Switch the crowds for calm this summer and escape to New South Wales' Lake Macquarie, offering visitors unrivalled fun in the sun. Only 90 minutes from Sydney, Lake Macquarie's 32km of pristine coastline is home to some of the country's most spectacular – and secluded – beaches, baths and swimming spots.
With lifeguards on patrol daily through until April, Lake Macquarie is fast becoming a firm favourite for everyone from sandcastle builders to sea cave explorers, snorkelers and surfers to sunset strollers. Our Top 5 must-visit swim spots include:
Lake Macquarie's iconic Caves Beach and its extensive network of sea caves and rock pools are ideal for low-tide exploration. Crawl through tight holes, hang out in shady caves or sun yourself on the Beach's sandy shores.
Home to the Caves Beach Surf Life Saving Club, a kiosk, bathrooms, barbeques and picnic tables, a learn to surf program is also run for the young ones throughout the summer school holidays. Visit the Newcastle Surf School for bookings, or simply pack up your sunnies, sunscreen and swimmers for an unforgettable family day out.
In an idyllic location at the northerly end of a stunning nine-mile coastal stretch, Redhead backs onto magnificent red cliffs and is renowned for its iconic shark tower. The perfect spot to enjoy panoramic views, take a dip, try your hand at fishing or join the local surfers, Redhead Beach's Cargo Espresso Bar is also well worth visiting for an early morning coffee, homemade botanical soda or delicious bite to eat.
Belmont Baths is the perfect spot for some lazy laps or a serene swim during a sunny weekend. Recently reopened at the end of last year after a $850,000 renovation, the Baths now boast a new jetty (perfect for practicing big splash bombs) and a large netted swimming area. Further improvements planned include a brand-new amenities block, change rooms and foreshore landscaping.
Catherine Hill Bay
Perched on the picturesque shores of historical mining town Catherine Hill Bay, this is one of Lake Macquarie's premier spots for snorkelling and diving – especially around the local shipwrecks which are teeming with marine life. It's also a popular pick with local board riders for its superb surf breaks. Facilities include barbeques, bathrooms, a small kiosk and the Catherine Hill Bay Surf Life Saving Club - plus the historic Catho Pub is only around the corner!
One of the local coastline's top swimming beaches, thanks to protection from the Swansea Channel Breakwall, Blacksmiths is a fabulous family playground, famed for its nearby 'Grannies Pool' - a sheltered inlet loved by local toddlers – and their grannies! Blacksmiths' facilities include bathrooms, picnic tables, barbeques, a local takeaway outlet and the Swansea Belmont Surf Life Saving Club.
To get your healthy dose of vitamin D and Sea in Lake Macquarie this summer, please visit: http://www.visitlakemac.com.au