I just love the expression ‘travelling’ north.’
Wish I was ‘travellin’ north’ right now rather than at my desk and about to start cooking.
Happy travellers north-bound from Sydney can find everything they need for a family-friendly weekend getaway or a much longer break up at Lake Macquarie.
Here you’ll find the best things to do at Lake Macquarie, plus deals and specials on accommodation, at the bottom of the post.
It’s just a 1.5 hour drive to the Lake and when you get there… so much to see and do… or be like me and try to do very little.
Lake Macquarie is Australia’s largest coastal salt-water lake. The area also 30 kilometres of pristine coastline, that means lots of gorgeous beaches.
Here follow 25 ideas of things to see and do at Lake Macquarie. At the bottom of the post, you’ll find links where you can find out more.
Towns & Villages
With more than 90 towns, villages and tight-knit communities dotted across its coastal, lake and mountainous landscape, there’s plenty to explore in lovely Lake Macquarie. Top towns include:
1. Rathmines & Wangi Wangi
Lakeside hamlets packed with cultural and historic attractions.
2. Wallarah Peninsula
Tailor made for family getaways, home to charming villages, rainforests and historic Catherine Hill Bay
Gateway to the district, Morisset is home to galleries, shopping and museums. For a change of pace try horseriding in the rainforest or kayaking on Dora Creek.
Plenty of variety here to choose from. You might like to lie on the long sandy beaches, or find a more secluded cove to explore.
4. Catherine Hill Bay
The region’s most photogenic beach, home to rock platforms, a historic jetty and loved by scuba divers, snorkelers and surfers
5. Caves Beach
A family favourite with sea caves, rock pools, surfing and beaches patrolled throughout summer, pictured above
6. Redhead Beach
Renowned for its red rocky headland, wooden lookout tower, timber boardwalk and fabulous four-wheel driving.
The waterways of Lake Macquarie provide a spectacular aquatic environment ideal for visiting anglers keen to chase after flathead, bream, whiting and seasonal species. Top spots include:
7. On the water – The Drop Over, Marks Point and Pulbah Island
8. On the shore – Lucy’s Wall, Swansea Heads, Shingle Splitters Point and Balcolyn
9. With the kids – Pelican Foreshore Reserve, Pelican and Speers Point Park.
With walking trails galore taking in beach and lake views, lush rainforest and lovely lookouts, there’s no better way to explore Lake Macquarie than on foot. Child-friendly choices include:
10. Gap Creek Falls in the Watagan Mountains
A cool rainforest bushwalk leads to one of the Hunter region’s best waterfalls (1.5km return)
11. Belmont Lagoon
Ideally situated between the ocean and the lake, this walk is at its best in the early morning or late afternoon when the birdlife is active (4.3km return)
12. Mount Sugarloaf
This summit walk culminates in panoramic views across plains and the ocean to Newcastle and Lake Macquarie. Short but steep it’s family-friendly. (1.6km return)
Cycling is the ideal way to show off the treasures of Lake Macquarie to the entire family, with pathways catering for all ages and abilities. Highlights include:
13. Booragul to Belmont
With panoramic lake views, mountain vistas and the elevated over-water Redbluff Boardwalk, enjoy cafes, picnic spots, and an award-winning playground along the way (3-5km between major towns, 18km in total)
14. Fernleigh Track (Belmont to Adamstown)
Following a historic disused rail corridor through bushlands, wetlands and suburbia, this is one of the best-known pathways in the area (15km)
15. Wangi Wangi
Check out the yachts, sailboats, birdlife and sporadic turtle spotting as you make a leisurely trip around Wangi Bay (1.4km).
Enjoying 30km of unspoilt coastline and a central lake twice the size of Sydney Harbour, Lake Macquarie is a hotbed of water-based action (cruise, jet-ski, wakeboard, fish, sail) for all ages:
16. Swinging Bridge Dora Creek
A terrific secret kayaking destination, the trail heads upstream taking in eagle’s nests, lizards, waterbirds and of course, the picturesque swinging bridge
17. Pulbah Island
Only accessible by boat, this island is home to a nature reserve, making it a quiet spot for a pretty picnic and beautiful bushwalk
Boat, jet-ski, yacht, catamaran or kayak, there are so many sandy inlets and coves to discover.
19. Jet boat ride
It’s thrilling and spray-soaking fun out on the Lake.
With fresh seafood, delicious local produce and superb Hunter wines on offer, there’s a casual café, family-friendly bistro, fine dining restaurant or fabulous fish and chips shop to suit every palate – and budget:
20. Awaba House Restaurant & Café
Set amongst 15 acres of parkland and adjacent to Lake Macquarie Art Gallery this art deco cafe is the perfect place to enjoy a Devonshire tea
21. Salty Dog Bistro at Lake Macquarie Yacht Club
Unobstructed views of the picturesque marina make this an ideal location to relax and unwind for breakfast, lunch or dinner
22. Milanos on the Lake
A relaxed waterfront venue offering locally sourced seafood in a stunning location.
23. Speers Point Playground
One of the largest and best playgrounds in NSW is found on the shores of the north end of the Lake. Read more about Speers Point Playground here.
A Big Swim
23. Across The Lake Swim
This 3.8km annual swim takes place each February.
24. Aerobatics Adrenaline Rush
Do an aerobatic flight with Matt Hall Racing, you can even combine that with skydiving. Yikes!
Art + Craft
25. Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery
See exhibitions of the Hunter’s exceptional arts and crafts, plus touring exhibitions in this gallery, then enjoy the sculpture park and mosaic pathway.
Smack bang on the spectacular shores of beautiful Lake Macquarie is the heritage-listed Dobell House, this was the home and studio of the late Sir William Dobell, one of Australia’s most famous painters.
There’s a permanent exhibition, Dobell, his Life and Art, inside. You can also see how the family lived and what sorts of things they used. The garden is also very attractive and has many of Dobell’s original plantings, which are clearly identified.
Where To Stay At Lake Macquarie
Check out all the best deals and specials from Booking.com below. This is a terrific resource for your research. Just click on See All Deals and pop in the dates you are looking at.
But we do recommend booking your room direct with the hotel!!
Can you recommend a great spot for families?
Would you like to write up a wee guest post for others??
Thank you to Visit Lake Macquarie for sending information and providing photos for this post.