Here’s your guide to 8 perfect places you won’t find on the tourist trail:
Petrified Forest, Swansea Heads
Accessible at low tide just a short walk from the Reids Mistake Reserve you’ll find the Petrified Forest, home to 250 million-year-old tree stumps and fallen logs as well as an expansive rock platform ideal for exploring up close.
Nestled between the Swansea Channel Breakwall and Blacksmiths’ Beach, the ‘Grannies Pool’ is a shallow, sheltered inlet protected from large waves and swell, that is loved by local children – and their grannies!
Gap Creek Falls, Watagans
The Watagan Mountains are well known, but many visitors are entirely unaware of the stunning Gap Creek Falls, which are hidden deep within the rainforest. These striking falls are accessible for keen hikers via the spectacular Gap Creek Falls Trail.
Only accessible by boat, Pulbah is Lake Macquarie’s largest island and favoured by locals for its tranquil picnic spots and idyllic bushwalking pathways.
Located on the southern side of the lake, the peaceful Dora Creek is ideal for kayaking trips, and is home to lovely picnic spots along the banks. Don’t miss ‘The Swinging Bridge’, which is tucked behind the Sanitarium Factory and also accessible by kayak – a well-kept local secret spot for family fun.
Morisset Park kangaroos
There’s no entry ticket to buy to get up close and personal with the kangaroos here… in Morisset Park’s picnic grounds there are dozens of roos just waiting for visitors to come and give them a gentle pat. Hidden away within the vicinity of Morisset Hospital, there’s a large grassy area, a barbeque and a lovely view over the lake to enjoy.
1950s Car Museum
If vintage cars are your thing – or even if not – this is the spot for a stroll down memory lane packed with American classic cars (some are even for sale), a replica Fonzie milk bar, 50s memorabilia, 50s music, and a caravan dishing up memorable milkshakes and burgers. The locals love it – so don’t forget to book!
Lake Macquarie Airport/Air Adventures, Marks Point
Locals agree that the best way to see the lake is from the sky, and the recently re-opened Lake Macquarie Airport (formerly the Belmont Airport), is home to a raft of adventurous air activities including Matt Hall Racing, Skydive the Beach and Skyline Aviation Group helicopter tours, all of which include magnificent views of the Lake.