Best autumn activities in Lake Macquarie for families

Autumn is the perfect time of year to get out and explore Lake Macquarie with the family. Need some inspiration? Here are some fun (and free!) ideas to get you started. 

Skate, scoot and ride

The flat terrain of Lake Mac makes it the ideal destination to skate, cycle and scoot. Some of the best wheel-friendly places include:

  • Fernleigh Track, which runs for 15 kilometers along an old rail line. The track takes you through Glenrock State Conservation Area, a top mountain biking spot that includes waterfalls, open forests and woodlands; Awabakal Nature Reserve, which has beautiful coastal heath and native forests; and Belmont Wetlands State Park, where you’ll find natural bushland, sand dunes and wetlands, with plenty of birds. Mid 2024 will see an addition to this track named the Fernleigh Awabakal Shared Track (FAST) which will link the Fernleigh Track at Belmont to Blacksmiths Beach. This will increase the overall track distance to 27km, making this the longest active transport route in the Hunter Region.
  • Warners Bay shared pathway, where you can tick off some of Lake Macquarie's waterfront highlights along a 9-kilometre track, including the over-water Redbluff Boardwalk, the Speers Point Park variety playground and the Museum of Art and Culture, yapang.
  • Redhead Pump Trackfeaturing a circuit of rollers, banked turns, this track is designed to be used for riders of all ages and skill levels to use and develop their skills. It can be used by bike riders, skateboarders, scooters, roller bladers and more.

  • Swansea skatepark and Croudace Bay skatepark are perfect for kids of all ages with a range of ramps to test and learn skills on.
  • Creative Lake Trail, is a shared pathway hugging the foreshore of Lake Macquarie from Eleebana to Booragul and includes an over the water boardwalk, outdoor sculpture, playgrounds and art galleries.

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Cast a line from the beach, boat or jetty

Lake Macquarie has some excellent fishing spots, which isn’t surprising given its 174 kilometres of lake shoreline and 32 kilometres of coastline. Some of the best places to head with the kids to nab the catch of the day include:

  • Speers Point Jetty, where you can find bream, tailor and whiting.
  • Pelican foreshore, which is also a great place to pull out a picnic (nearby Naru Beach is good for whiting and bream too).
  • Murrays Beach foreshore, where you can cast off the jetty with stunning views of the lake and surrounding bushland. 

pelican foreshore kids

Explore Glenrock State Recreation Area

Glenrock has to be one of Lake Mac’s best spots to immerse yourself in nature, and is a perfect place to explore with the kids on foot or by bike.

The 6.8-kilometre return Yuelarbah Track is a real highlight. This will take you through coastal rainforest, past waterfalls and to Leichhardt’s scenic lookout, from where you can admire the beautiful Glenrock Lagoon, perfectly positioned next to a quiet beach. There are a few places to roll out a picnic too, and the kids can look out for local wildlife, such as lizards and echidnas. 


Lace-up your walking shoes

Lake Macquarie has some great family-friendly walks, and in autumn (usually April onwards) there’s a good chance of spotting a whale off the coast. Some recommended walking tracks include:

  • Ken and Audrey Owens Walk, an easy 4-kilometre loop that passes through wetlands near Redhead Beach and includes boardwalks, bridges and observation platforms to look for whales (the track is suitable for prams).
  • Caves Beach Coastal Walk (also called the Wallarah Coastal Walk), which connects Caves Beach and the headland south of Pinny Beach, with awesome views of the cliffs and ocean (this one isn’t pram-friendly).
  • Bombala walking track, a short 1-kilometre track in the Glenrock State Conservation Area, which takes you through coastal forest before leading to the protected bay of Dudley Beach, where you can reward your efforts with a refreshing dip (there are some steps, so prams aren’t recommended).
  • Pirrita Island boardwalk showcase the unique landscape and heritage of Swansea foreshore, while boasting uninterrupted views across Lake Macquarie. This walk is accessible and features 230m of boardwalk winding through mangroves (pram-friendly).

walk swansea

Discover Lake Mac’s tidal rock pools

Kids will love exploring the wonders of the water at one of Lake Macquarie's rock pools. Check out these favourites:

  • Swansea Heads rock pool – as well as having a big open park to run and play, Swansea Heads has a series of rock pools filled with all kinds of sea critters (if you’re lucky you might spot a starfish).
  • Moonee Beach rock pool – consider doing the 4-kilometre return walk to Moonee Beach, where an easy track through coastal heathland leads to a quiet beach and a protected rock pool area, complete with scuttling crabs.
  • Caves Beach – as the name suggests, this beach is known for its sea caves, and there are some fun pools hidden amongst the nearby rock flats.

Always remember to look but not touch!


Adventure with your furry friend

The family pooch need not miss out on all the fun, as Lake Macquarie is very dog-friendly. Try these spots if you’ve got a pup in tow:

  • Speers Point dog park is the premier doggy hang-out in Lake Macquarie. The 2.5-acre fenced area includes agility equipment and plenty of places for owners to sit (including shaded picnic tables) while the dogs bound and fetch.
  • Redhead Beach has a leash-free area between Second and Third Creek (keep in mind dogs are not permitted between First Creek and Second Creek).
  • The Booragul off-leash area, part of the Booragul Foreshore Reserve, is a great option if your dog loves to swim. Dogs can run free from the car park at Booragul Jetty, and along the lake to Marmong Cove. 

Lake Macquarie also has numerous shared off leash areas ranging in leash free hours. Check them out here.

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Experience Art and Culture  

Lake Macquarie has an abundance of art and culture to appreciate. So make a day (or days) of it and browse top-class exhibition spaces, outdoor sculptures and historical remnants on a cultural tour of the city.

  • Visit the Museum of Art and Culture, yapang: Lake Mac’s award-winning MAC yapang is a great place to teach kids about art. There are free kids’ activities, including art classes, run by experienced educators in the Art Space (be sure to book ahead), and families can enjoy high-quality, rotating exhibitions by local artists, including some incredible Indigenous art as part of the yapang collection.  MAC yapang includes a 5-hectare sculpture park, which can be explored as part of the Discovery Trail for families. You can enjoy a picnic in the park too, or grab a bite to eat at the onsite Sculpture Cafe by the lake. 
  • Multi-Arts Pavilion, mima: Located at Speers Point Park, MAP mima is a premier art and performance space. The Multi-arts facility hosts contemporary exhibitions by national and international artists, encompassing digital art and audio presentations. You'll also be able to catch live music, theatre performances and markets. 

For more Arts and Culture check out our guide here.

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Lake Macquarie is a vibrant city with unique events happening all year round. From art, culture and live music to food and adventure, there's something for everyone! 

Check out what's on in Lake Mac this month here.

For more ideas on what to do with your family in Lake Macquarie, Check out our maps and guides here.

Your guide to wet weather adventures in Lake Mac
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