Travel

Everything You Need To See, Eat And Do In Lake Macquarie

By Sophie Hart
13th Apr 2022

A group of friends stand on a rock just off the beach.

Where heart-thumping adventure meets slow, sun-drenched relaxation, Lake Macquarie is the under-the-radar coastal destination that strikes the perfect balance. 

Boasting the largest coastal saltwater lake in the Southern Hemisphere, cool-temperate rainforests, waterfalls and hidden sea caves paired with top-notch restaurants and a luxe resort, Lake Macquarie has all the makings of the perfect holiday. Plus, being largely undiscovered and with so much on offer, it’s the ideal spot to escape the crowds. 

Located a 90-minute drive north of Sydney and 50 minutes from Newcastle airport, Lake Macquarie is easy to get to so you can quickly slip into holiday mode. 

Ready to explore? We’ve partnered up with Visit Lake Macquarie, Destination New South Wales, Tourism Australia, and KAYAK to bring you a rundown of the absolute must-do experiences.

Kick Back And Soak In The Seaside Serenity

It wouldn't be a trip to Lake Macquarie without a stroll around the lake or planting a parasol at one of the many beaches. When it comes to choosing which one, you really can’t go wrong but an absolute must is Naru Beach. This is a lake beach, so the waters are calm and relaxing, but the real drawcard is the series of small sand islands just off the shore. Jump into a kayak or paddleboard over to your own private island—pure bliss. Another unmissable experience is watching the sunrise from Caves Beach. As the name suggests, it’s a unique network of sea caves at the southern end of the beach, which can be explored at low tide. Just be sure to check the tidal timetable before you go. 

An aerial view of the crystal clear waters at Lake Macquarie.

Naru Beach

Get Your Fix Of Adrenaline And Adventure

If you’re chasing an adrenaline rush, Lake Macquarie can absolutely deliver. Whip around the lake at speeds of up to 42 knots on the Jetbuzz Watersports jet boat thrill ride or get an unreal view of the lake from above by helicopter with Skyline Aviation Group. Feeling brave? Hit up Skydive Sydney-Newcastle and soak in the Lake Macquarie views while freefalling. 

Scope Out The Region’s Best Eats 

Great food is a crucial ingredient for a good holiday and Lake Macquarie absolutely delivers. For glorious food and overwater dining experience served with a view of Belmont Bay, book a table at Crusoe’s On The Lake and tuck into some of the best seafood in town. The seafood platter is extremely popular, and it pays to book ahead for this one. For brekky, Common Circus in Belmont serve up great coffee and you can also pick up some beautiful homewares while you’re there. For a tipple, The Royal Crown in Dudley is a must. 

Explore Lush National Parks 

Lake Macquarie is well-known for its huge, glittering lake and aquatic adventures, but venture slightly inland and you’ll discover mountainous vistas and national parks just waiting to be explored. Hike through cool rainforests to the dramatic Gap Creek Falls (reopening in October), where up to 40m of water cascades down after it rains. Or, head to Monkey Face Lookout for scenic views over the Martinsville Valley where there are plenty of spots to throw down the picnic blanket. Head back into town post-hike, or to Onley State Forest which offers a number of campsites set amongst the picturesque pines. 

A birds eye view of people camping in Onley State Forest.

Onley State Forest 

Check Into These Top Hotels And Resorts

No matter your style or budget, Lake Macquarie has you covered. Our top pick? Luxury resort, Caves Coastal Bar And Bungalows. Nestled in the dunes of Caves Beach overlooking the ocean, choose between beach bungalows, villas, townhouses or a four-bedroom beach house if you’re travelling with a big crew. You could be forgiven for never leaving since there’s a restaurant, bar and pool all just steps from your deck. Less into luxury? Check into The Esplanade Motel located directly across from the sparkling waters of Warners Bay, or for seriously good views of the lake, The Brighton is a comfortable home away from home. 

Get ready for a well-deserved and totally rejuvenating trip to Lake Macquarie. KAYAK is making it easy by curating flights, accommodation, rental cars, and vacation packages all in one place.

Before planning or embarking on a trip, please check local government COVID-19 restrictions.

Image credit: Destination New South Wales

Editor’s note: This article is sponsored by Visit Lake Macquarie, Destination New South Wales, Tourism Australia and KAYAK, and proudly endorsed by Urban List. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make Urban List possible. Click here for more information on our editorial policy.

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