Swansea

Swansea sits at the mouth of Lake Macquarie, close to ocean beaches, famous sea caves, Wallarah National Park and the historic mining village of Catherine Hill Bay. Fun aquatic activities in Swansea include sailing, surfing and fishing, while walkers and mountain bikers are kept happy on trails through the national park. 

The charming town is close to the soft sands of Blacksmiths, Caves and Catherine Hill Bay beaches, all with picnic tables and barbecue facilities. Caves Beach is just south of Swansea and named after the ancient sea caves you can explore at low tide at the southern end. Tidal rock pools are near the caves’ entrance.

Sea caves at Caves Beach, Lake Macquarie

The coastal walking track in Wallarah National Park connects Caves Beach with a rugged headland just south of Pinny Beach, a dark sandy strip with excellent surfing and fishing. The ocean views along the 5km-return trail are spectacular – keep an eye out for humpback whales between May and November.

Catherine Hill Bay is a little farther south and named after a two-masted schooner shipwrecked in the area in 1867. Weatherboard coal miners’ cottages still stand in the heritage-listed beachside township, lending it a step-back-in-time atmosphere. The old coal-loading jetty is a landmark, and the bay is great for snorkelling and diving.

Coastal walking track at Wallarah National Park, Lake Macquarie

North across the Swansea Bridge is Blacksmiths Beach, a popular family beach. You can walk along a wheelchair-accessible pathway to Grannies Pool, a shallow tidal pool at the lake entrance. The beach is an easy bike ride from Swansea, and there is a network of shared paths that hug the shores of the lake.

For high-speed thrills, JetBuzz Watersports will take you jet-boating on either the lake or ocean where you’ll experience the adrenaline rush of fishtails, power brakes and spins. Looking for gentler water sports? You can hire kayaks and stand-up paddleboards from JetBuzz and explore the lake using paddle power.

   Swansea is a 1hr 45min drive north of Sydney and about 40min south of Newcastle. Trains run regularly to Newcastle or you can fly into Newcastle Airport from Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Brisbane and the Gold Coast. Accommodation in the region includes resorts, houses and villas to rent, and beachside holiday parks.