Just a ninety-minute journey from Sydney, Lake Macquarie is the ideal destination for self-drive day tours or mini breaks. With the great outdoors topping the agenda for most visitors, Lake Macquarie has crafted its top tourist drive for cruising over 75 kilometres of easy road. Either take in the breath-taking views during a non-stop 90-minute circumnavigation of the Lake – the largest permanent coastal salt water lake in Australia - or stop and explore the very best this regional gem has to offer.
Stop 1: The Watagan Mountains
Drive time from Sydney – 1.5 hours
Drive to the foothills of the majestic Watagan Mountains and enjoy expansive view across the Lake or take part in your own mountain adventure on horseback with AAA Horse Riding. From one-hour lessons to full day rides, there is no better way to explore this beautiful rainforest area.
Stop 2: Wangi Wangi
Drive time from The Watagan Mountains – 17 minutes travelling 17.7kms
Caffeine time! Enjoy a delicious coffee combo (loved by locals) from Wangi Deck Café – offering a menu jam packed with delicious traditional favourites as well as more modern must-haves. If horse riding has got your tummy grumbling, grab an on-trend smoothie bowl or go with the classic big breakfast – either way you will not be disappointed!
Stop 3: Speers Point
Drive time from Wangi Wangi – 19 minutes travelling 17.8kms
Whether you are travelling with kids or road tripping with friends, Speers Point is a must. Head to the iconic Speers Point Park, a firm favourite for the young – as well as the young at heart - and run, climb, explore and more!
With a giant 9-meter spiral slide, climbing towers, a maze, spinning equipment and even a flying fox, Speers Point Park is sure to keep the little ones busy. For the big kids, grab a fishing road and try your luck fishing. Speers Point jetty is teaming with fish throughout the year including Tailor, Beam, Whiting and Jewfish.
Stop 4: Warners Bay
Drive time from Speers Point – 7 minutes travelling 4.8kms
You can not say you have been to Lake Macquarie without visiting Warners Bay. This lively lakeside town has everything from boutique shops to quirky eateries and a fabulous foreshore perfect for post-meal strolls.
Feeling hungry? Primarily a brunch café, the focus is on fresh at Q&Co, or check out the flavour filled fare at Travino's Café, fine Italian meats and cheese at Fredeli or famed fresh fish just off the main stretch at Costi's Famous Fish Co. For a brew with a view, check out Table 1 Espresso or Little While Bull Espresso on The Esplanade. If picnics are more your style, head over the road to the Lake and pick-a-nic spot to enjoy the afternoon.
Stop 5: Caves Beach
Drive time from Warners Bay – 23 minutes travelling 18kms
Lake Macquarie's iconic Caves Beach is a perennial visitor favourite. It's extensive network of sea caves and rock pools are ideal for low-tide exploration and is guaranteed to keep whole family happy. Also home to the Caves Beach Surf Life Saving Club, a kiosk, bathrooms, barbeques and picnic tables, Caves Beach is a must visit attraction. Pack your sunnies, hat and sunscreen, get your swimmers on, and a beach visit to remember.
Stop 6: Catherine Hill Bay
Drive time from Caves Beach – 13 minutes travelling 10kms
A State-Heritage-listed historic mining village, Catherine Hill Bay features a stunning patrolled beach, twice named among 'Australia's 101 Best Beaches'. Popular for swimming, surfing and fishing, the beach is home to a former coal-loading jetty which is a favourite spot with photographers.
Hungry (again)? A small but scenic picnic area overlooks the beach and boasts tables, barbeques, toilets and off-street parking – perfect for a sausage sandwich!
Need to rest your head? Choose your stay!
Caves Coastal Bar & Bungalows
Live luxe at Caves Coastal Bar & Bungalows. Nestled in the dunes of Caves Beach, this accommodation delivers the perfect combination of location and elegance. Surrounded by natural coastal greenery and overlooking the ocean, Caves Coastal is the perfect getaway with white sandy beaches, restaurant and bar facilities and pool all steps from your deck.
Swansea Gardens Lakeside Holiday Park
For those with a caravan in tow, look no further than Swansea Gardens Lakeside Holiday Park. Centrally located on the shores of lovely Lake Macquarie, the holiday park enjoys a prime location in a tranquil, tree-studded park close to unspoilt patrolled surf beaches, restaurants and cafes, local shopping and licensed clubs. There's action aplenty with windsurfing, fishing, scuba diving, kiteboarding, sailing and swimming, as well as tennis, mini-golf, basketball, a playground, barbeques, a boat ramp, camp kitchen and a recreation room all on site. Accommodation options range from roomy unpowered sites to air-conditioned two-bedroom villas with cable TV.
To book your 2018 trip to Lake Macquarie, visit visitlakemac.com.au/ or call 1800 802 044.