Lake Macquarie, NSW: Destination Guide

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It’s hard to resist the lure of Lake Macquarie – the sparkling water, lakeside camping and pristine environment make it a family-friendly wonderland.

Read on to discover the best things to see and do in Lake Macquarie, or find and book accommodation in Lake Macquarie today.

About Lake Macquarie

Lake Macquarie, NSW, is one of those places. Like most of the best spots in Australia, what was once the destination has now been turned into just another town we tend to bypass as we travel along the bland concrete freeways. But if you do make the effort to explore the area, you just might find yourself in paradise.

As Australia’s largest coastal saltwater lake, she still has a few tricks up her sleeve, so if lakeside camping with a backdrop of dense rainforest and mountains sounds appealing, you’ll want to point your headlights towards the peninsula of Wangi Wangi, smack-bang in the middle of Lake Macquarie. This lush bush location, set upon the calm waters of the lake is the perfect backdrop for you to relax and unwind, and make the most of the stunning Lake Macquarie setting.

So if you’re looking for a quick weekend away, a relaxing place to spend a week, or somewhere to drop off the map with adventure in every direction, then you just may have found your own little slice of heaven.

Things to do in Lake Macquarie

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It’d be near-sacrilegious to head to a lake and do nothing but look at it, so don the boardshorts and head down to the water. There are plenty of secret hideouts along the shoreline just begging to be explored by kayak or stand-up paddleboard. If you like your adventures running on premium unleaded, there are multiple places you can hire a boat (with an appropriate licence), or you can strap yourself into a jet boat for an action-packed afternoon on the water.

Back on dry land, the area is littered with playgrounds and bike tracks for the kids, while the adults might be more at home taking on some of the trails on horseback, before heading off for a wine tour.


Watagans National Park

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Less than an hour’s drive from Lake Macquarie is the stunning wilderness area of Watagans National Park. In the Watagans, activities get a little more natural. The area is known as one of the best 4WD hot-spots near Sydney, but there’s plenty of family fun to be had outside of your rig.

The keen bushwalker will find no shortage of enticing trails, ranging from simple half-hour return treks along flowing creek beds through to multi-day hikes along the Great North Walk. As the Watagans is situated along the Great Dividing Range, there are stunning lookouts facing every direction, with views ranging from farmland to Lake Macquarie itself.

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While stunning views are one thing, there’s nothing like testing yourself and your 4WD when you head offroad. Watagans NP is one of those areas where there really is adventure waiting down every side track. With logging trails scattered throughout the park, you’re rarely far from a main track, so leave the camper back at base and get exploring. Most of the main trails are easily accessed in 2WD, although with a little rain the going can quickly become tricky, so time your trips well.

Fernleigh Track

The 15km Fernleigh Track is the perfect way to explore the diverse natural surroundings of Lake Macquarie. Popular with both cyclists and walkers, it also passes through the suburbs of Adamstown, Redhead, Jewells, Whitebridge and Kahibah. It’s the flora and fauna though, that are the real drawcards of the track – you’ll encounter wetlands, ancient sand dune systems and lush forests on your journey along the track. Keep an eye out for the inquisitive wildlife too, with echidnas, possums, bandicoots and honeyeaters native to the area. This former coal haul rail line is also littered with many old railway relics, so take it easy on the track – there’s plenty to see!

Getting to Lake Macquarie

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Lake Macquarie is located north of Sydney, in the Hunter region of NSW.

By car

If you’re heading straight to Wangi Wangi, the journey is about an hour-and-a-half north of Sydney along the Pacific Motorway, roughly 40 minutes past the Gosford turn-off. If you’re coming from the north, just jump off the M1 at Palmers Road 10min south of Newcastle and you’ll be just 19km from Wangi Wangi’s beachfront camping.

By air

QantasLink, REX, Jetstar and Virgin all offer daily direct flights to Newcastle Airport, leaving from Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane and the North Coast of NSW. To continue on to Lake Macquarie, there are car rental and shuttle bus services available at the airport.  

When to visit Lake Macquarie

With water activities galore, summer is obviously the best time to visit Lake Macquarie and make the most of the sparkling lake and its surrounds. Summer means big crowds though, so be prepared to make your accommodation bookings early, and fight for a spot on the water with hundreds of other families.

That’s not to say you can’t enjoy Lake Macquarie all year round though, with plenty to see and do outside of the summer months. Bushwalks and picnic lunches are high on the agenda in spring, while autumn and winter offer a wonderful opportunity to go fishing, boating, and cycling!

Where to stay in Lake Macquarie

Discover more accommodation options in and around Lake Macquarie.