Caravan & Camping with Kids
For an easy weekend getaway from Sydney, check out our guide to Lake Mac.
From watersport thrills to picnic chills, kate powell discovers Lake Macquarie is a great big playground for families.
There’s no shortage of beaches, nature trails and culture in Lake Mac, less than two hours north of Sydney. All of this and more makes the region perfect for a fun-filled coastal getaway. Here’s why we love Lake Mac – and seven reasons you will, too.
1 Caves Beach
This beach is famous for its namesake sea caves, which are great to explore at low tide. There are also barbecue facilities and plenty of spots to enjoy a picnic on the grassy foreshore.
Stay at Swansea Lakeside Holiday Park, which is an easy five-minute drive from Caves Beach and has waterfront camping and villas. There are also luxury villas next to a large resort-style pool, plus an 18-hole mini-golf course, a basketball and tennis court and a kids’ playground. visitlakemac.com.au
Awabakal 2 Nature Reserve
Active families will relish the chance to tackle the great walking trails that wend through this preserved coastal land spanning 228 hectares. It’s a great place to go whale- and bird-watching for a much-needed day of digital detoxing.
Stay at Pet-friendly Belmont Lakeside Holiday Park, where kids can run amok in a playground and enjoy the swimming pool. This waterfront park is also perfect for lovers of sailing, windsurfing and fishing. nationalparks.nsw.gov.au
3 Redhead Beach
For somewhere safe to take the family for a dip, spend a morning at Redhead, a patrolled beach with great swimming in front of the surf club. It’s also a good spot for mums and dads to take the kids out surfing, with the best protected conditions in summer. As always, watch for rips and swim between the flags.
Stay at Blacksmiths Beachside Holiday Park, located a few streets back from Blacksmiths Beach, which turns into Redhead in the north. This park has a range of powered and unpowered sites, as well as pet-friendly camping and cabins. There is also a solar-heated swimming pool for those days when you need a break from the sand. beachsafe.org.au
Lake Macquarie 4 City Art Gallery
Expect touring exhibitions and some of the Hunter Region’s finest artists at this award-winning gallery. Inspired littlies can even drop in on free kids’ art class on Sundays between 10:30am and 12pm.
Stay at Wangi Point Holiday Park, the perfect location for nature lovers. It’s nestled next to Wangi Point Flora and Fauna Reserve on the shore of Lake
Macquarie, and is a 30-minute drive south of the art gallery. Visitors have a choice of cabins or ensuite, powered and unpowered sites. artgallery.lakemac.com.au
You’ll also love… Warners Bay 5 Foreshore
A great way to take in the lake is by cycling along Warners Bay Foreshore. Start in the suburb of Eleebana and ride an easy nine kilometres (one-way) to Booragul. Be sure to stop off at the elevated Red Bluff Boardwalk on your way. You don’t need to take your own bikes, either, as they’re available for hire on the foreshore reserve. warnersbay.boomerangbikes.com.au
Lake Macquarie 6 Variety Playground
This award-winning playground is worth travelling for. You’ll find a ninemetre spiral slide, double flying fox, climbing structure, water play zone, a maze and more at this impressive two-hectare haven in Speers Point Park. playgroundfinder.com
Water sports 7 on the lake
Hire kayaks, stand-up paddleboards or a paddle boat and discover Lake Mac in its stunning entirety on a fun family adventure with JetBuzz Watersports. You’ll find the hire company at Cams Wharf, at the southern end of Lake Macquarie. jetbuzz.com.au
Lake Mac Report Card
For more inspiration and ideas, head to lakemacholidayparks.com.au and visitlakemac.com.au