Flight Aerobatics, Spectacular Sunsets and 4 Other Reasons to Visit Lake Macquarie

Lake Macquarie things to do

Every time I think I’ve explored every corner of NSW possible, I discover an entirely new area I’ve yet to touch. Case in point: Lake Macquarie. It’s in the Hunter region of NSW, an hour and 45-minute drive north of Sydney and a 45-minute drive south of Newcastle.

It’s home to the largest coastal saltwater lake in the Southern Hemisphere, which covers 120 square kilometres. That’s four times the size of Sydney Harbour and allows for plenty of beaches and bays, not to mention countless waterfront venues where you can catch the sun setting over the lake with a frosty glass of wine or beer in hand.

When I recently spent a weekend in Lake Macquarie, as a guest of Visit Lake Macquarie, I based myself at Caves Coastal Bar and Bungalows, staying in a townhouse and after waking up with a morning dip in the ocean right out front, packing my days with activities, nature exploring and enjoying those sunset shows. If you’re heading to Lake Macquarie too for a weekend or even a week-long trip, ahead are some of my suggestions for what to do while you’re there.

Grab Coffee at Mr Sister Speers Point

Go where the locals go for breakfast and a caffeine hit. Mr Sister Speers Point is a small café, a five-minute drive from Warners Bay Foreshore. Nab one of the three tables under umbrellas outside or perch yourself on a high stool, looking out at the street through bay windows.

The food menu is lean so I just had a coffee. I stayed at a table outside for a couple hours, nursing it and observing how locals spend their Saturday mornings in Lake Macquarie.

Take an Aerobatic Flight With Matt Hall Racing

If you’ve done sky diving or bungee jumping and are looking for the next adrenaline hit, you’re in the right place at Lake Macquarie. It’s home to Matt Hall Racing, which lets you enjoy stunts like barrel rolls, tumbling end-over-end and speeds of 370+ km/ph. The experience was designed by Matt Hall, a Red Bull Air Race World Champion, and performed by his highly disciplined team of former RAAF and aerobatic pilots.

I’m not going to lie: I screamed like a baby every time we did a stunt. But you only do whatever you’re comfortable doing — the pilot asks for permission before every stunt.

Matt Hall Racing
Image: Matt Hall Racing

Learn to Sail on a Lake Macquarie Sailing Tours

Experience Lake Macquarie from the water with Lake Macquarie Sailing Tours. Tours run in the mornings and afternoons and can be tailored to suit preferences and budgets. All tours run with a maximum of four guests. Trips leave from Summerland Point Reserve with the option to anchor off Pulbah Island, where you can swim. A food platter and non-alcoholic drinks are included.

I spent most of the tour sprawled out on the boat’s deck, soaking in the sun, but also found time to swim in the lake and tuck into some cheese and crackers. The tour owner even had a carrot cake with my name written on it in frosting. It was a sweet touch!

Catch Sunset at Tinta

Forget long lunches, with the sunsets so stunning in Lake Macquarie, it’s about the long dinners here. Grab a terrace table at Tinta Belmont and watch the orange ball slowly drop into the lake. The venue was renovated in 2021 after a fire ravaged parts of it — now, it’s modern and minimalist, with a sun-drenched deck lined with tables that look out over the water.

On the menu, you’ll find share plates of seafood and meat, with some veggie options, like burrata with heirloom tomato and miso-glazed eggplant thrown in. Arrive just before sundown and you’ll be treated to the restaurant beautifully lit by golden hour.

Tinta Belmont
Image: Tinta

Jetboat With Jetbuzz Watersports

Mix adrenaline with getting out on the water, and you’ll get Jetbuzz Watersports. The company’s been around since 2006 and is the only jet boat operator in NSW to offer ocean rides on jet boats. Choose your adventure — Thrill Ride, Ocean Extreme or a simple boat or kayak hire — and then embark at Jetbuzz’s dock at Lorikeet Loop. The Ocean Extreme trip takes 12 people and runs for roughly an hour, taking you into a sea cave, depending on weather conditions.

Watch the Boats at Lake Macquarie Yacht Club

While anywhere along the lake is a great spot to watch the sunset, it’s special to catch it at Lake Macquarie Yacht Club in Belmont, with the sun’s rays dancing on the top of the sails. Grab a table at Crusoe’s on the Lake, the club’s restaurant that spills onto a winding deck. Crusoe’s is known for its seafood, but it’s got veggie options too, like a veggie penne and green beans and salad sides that I tucked into.

Lake Macquarie things to do
Image: Lake Macquarie Yacht Club

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