Take a deep dive into the Lake Macquarie region
The Lake Macquarie region lays claim to the largest saltwater lake in the Southern Hemisphere. But there’s more ways to explore beyond this watery wonderland, from scenic bushwalks to local food and wine.
Lace-up your hiking shoes
Wallarah National Park may be small in size, but this wild Mid North Coast expanse offers plenty of adventures. CoastXP's guided Caves Coastal Hike is the ideal way to go beyond the surface (although the surface is spectacularly beautiful). Explore hidden sea caves and dramatic views as the knowledgeable guide explains the region’s Aboriginal heritage, geology, and flora and fauna over 8.5 windswept kilometres.
Enjoy a bird’s-eye view
Arguably the best way to gain an appreciation for just how wide and wonderful Lake Macquarie is, is from the air. Your chariot awaits at Lake Macquarie Airport – perhaps a helicopter, to swoop low over rugged coastal cliffs. Or maybe on an acrobatic twirl with your heart in your mouth over wetlands and wilderness areas in an aerobatic aircraft. For the ultimate adrenaline rush, strap in for a skydive.
Get a fresh perspective
If you thought Sydney Harbour was impressive, wait until you spend time on Lake Macquarie – it’s actually twice as big, and brings with it an enviable roster of attractions. The best way to get your bearings is on a trip with Lake Mac Ferry. Spend a joyful day stopping off to take a dip at the netted Belmont Baths (sunsets here are dreamy); glide over to the
Channel your inner artist
There’s something about fresh sea air and undisturbed nature that inspires creativity, as you’ll fast discover exploring the Multi-Arts Pavilion, mima. Part of the region’s dynamic art precinct, mima is striking inside and out, designed to showcase displays of visual, digital and interactive art. The roster of musical events and beguiling sculpture park make a visit here endlessly entertaining.
Allow yourself to be totally enchanted with a day exploring Lake Macquarie’s underwater world. Get set to find out on a drift (where you go with the flow of the current) or still water dive with Dive Newcastle. You’ll soon find yourself mask-to-fin with marine creatures under the Swansea Bridge, around the coral ladder at Catherine Hill Bay, or amid ancient shipwrecks teeming with fish.
Sip and savour
What do you get if you ferment honey with water and spices? A bottle or two of mead – the ancient Greeks called it the “nectar of the Gods” for good reason. Discover this delicious drop at Honey Wines Australia Meadery, an estate that not only brews but also raises the bees. Order online, then pick up (by appointment) bottles of mead, jars of untreated honey, beauty products and drinking horns. Yes, they’re a thing.
Make the most of your morning
Visit Caves Beach at low tide and you’ll be in for an awe-inspiring hour or two of exploring the network of caves. It’s also a spectacular spot to watch the sun rise. As the light shifts and casts shadows over the sand, the East Coast of Australia begins to glow. Be sure to snap a shot of the sea from inside one of the caverns or wade out to rocky outcrops.
Feel the force of nature
At Watagans National Park, immerse yourself in the sweetly scented landscape of blue gums, blackbutt trees, brush cherries and tree ferns. The area is also home to more than 40 Indigenous art sites, with Awabakal and Darkinjung motifs carved into rock walls. Like an adventure with your nature hike? Out and About Adventures offers abseiling and rock-climbing expeditions through the wilderness.
Gain some speed
Experience Lake Macquarie at a thrilling pace that will leave a huge grin plastered across your face with JetBuzz Watersports. The company’s jet boat expeditions have names like ‘Thrill Ride’ and ‘Ocean Extreme’ – it’s fair to say they’re not for the faint of heart. If you prefer to explore at a more leisurely pace, hire a kayak or stand-up paddleboard, and head out to one of the lake’s sandy islands.
Put in some pedal power
Bandicoots, bats, gliders – these are just some of the animals you might spot pedalling around the bike trails of Glenrock State Conservation Area. Home to the region’s last surviving pocket of coastal rainforest, this reserve unites waterfalls with surf beaches and challenging off-piste mountain bike tracks with leisurely paths. It also protects a number of ancient Aboriginal sites that are a spiritual reminder of the world’s oldest living culture.