Travel

The Weekender: Lake Macquarie

Looking for a weekend getaway filled with activities and beautiful hotels that won’t blow a hole in your bank account? Welcome to Lake Macquarie!

There’s plenty to do up this way, from skimming the waters in various floating devices to exploring the shores with various land vehicles. You can also walk, which is great for burning all those calories you won’t regret putting on. But first, where shall you stay?

STAY


Ingenia Holidays Lake Macquarie

Located on the serene southern shores of Lake Macquarie is this holiday park featuring cabins, a swimming pool, waterfront views and places to park your campervan. Take a dip in the pool, enjoy a short drive to some of the state’s most beautiful beaches, or take advantage of the easy access to the jetty and waterfront.


Ingenia Holidays Lake Macquarie – 28 Monterey Ave, Mannering Park


Blacksmiths Beachside Holiday Park

Blacksmiths is the perfect base for lengthy strolls on pristine white sands, taking refreshing dips under the watchful eye of the local surf lifesaving patrol or just listening to the sounds of the Pacific Ocean rolling in. Boating enthusiasts will love the nearby launch facilities, offering easy access to both the open ocean and the tranquil lake where you can swim, surf, fish and sail for days.


Blacksmiths Beachside Holiday Park – 30 Gommera St, Blacksmiths


Belmont Bayview Park

Perfectly slotted between the tranquil waters of Lake Macquarie and the roaring Pacific Ocean is Belmont Bayview Park, another holiday park with exclusive cabins. It’s the best way to do Lake Macquarie. Unless you’re a hotel kind of person, which there are plenty of options. Enjoy free wifi, barbeque access, an outdoor dining area and a private pool.


Belmont Bayview Park – 1 Gerald Street, Belmont


EAT & DRINK


Crusoe’s on the Lake

It is considered to be the best waterfront restaurant Lake Macquarie has to offer. Admire the view and take in the sounds of local birds and swishing water. They serve up traditional pub delights, from burgers to steaks, as well as an array of seafood delights. There are even share options for large groups or families who hate letting their children decide. Also, word of warning: Don’t feed the seagulls.


Crusoe’s on the Lake – Lake Macquarie Yacht Club, Ada St, Belmont


The Olde Bakehouse

There’s something very special about Italian food, and it seems the guys and girls at The Olde Bakehouse have tapped into it. Get fed like a true Italian child and breathe in the aromatic smells of unique spices and herbs. Also, ask the waiter for one of their great value house wines, or maybe even something more special. Don’t forget to pre-book, and remember to ask about dietary requirements to ensure a great night.


The Olde Bakehouse – 6 Yambo St, Morisset


Hughzies Lakeside Brasserie

For something a little more chilled and child-friendly, check out Hughzies Lakeside Brasserie. Their menu features a travelling expedition of various cuisines; from the pasta-loving Italians to generous Greek salads, all the way to good old Aussie oysters. When the plates are empty and licked clean, treat yourself (and maybe the kids if they’ve eaten their greens) to something sweet. The chocolate & Nutella brownie with salted caramel ice cream is a sure pick!


Hughzies Lakeside Brasserie –  4/157 Brighton Ave, Toronto


DO


Pulbah Island Half Day Kayak Tour

Kayaking. Image: Dudarev Mikhail

Smack-bang in the middle of Lake Macquarie is Pulbah Island, a nice spot to truly get away. School of Yak offers kayak tours and training in Lake Macquarie for families of all ages keen to enjoy the waterways up close and discover Pulbah Island. Visit the island’s northern side to explore shallow beaches and safe anchorages, or head south and prepare to be impressed by the island’s rocky outcrops and steep cliffs.


School of Yak short day tours: $120pp (adult)


Jet Boat Thrill Ride

This is anything but tranquil. Lake Macquarie’s most exhilarating adventure, JetBuzz, is always ready to bring your heart rate up to a metronomic pace. Enjoy the thrilling full circle spins, power brake stops and fun fish tails – you can even opt for the Ocean Extreme adventure and enjoy additional thrills and spills out in the ocean.


JetBuzz Jet Boating: $65pp for 35 min (adult) – Ocean Extreme: $90pp for 60 min (adult)


Warners Bay Boomerang Bikes

For just $14, you can spend an hour bike riding in and around Warners Bay, a lively lakeside town that has everything from boutique shopping to quirky eateries and a fabulous foreshore. Hire a bike with Boomerang Bikes and enjoy a ride along the water’s edge while admiring the panoramic lake views. Be sure to check out the Warners Bay Boardwalk, giving a front-row seat to spectacular sunrises and sunsets.


Boomerang Bikes: $14 for 1 hour, $28 for 4 hours – Warners Bay


Caves Beach

Caves Beach. Image: Supplied

Lake Macquarie’s iconic Caves Beach holds its place as a firm family favourite. It’s extensive network of sea caves and rock pools are ideal for low-tide exploration, which are a teaser for camera enthusiasts looking for a competition-winning snap. Caves Beach is home to the Caves Beach Surf Life Saving Club, a kiosk and plenty of picnic facilities. Pack your sunnies, hat and sunscreen, get your swimmers on (if you can brace the cold, or perhaps wait til summer), and enjoy a day out the family will remember.


Caves Beach: Free to explore


Catherine Hill Bay Beach

Catherine Hill Bay Beach. Image: Chadwick Clark

If you’re searching for a spectacular place to relax and maybe finish off that novel you’re reading, then look no further than Catherine Hill Bay Beach. The historic mining village of Catherine Hill Bay is State Heritage Listed with a beach that’s been named twice as one of ‘Australia’s 101 Best Beaches’. Popular for swimming, surfing and fishing, the beach’s main feature is an iconic former coal-loading jetty, evidence of the area’s mining history and a popular photography spot. You’d also want to be quick to visit, as there have been continued discussions about the jetty’s removal.


Catherine Hill Bay Beach: Free to explore


Feature Image: Dudarev Mikhail

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