinner to relax and re-fuel.
3. Jump on a Lake Mac Boat Tour
**Update: The Lake Mac Ferry has now closed – click here to see the new exciting Lake Cruise & Nature Walk
The best way to see the sights and experience ‘lake life’ is to jump on the Lake Mac Ferry. Running every Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday this 19-metre boat is certainly the best way to travel and get a feel for just how big the body of water is.
We made a day of it – hopping on at Speers Point Park, zig zagging our way down the lake and then hopping off at Wangi Wangi to enjoy lunch at the Wangi Hotel. After a relaxing lunch, we checked out a few of the ‘knick-knack’ shops before hopping back on the Ferry to head back home.
4. Bike ride baby!
The Watagans Cycle Track is one of Lake Macquarie’s most popular activities. Stretching from Speers Point to Warners Bay, the shared walking and cycling pathway is lovely and flat making it perfect for the whole family.
The track wraps around the edge of the Lake with incredible water views, and to our delight, some exciting bridge crossings too. We couldn’t resist hiring the boomerang bikes that are located along the foreshore and taking them for a spin.
These bright purple ‘Beam’ bikes were easily activated by an app on our phone so it wasn’t long before we were all cruisin’ along together enjoying a family bike ride.
For more adventurous bikers, you could take a visit to Awaba Mountain Bike Park. This free park has some wonderful trail options to suit all abilities, including a development track for kids and a two-kilometre gravity trail for intermediate riders. There are downhill and cross-country tracks for those who are more advanced too.
5. Go nuts at the Lake Mac Variety Playground
The Kids will divorce you if you don’t visit this amazing award-winning park. Built for all ages and abilities your little monkeys will have a ball as they climb, swing and slide their way around – burning off some of that never ending energy they all seem to have.
Our mini Blondies loved the huge 9-metre spiral slide, climbing walls and of course the double flying fox. We can definitely see why it won Best Play Space in Australia in 2011.
6. Explore the Watagan Mountains
Step away from the coast to explore the wild Watagans! Featuring gorgeous waterfalls, walking tracks and even places to camp.
There are some great walks on offer here including an easy 600-metre walking circuit through the rainforest. Make sure you look out for the vibrant mossy rock wall and take some time to dip your toes in the creek on a hot day. Other popular activities within the Watagan Mountains include horse riding, rock climbing and four-wheel driving.
7. Get the heart pumping on a Jet Boat!
For those thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies how about spinning 360 degrees on a Jet Boat as you ‘hoon’ around Lake Macquarie! This thrilling tour pulls out all the tricks and will certainly get the heart pumping. Or for those over 16 years old, why not try a Sky Dive experience with Skydive Australia. Take in sprawling postcard views of Lake Macquarie as you drift back down to terra-firma in a tandem skydive.
8. Chill out at Catherine Hill Bay
Catherine Hill Bay, or ‘Catho’ as the locals call it is a tiny heritage town, where you feel as though you have stepped back in time.
We spent the afternoon here exploring this cave-lined coast, checking out the rock pools and spotting sea treasures under the huge old abandoned jetty. The jetty was used to load coal back in its heyday, and is now a much loved landmark for the region.
There was something refreshing and unique about this beach that we loved and we can see why it has been voted as one of Australia’s 101 Best Beaches more than once!
9. 4WD along Nine Mile Beach
You all know how much we love a good old beach drive and setting up in ‘prime pozzie’ on the sand for a fun day in the sun.
Pack a lunch, deflate those tyres and cruise along Nine Mile Beach, located between Redhead and Blacksmiths Beach. You’ll need to grab a beach driving permit and as always, check the tides and drive to the conditions.
Phew! Well it’s safe to say Lake Macquarie is a wonderful playground for families to enjoy. We have only just scratched the surface here and will definitely be back for more adventures soon.
Have you been? What’s your favourite place? We’d love you to share in the comments below.
For more info head to visitlakemac.com.au. Thanks Guys – see you out there!
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