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15 Lake Macquarie activities that don’t cost money

It’s so easy to get in the habit of doing the same things all the time. We all do it. Your favourite beach, the park your kid’s love, the usual cycle route, the fishing spot where you always get a bite. Sometimes it’s good to explore beyond our habitual routines and see what’s on offer. Here are 15 Lake Macquarie activities that our locals recommend – I’m sure your family will enjoy the voyage of discovery.


Whale watching at Redhead beach


There’s so much on offer at this breathtaking local beach. During the warmer months, you’ll be pleased to know Readhead beach is patrolled. You can jump in for a surf, get a great photo at the Shark Tower or take a nice long walk along the sand. If you’re planning on throwing a line in while you’re there, the kids can do the pipi shuffle. Head up the wooden boardwalk to Webb Park where you can enjoy the free BBQ facilities and a brand new play area for the kids.


Between May and November, whales are migrating along the east coast of Australia and Redhead beach is a fantastic spot to see them. During the months of May, June and July the whales are heading north to Queensland to breed. Then in August, September, October and November, they head south, returning to Antarctica.  


Cycle from Eleebana to Booragul


The lake-front has a paved, shared pathway suitable for bikes, skateboards or scooters, walkers and runners. If you have younger kids and can’t cycle from home, you can park in the car park next to Lions Park at Eleebana or in the car park near the art gallery at Booragul. If you complete the full distance you’ll have travelled about 9 kilometres.


Along the way you can stop for a bite to eat at Warners Bay foreshore, have a play in the park at Speers Point or visit the art gallery at Booragul. One of our highlights is cycling along the 380m long elevated boardwalk in Eleebana and reading the inscriptions on the rails. The lake and mountain views along the way are ever-changing and never fail to amaze.


Enjoy the tidal pools at Swansea Heads, NSW


Reids Reserve playground  at the mouth of our channel opening to the Pacific ocean will lead you on an adventure to the rock pools. Hours of fun can be had exploring the rocky area at the foot of the Marine Rescue building perched high on the cliff face.


Take the Swansea exit and make your way all the way up Lambton Parade to Reids Reserve. Park at Reids Reserve carpark where the kids can enjoy a swing in the park or just sit under one of the shady trees and have some morning tea.


When it’s time to explore, head up to the end of the car park where you’ll find a walkway. There’s a little beach (channel inlet) and the water is amazing for swimming, especially for the little ones as it’s pretty shallow. Bring some shade, buckets and spades, and a sense of adventure to explore the rock pools and waterway. Read more about it here: Rock pools Swansea Heads: A hidden gem


Visit local libraries in Lake Mac


With ten libraries dotted all around the lake and a roving library, there’s always something going on. Nowadays, our libraries offer so much more than the loan of a book.  


With events like book launches, 3D printers or computers you can use, or if you want to borrow from the eCollections, there is just so much to choose. If you’re interested in pulling together your family tree check out the family history resources.


During school holidays the kids can attend workshops and during the school term, there are plenty of free t- low-cost classes on offer. The library is a great place to connect with the community for all ages.  


Relax and go fishing at Lake Macquarie


Our amazing lake has so much to offer, particularly if you’re interested in a spot of fishing. After commercial fishing was stopped in 2002 and the lake became a recreational fishing haven, the water quality and fish population have grown substantially.   


Throw in a line from a jetty, jump in a tinny or hire a boat, the choice is yours. With commonly found fish such as bream, flathead, whiting, snapper and tailor there’s usually something ready to bite. Blue swimmer crabs and squid are also about during the warmer months. 


To fish in the lake you need a NSW recreational fishing licence. You also need to check out the rules and regulations at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au  With so many places to choose from, Lake Macquarie fishing offers you peace, tranquillity, relaxation and hopefully, something for dinner!


Get fit with Park Run at Lake Mac


At Lake Macquarie, we’re lucky to have two park runs. One takes you through Green Point Reserve from the Shores Way car park at Belmont. The other along the lake between Booragul and Speers Point Park. Both courses are 5km long and are suitable for all ages. If you’re not a runner, you can walk the course and still enjoy the benefits of improving your fitness.


Park Run is organised by volunteers. It’s a fun, free event, just turn up and register the first time you run and you’re good to go. Held every Saturday morning at 8 am, make this one of your regular work-outs, get to meet new people and enjoy our lake view. 


Hang out at the foreshore, Warners Bay


The foreshore at Warners Bay is a great spot for having lunch, doing a spot of shopping, listening to a band or enjoying a game of table tennis. After recent improvements to the foreshore, Warners Bay has become a really attractive place to hang out.  


With the paved walkway/cycle path that comes from Booragul on the west side of the lake or Eleebana on the east, this is a popular haunt. A jetty allows you to walk out on the lake and throw in a line. Sculptures are placed along the walkway for you to enjoy and there’s plenty of seating so you can relax. An awesome kids playground is just over the road and there’s a free table tennis table on the lakefront – just bring your bats and balls.


During the summer months, there are bands playing on a Friday night. Bring your picnic blanket and chairs, find a spot and grab some dinner from a nearby restaurant. The kids will love dancing to the music and you’ll be really popular if you treat them to ice cream! 


