Not to be confused with Port Macquarie—the popular holiday destination just 3 hours north—Lake Macquarie is Australia’s largest coastal saltwater lagoon. Covering an area of 42 square miles, it’s connected to the ocean via a narrow channel that wasn’t discovered until an early explorer made a wrong turn mapping the coast. Today the lake has given rise to the town of Lake Macquarie, which is known as a popular vacation destination for boating and splashing in the water. When visiting the town of Lake Macquarie, hire a sailboat, kayak, or fishing boat and experience life on the lake, or go surfing at one of the white sand beaches just a few miles away on the coast. There are hiking trails paralleling the cobalt shoreline and more in the nearby hills, where visitors can get views of this lake that’s double the size of Sydney Harbor. Or, take a day trip to the heart of Hunter Valley to sample some of Australia’s best wines, before returning for sunset over the water in Central New South Wales.
Lake Macquarie is about 90 minutes north of downtown Sydney and 50 minutes south of Newcastle.