The largest town on the western side of Lake Macquarie, Toronto is a picturesque waterside getaway that throws the doors open to aquatic adventures, seafood dining and spectacular natural wonders. Close to Watagans National Park and the famed Hunter Valley wine region, Toronto is a great base for exploring the Lake Macquarie area.

The wooden Toronto public wharf and a tour boat on Lake Macquarie

Lakeside lifestyle

The western side of Australia’s largest coastal saltwater lake is a popular spot for sailing, rowing, fishing and cycling. Join locals on the 3.6km cycling and walking path between the Royal Toronto Motor Yacht Club and Fassifern Railway Station to discover a petrified forest with trees created by volcanic ash 250 million years ago.

Those tempted to make a sea change should circle Lakefest on the calendar, which celebrates the area’s aquatic lifestyle every February. Lovers of good food and wine should also pencil in the Lake Mac Food & Wine Festival in October and visit the bustling Farmers and Artisan Market held on the first Saturday of the month.

Installation view - 13 urns by Richard Lewer and Felicity Law, Richard Lewer's paining in background at Museum of Art and Culture Lake Macquarie, North Coast

Culture & heritage

The Kurra Kurrin fossilised pines in Blackalls Park are culturally significant to the local Aboriginal people, who have Dreaming stories about the ancient stone forest. You can learn more about local Aboriginal history and cultural heritage by visiting the Museum of Art and Culture (MAC)’s fine Indigenous collection.

Rathmines Catalina Festival - Lake Macquarie Area

Art lovers should visit Dobell House, the former home and studio of William Dobell, a famous local artist who won the Archibald Prize for portraiture three times. Take a detour to Rathmines to visit the Catalina Memorial Park – once the largest seaplane military base in the southern hemisphere and a World War II base for Catalina flying boats.

Getting there & where to stay

Toronto is a two-hour drive north of Sydney and around 40min from Newcastle. You can also take the train up the coast to nearby Fassifern Station, which takes just under three hours, or fly into Newcastle Airport. Accommodation options include motels, apartments and lakeside holiday parks.