Sunday, 28 July 2019

Soak up the Sights of Lake Macquarie, the Winter Sun Destination

Top 10 Winter Adventures at Lake Macquarie

This winter pull out your winter woollies and do something different – enjoy an Australian winter getaway in lovely Lake Macquarie. This destination of all seasons has so much to offer and could even be considered its most beautiful during the cooler months. There’s no need to rush to get out early and beat the summer heat - and when you’re ready for exploration later in the day, there’s plenty to see and do at the Lake!

Here are our top 10 winter adventures in Lake Macquarie:

Let Lake Mac Float Your Boat

Lake Macquarie is set to put on its annual light show, with dozens of boats lighting up the night skies and calm waters of Lake Macquarie during the region’s perennial favourite boating regatta Float Your Boat – an event where passionate boat owners are encouraged to decorate their vessels in lights and take part in a parade around the Lake. 

This weekend (June 28 and 29), the event will feature two flotilla parades following a course from Marmong Point Marina to Wangi Wangi on the first night, and then on the second night, from Marmong Point Marina to Belmont. Join the fantastic foreshore celebrations featuring live music, food and entertainment.

Have a whale of a time

With whale season well underway, it’s time to check out the hottest spots to view nature’s most majestic mammals as they flip and frolic off the NSW coast. Bring the binoculars and try your luck at Redhead Bluff, Awabakal Viewpoint, Caves Beach Walk or the Ken and Audrey Owens Walk.

For the ultimate up-close-and-personal experience, hop aboard a whale watching tour with Coast XP to enjoy an unforgettable voyage, with plenty of opportunities to get close to playful humpback whales. In the unlikely event you don’t spot a whale – they’ll offer you another cruise free of charge.

Get toasty in the Watagans National Park

Nothing beats toasting fluffy marshmallows over a campfire on a winter’s night, and what better place to do so than Lake Macquarie. It’s not uncommon for holiday parks to have a ‘no campfire’ policy so finding a cosy campsite where this is allowed really is a treat!

Hidden deep in the Watagans Mountains you will find Gap Creek and Bangalow campgrounds, where you can light up a campfire and enjoy the dancing flames as the sun sets behind the wall of forest trees.

Fly high

If you fancy an entirely different view of Lake Macquarie, Skyline Aviation operates helicopter joy flights departing from Lake Macquarie Airport and taking in the sights of Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and the coastline from Umina Beach and Terrigal past Caves Beach, Blacksmiths, Redhead and Bar Beach all the way to Newcastle Harbour.

Giddy up

The glorious foothills of the Watagan Mountains are perfect for being explored via horseback so take advantage of lessons, full-day rides and even overnight stays with the experts from AAA Horse Riding. Explore incredible trails that take you into the foothills of the Mountains, through rainforest and past some of the most spectacular scenery in Lake Macquarie, that will be sure to take your breath away.

Cruise the Lake

Jump onboard Lake Macquarie Cruises’ ‘Lunch on the Lake’ and experience the hidden highlights of beautiful Lake Macquarie – the largest saltwater lake in the Southern Hemisphere. Cruise the Lake and indulge in a freshly prepared BBQ buffet lunch served onboard the vessel consisting of fresh local prawns, scotch fillet minute steak and gourmet beef sausages with a selection of salads to compliment. Enjoy a selection of petit fours for dessert, with complementary tea and coffee or select from a full range of drinks available from the fully licensed bar.

Get adventurous

For the ultimate winter challenge – which will put you firmly outside your comfort zone, why not try abseiling the spectacular sandstone cliffs at Gap Creek Falls in the Watagans National Park with the team from Out and About Adventures. Offering sequenced programs beginning with small cliffs and progressing over a series of descents – the perfect way to master the rope!

Creative LAKE and cake?

You can’t say you’ve been to Lake Macquarie without visiting Warner’s Bay. Check out the flavour filled fare at Travino’s CafĂ©, Table 1 Espresso or Little While Bull Espresso on The Esplanade before exploring the foreshore.

Winter offers the perfect temperature to walk or bike around the Lake, which is the best way to appreciate Creative LAKE. Along Warners Bay Shared Pathway you’ll find a selection of unique artworks including a bronze sky pig, a young monk and bronze sculpture titled ‘Darwin’.

Get back on track

Winter is the time to explore one of the most popular shared pathways in the Lake Macquarie region, the Fernleigh Track. Loved by walkers and cyclists alike, the track follows a disused coal rail line from Adamstown to Belmont. Those keen to enjoy the warm winter rays while meandering along the track will be treated to beautiful bushland and wetland areas. 