Take a dip at Granny’s Pool, Blacksmiths


A local secret, Granny’s Pool at Blacksmiths Beach is a safe location to take your kids to have a swim.  Fed by the ocean, Granny’s Pool is situated next to the break wall between Blacksmith’s and the Swansea Channel. Its name came about as it was a popular spot for Grandma’s to take their grandchildren. This is a great spot for the little ones to have a swim as the water is quite shallow.


The 350m pathway from the car park has been upgraded to allow ease of access. There’s also a 50m path that takes you down to the pool to allow stroller and wheelchair access. Look for the sign at the Blacksmith’s Life Saving Club and enjoy a dip at this locals haunt.


4WD between Blacksmith’s and Redhead beach


For those that love an off-road experience, 4 wheel driving along the beach is a must. With numerous entry and exit points, you can experience the freedom of driving along the sand. Pack a picnic, your swimmers and a surfboard to make this the ultimate experience. Please make sure you take any rubbish home with you and leave the beach as pristine as you found it.


When it’s safe to do so, build yourself a beach fire. Just make sure you remove any nails from wood before you burn it and before you leave extinguish your fire properly. Please don’t just cover it with sand. With around 10 kilometres of beach to drive along, you should be able to find a quiet spot that you can enjoy. You will need to get yourself a beach permit. Click through here to find out more.


Explore the caves at Caves Beach


Named after the sea caves at the shoreline, Caves beach is a beautiful place to visit. The golden sands disappear into the horizon as you go over the dunes and onto the beach. Take the time to wander through the caves, passing onto another part of the beach. At low tide, you can explore the rock pools, looking for sea snails, fish or crabs. Check online for the best time to explore the cave. Be aware of tidal changes.


Caves Beach is patrolled from the September school holidays through to the school holidays in April. A grassed area behind the beach offers you picnic tables, free BBQ’s, toilets and showers.


Take a walk at Glenrock Lagoon


If you enjoy walking, Glenrock Lagoon is a great place to take the family. With numerous paths leading to beaches, waterfalls and through the bush this is a great place to visit.  There are various trail lengths and difficulty and it’s wheelchair and pram accessible for the first part.


You can take your bikes and follow the many cycle paths. While you’re there, take the time to look out for Aboriginal history as you pass middens, original axe markings and stone quarries. You’ll also find evidence of the area being used for coal mining with shafts, tunnels and old railway tracks along the way. 


With access to Dudley beach, don’t forget to pack your swimmers, some food, water, sunscreen, mozzie spray and a hat. You might just find yourself staying longer than you’d planned.


Try stand up paddleboarding or kayaking at Lake Mac


The lake’s a fantastic place to enjoy. On most days the water is calm and inviting and if you own a stand-up paddleboard or kayak it’s a great place to go. If you don’t you can always hire one from a local business.


Stand up paddleboarding and kayaking allow you to experience the lake peacefully, without a motor. You won’t scare the wildlife and you’ll be able to enjoy watching octopus, fish, maybe even dolphins. With pelicans, black swans and cormorants to name just a few of the birds that frequent the lake, there is always something to see.  


What a great way to get fit, enjoy your local environment and relax with an activity that’ll please the whole family.


Have lunch at Sea Eagle Park Picnic Area – Green Point Reserve


Enjoy a peaceful walk along the lake on an excellent pathway that’s suitable for wheelchairs, strollers and bicycles. The easiest route to the picnic area is from The Shores Way car park at Belmont. Take your time to look at the native plants and bush and see if you can spot any of the native birds or animals on the way.  


After about 15 minutes you will arrive at the Sea Eagle Park Picnic Area. With fantastic views across the lake and a large grassy area to enjoy, this is the perfect spot for a late breakfast or lunch. There are free BBQ’s, covered picnic tables and a toilet available for use.


Discover Lake Macquarie State Conservation Area – Awaba


The locals keep this spot a well-kept secret and you can see why when you visit. The Awaba Bay Foreshore walk is stunning. Listen out for the frogs and the birds as you wander along. You may even be lucky enough to spot a Sea Eagle. The stunning beauty of the lake here is perfect against the diverse terrain.  


Take a picnic with you and stop at Alexanders picnic spot along the way. As you go towards Hepplewhite’s Shack you’ll pass a swamp. If you’ve packed your rods you can throw a line in. Keep an eye on the lake and you might see dolphins. Now that would be a perfect end to the day!


Join Sustainable Neighbourhoods Lake Macquarie


Did you know that there is a repair cafe in Cardiff South? Or that there is a group of people in our community who are making bags out of old material to help get rid of plastic? Were you aware that your neighbours are setting up community gardens, and sharing their skills and knowledge?  


The sustainable neighbourhoods groups are in 14 suburbs around Lake Macquarie. They have the vision to support neighbourhoods to be empowered to live sustainably. They host events, workshops, support community gardening, run community clean-ups and so much more.  Find out where your local group is. Check out what they’re doing and get involved. Help make our community a better place.


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