Swansea is at the entrance to beautiful Lake Macquarie and near lovely ocean beaches, famous sea caves, intriguing Catherine Hill Bay heritage and the Wallarah National Park. Fun aquatic activities include sailing, surfing and fishing. In the national park are walking tracks and mountain bike trails.
On a peninsula between Australia’s largest coastal saltwater lake and the Pacific Ocean, Swansea is less than two hours’ drive north of Sydney and a short drive south of Newcastle. In and around Swansea are waterside restaurants and cafes, and accommodation options to suit various budgets.
The charming town is close to the soft sands of Blacksmiths, Caves and Catherine Bay beaches, all with picnic tables and barbecue facilities. Caves Beach is just south 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.
The Coastal walking track in Wallarah National Park connects Caves Beach with a 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. The old coal-loading jetty is a landmark, and the bay is great for snorkelling and diving.
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 cycle from Swansea, and there is a network of shared paths around the shimmering lake.
For high-speed thrills, JetBuzz Watersports will take you jet-boating on either the lake or ocean and you’ll experience the adrenaline rush of fishtails, power brakes and spins. What about gentler water sports? You can hire kayaks and stand-up paddleboards from JetBuzz and explore the lake paddling.