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Road Trip to Lake Macquarie

Home > Sydney > Beaches | Day Trips | Free | Outdoor | Places of Interest
by Gypsy Rose (subscribe)
I am a travel writer and photographer with a passion for the great outdoors and food! I love travelling and discovering hidden gems... experience the journey on Instragram! @gypsy_compass
Published June 21st 2020
Make Lake Macquarie be your next weekend getaway
Located around ninety minutes north of Sydney, Lake Macquarie is the utmost escape. It is the largest saltwater lake in the Southern Hemisphere and is more than twice the size of Sydney Harbour. It roughly covers 110-square metres and is technically a lagoon due to it being connected to the Tasman Sea by a small channel.

Image Courtesy from Lake Macquarie City Council Facebook


This aquatic playground became a shire in 1906, a municipality in 1977, and in 1984 it became a city. Lake Macquarie is home to main towns and villages including Charlestown, Morisset, Belmont, Toronto, Warners Bay, Valentine, Cooranbong, Mount Hutton, Swansea, and Cardiff. There are 70 villages and towns in total.



There are plenty of things to do, see and experience, including boating, kayaking or stand-up paddleboard. Strolling through lush cool rainforest on the many walks, camp by majestic waterfalls, and watch the sunrise from ancient sea caves.

Visit the lively farmers market for fresh produce, feast on fish and chips by the water's edge, or sit back and watch the sunset during happy hour.



There is something for everyone to enjoy at Lake Macquarie, making the perfect first stop on the Sydney to Brisbane Coastal Drive, an idyllic day trip or a romantic/ family-friendly weekend getaway.

Things to do at Lake Macquarie:

There is something for all ages and interests to do, see and experience at Lake Macquarie, including adventure, nature, walking and cycling, water activities, beaches and swimming spots, markets and shopping, art, history and culture, dining, and entertainment. Click here for a list of attractions.



Visit surrounding towns and villages; each offering their own charm and attractions.

Experience the beach life. Some beaches include Caves Beach (dotted with fascinating caves), Blacksmith Beach, and Catherine Hill Bay.

Hire a kayak and explore the Lake, or splurge a little and hire a full-sized yacht, and spend a few hours enjoying the serene water.



For the history buffs visit the multiple WWII attractions on the lakeside hamlet of Rathmines. Rathmines Park is home to the largest seaplane base in the Southern Hemisphere.

Visit Warners Bay and rent a bike to follow the breathtaking 9-kilometre track along the shorefront.

Stop at Dobell House and explore the former home of Australia's famous artist Sir William Dobell.

Belmont Wetlands State Park is a must-visit for nature lovers. There is plenty to do, including walking trails, 4WD beach drives, bike riding, birdwatching, beach picnics, and horseriding. Dogs are welcome.

Blackbutt Nature Reserve. See native wildlife, enjoy a picnic or barbecue. There is also a playground for the little ones to enjoy.

Richmond Vale Railway Museum. The Museum was formed in 1979 to preserve the Railway and Mining Heritage. There are train rides held first three Sundays of each month and every Sunday during school holidays.

Some of the adorable wildlife at Blackbutt Nature Reserve


Explore nearby National Parks and Nature Reserves, including Wallarah and Watagans National Parks, Glenrock and Lake Macquarie State Conservation Areas, and Awabakal Nature Reserve, Green Point Foreshore Reserve, and Pulbah Island Nature Reserve.

Where to Eat:

Lake Macquarie is home to many eateries including cosy coffee shops and cafes, lakeside dining, restaurants with a view, bars, and more.

Click here for the website.

Where to Stay:

There are many accommodation options, including hotels, motels & resorts, self-contained and house stays, houseboats, holiday parks, and camping, and B&B stays.

Click here for the website.

Getting to Lake Macquarie:

If you are leaving from Sydney, take the M2 out of the city to join the M1, and head north for 130km. Do note that this road has tolls and is the quickest and easiest way to get to Lake Macquarie.
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Why? Lake Macquarie has it all
When: All year round
Where: Lake Macqaurie, North Coast NSW
Cost: Free
Your Comment
Another one to add to the family bucket list.
by Kerenza Korostovetz (score: 2|163) 23 days ago
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