Lake Macquarie is a satellite city of Newcastle with the largest permanent saltwater lake in the Southern Hemisphere.
Lake Macquarie is often considered part of its immediate neighbour, Newcastle, but is in fact a separate city with a much larger area and a population of 190,000. It has a number of suburbs including:
- Belmont is largely centred around the lake foreshore and the Pacific Highway. The southern suburbs (Belmont South, Marks Point) are rather flat and only a few metres above sea level. The northern suburbs (Belmont North, Floraville, Jewels) are very hilly and are a challenging bicycle ride.
- Charlestown is the self-proclaimed CBD of Lake Macquarie with the region's largest shopping centre, Charlestown Square.
- Morisset is a small suburb. A few thousand people turn up each week to see the wild kangaroos from the grounds of a local hospital – but these are wild animals and, if disturbed, may inflict injury by scratching or kicking with their large hind legs. Look and see, but do not feed or disturb the wildlife.
- Swansea is located on a peninsula. It has two waterfronts – one on Lake Macquarie and one on the Pacific Ocean, with a population of around 5,000.
- Warners Bay is at the north eastern end of Lake Macquarie and is home to a sizeable population and many decent cafes on The Esplanade.
- Toronto is the main centre of the western side of the lake.
It is easiest to get to Lake Macquarie by car. Take the Pacific Motorway (M1) from Sydney or the Central Coast.
The closest airfield is Lake Macquarie Airfield.
The closest airport is Newcastle Airport, which is itself half an hour north from Newcastle, meaning a one-hour drive from the airport.
Lake Macquarie is not directly connected to the main train line running parallel to it on the other side of the actual Lake itself. Wyee train station is closest in proximity to the Morisset area, whilst Fassifern is popular amongst those travelling into Toronto. There is no track on the eastern side. However, there used to be a line between Belmont and Adamstown, which is now a popular rail trail (Fernleigh Track).
A car is your best option for getting around, although many people use the area for cycling.
Information on buses for the Lake Macquarie area are available from the Lake Macquarie City Council website.
- 1 Fernleigh Track, Railway Parade, Belmont. This 15-km (8-mi) asphalt/concrete path starts in Belmont and connects Newcastle (Adamstown) to eastern Lake Macquarie. An ideallic shared riding/walking path with wonderful bush scenery. Free.
- Strike Charlestown, Level 1, South Piazza, Charlestown Square, ☏ 1300 787 453 (local rate). Features a bowling alley, karaoke rooms, laser tag arena, and cocktail bar.
- Fishing. There is fishing on the beaches and throughout Lake Macquarie. A popular spot for kingfish is under the Swansea bridge over the Swansea channel.
- Beaches in Swansea, including Catherine Hill Bay Beach, Redhead Beach, Blacksmiths Beach and Caves Beach (walk through the natural caves on low tide)
- 2 Lake Macquarie Variety Playground. A 2-hectare playground in Speers Point Park, the Lake Macquarie Variety Playground has a maze, a wheelchair-accessible play boat, climbing structures, swings, a bike circuit, and a "quiet zone" retreat. It was awarded "Best Play Space in Australia" in 2011.
- 1 Charlestown Square, 30 Pearson St. Expansive complex of over 240 stores, including department stores & supermarkets, plus a cinema.
- 1 Belmont 16ft Sailing Club, The Parade, Belmont, ☏ +61 2 4945 0888. 9AM – 11PM. Lunch or dinner pretty much on the lake. Also a HQ for the Belmont sailing club.
- Babbingtons, 290 Pacific Highway, ☏ +61 2 4943 6733.
- Vistana Malaysian Restaurant, 115 Pacific Highway. M–Sa 11AM–2:30PM, 5–9PM.
- Caves Coastal Bar, 27 Mawson St, Caves Beach, ☏ +61 2 4980 9999. W dinner to Su lunch. A la carte seafood and ocean views.
- 1 Squid's Ink Hotel, 690 Pacific Highway Belmont, ☏ +61 2 4947 7223, fax: +61 2 4947 7276, email@example.com. Has views of the lake. Starting from $95.
- Best Western Plus Apollo International, 290 Pacific Highway, toll-free: +61 1 800 780 7234.
- Charlestown Executive Apartments, 45-47 Dickinson Street, Charlestown, ☏ +61 2 4941 6688. Amenities include free parking, microwave, coffee maker and free wifi.
- Blue Pacific Swansea, 82 Pacific Hwy, ☏ +61 2 4971 1055, firstname.lastname@example.org. It has a pool, spa, sauna, restaurant and 28 rooms.
- Caves Coastal Bar & Bungalows, 27 Mawson Street, Caves Beach, ☏ +61 2 4980 9999. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. Ocean views from every suite. King size beds. Free beverage package and light breakfast.