Natural attractions in Lake Mac!

Reconnect with nature in Lake Macquarie

Tear your eyes away from the mesmerising body of water that gives the area its name and you’ll find more natural beauty in a mountainous national park to the west and stunning coastal reserves to the east. Here’s how to immerse in nature all around Lake Macquarie.

Hike through a rainforest

Discover one of Australia’s most scenic pockets of rainforest amid the peaks of Watagans National Park, on the western side of the lake a mere 90-minute drive from central Sydney. Just take the Morisset exit on the M1 Motorway for the short drive along country roads to find this not-so-hidden gem looking out over the lake to the ocean.

Park at the Boarding House Dam picnic area in the heart of the national park and follow the well-marked trail along the Circuit walking track to discover pristine native rainforest shaded by blue gums. Marvel at the sudden drop in temperature as you navigate a leaf-littered trail and trace a creek bed lined with ferns and giant boulders covered in moss.

If you’re an experienced bushwalker ready for a challenge, lace up your hiking boots, pack plenty of water and supplies and tackle the rugged Watagans section of the Great North Walk from central Sydney to Newcastle.

The Great North Walk trail will eventually lead you to Heaton Lookout in adjacent Heaton State Forest, where can soak up uninterrupted views across the lake and as far north as the Stockton sand dunes beyond Newcastle. Not keen on an epic hike? Easy – you can also drive to Heaton Lookout on your way in or out of the national park.

Take the quick way down

Get off the beaten track and down a sheer rock face in an unforgettable introduction to the art of abseiling with Out and About Adventures. Its qualified guides will have you descending sandstone cliffs in the Watagans mountains in no time – its abseiling outing to the Gap Creek section of the Watagans National Park can include a descent down the spectacular 45-metre face of Gap Creek Falls. The experienced Lake Macquarie-based operator also offers rock climbing expeditions in the Watagans as well as abseiling adventures in the coastal Glenrock State Conservation Area.


Pitch a tent in the bush

Wake up to the sound of birdcall at your tent site at Watagans National Park’s small campgrounds at Gap Creek and Bangalow. From either campground you can hike steep uphill trails through eucalyptus forest to Monkey Face lookout – where you’ll be rewarded with a spectacular view across a deep valley to the neighbouring heavily wooded peaks – or seek out the dramatic waterfalls in the area. For a more rustic experience, you can also free-camp at the Watagan Headquarters camping area in neighbouring Heaton State Forest.

Or set up base in a holiday park

Make a cosy base for your days tramping through Lake Macquarie’s rugged coastal nature reserves at one of the council-run holiday parks around the lake. Belmont Lakeside Holiday Park, Blacksmiths Beachside Holiday Park and Swansea Lakeside Holiday Park all offer tent sites conveniently located around halfway between Glenrock State Conservation Area to the north and Wallarah National Park to the south.

Follow a coastal hiking trail

Once you’ve settled at your campsite, you’ll just need to decide which stretch of the pretty coastline to head to first. Opt for the 6.8-kilometre Yuelarbah walking track in the Glenrock State Conservation Area north of Redhead Beach for an easy descent through wet gullies and rainforest to the sandy beach of Glenrock Lagoon, and a bracing ascent back up the steep track.

Feel your senses come alive as you gaze out to sea from countless vantage points along the five-kilometre Coastal walking track, which links Caves Beach with the headland south of tiny Pinny Beach in Wallarah National Park, south of Swansea.

Strike out inland on Wallarah National Park’s Yondeo trail from Pinny Beach to the Pacific Highway. Or continue further south for a leisurely stroll along the sandy beach at Catherine Hill Bay and a bracing trek along the Moonee Beach Trail through the coastal heath of Munmorah State Conservation Area to the secluded strips of sand at Moonee Beach and Ghosties Beach.

Make a splash in Lake Macquarie
Your guide to wet weather adventures in Lake Mac