Caves galore

From sunrise to sunset, there is so much to love about a day on Caves Beach. Consistently ranked as one of Australia’s best, this iconic beach is a firm family favourite for low tide cave exploration, beach cricket, long walks, meditation, building sandcastles, and just chillaxing. Caves Coastal Bar & Bungalows perched on the hill above, is the perfect hotspot for 5pm sunset drinks.

This coastal town has a chilled-out vibe inviting you to do nothing but relax, get adventurous, take long walks and enjoy sunset wines. Embrace the cold, pack your winter woollies and get yourself to lovely Lake Macquarie.

To learn more about what the region has to offer and plan your winter getaway, please visit:

Thursday, 25 July 2019

What's New in Tropical North Queensland

Music, racing, award-winning beer, dining in the rainforest and new wildlife attractions give Tropical North Queensland a variety of fresh experiences for the cooler months in the tropics.

Live music at Paronella Park
Historic Paronella Park is once again alive with music from The String Family as part of the evening tours until October 31. The award-winning musicians play original compositions inspired by the magic and beauty of the Cassowary Coast rainforest filling the National Trust property with live music, just like the evenings hosted by Jose Paronella many decades ago.

Be charmed by snakes
Seeing snakes in their natural habitat just got easier with the opening of Pathway of Pythons at Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas. The new snake precinct has jungle, olive, amethystine, water and black-headed pythons with each housed in a room designed to look, feel and smell like the place they call home. The attraction is one of the exciting 30th anniversary changes Wildlife Habitat is undergoing.

Deadly dining on country
Join the Mandingalbay Yidinji people on their country for a four-course Deadly Dinner featuring traditionally inspired local produce and Australian native ingredients. Cruise from Cairns city across the water with a Traditional Owner to the natural environment of East Trinity Reserve to be welcomed with a smoking and cleansing ceremony, traditional dance, storytelling and an internationally renowned harpist.

Drivers rally to Targa
Entries have surged by 40% in Targa Great Barrier Reef with more than 270 vehicles to drive Tropical North Queensland's roads from 30 August to 1 September. This makes Targa Great Barrier Reef the second largest tarmac rally in the world. Non-competitive touring groups follow the drivers serious about winning Targa and put on a $25 million display of exotic sportscars and classic vehicles.

Be a cowboy
Discover your inner cowboy on both horseback and an all-terrain vehicle at KUR-Cow Barnwell, a working cattle property in Kuranda. Feed the cattle on a hay ride to learn about the different breeds and then savour the flavour of each at the restaurant with a beef tasting platter. Get a ringside seat to watch a show of bushman’s skills and meet the friendly working dog who can run all day.

Koala joey on show
Monte Carlo, the sweetest koala joey at Rainforestation Nature Park, has emerged from mum Vovo’s pouch at the age of eight months and is putting on a show for visitors by crawling all over his four-year-old mother. Dad Sunny was on loan from Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary as part of the captive breeding program. The Kuranda nature park has also welcomed two rescue koalas from the wild.

The race that stops Cairns
The Cairns Amateurs Carnival has secured two of Australia’s most awarded Fashions on the Field competitors, Lindsay Ridings and Emma Scodellaro, to judge this year’s titles. The Carnival on September 12-14 is three days of fun, fashion, food and entertainment built around two days of horse racing. Race-goers can pick their own trackside party from exclusive to tropical casual.

Dine in the treetops
Silky Oaks Lodge is throwing open its doors for lunch in the open-air Treehouse Restaurant set in the Daintree rainforest treetops overlooking the stunning Mossman River. Newly appointed Executive Chef Mark Godbeer has arrived from Longitude 131 at Uluru Kata Tjuta, which is also part of the Baillie Lodges portfolio. Two and three-course menu options are available.

Fly to the Reef
Scenic flights over the Great Barrier Reef can be enjoyed on Nautilus Aviation’s new factory-built Airbus H130s helicopters which seat seven passengers. The luxury transfers and scenic flights are from Port Douglas to the Quicksilver pontoon at Agincourt Reef, from Cairns to Green Island, and from Cairns to the Great Adventures pontoons at Moore and Norman Reefs.

Top pilsner awarded
The Prospector’s Pilsner from Hemingway’s Brewery was awarded Best Pilsner at the 2019 Australian International Beer Awards. Hemingway’s craft beers each have a local story and the pilsner was inspired by explorer James Venture Mulligan whose thirst for adventure ensured Port Douglas was founded. The brewery has waterfront gastro-brewpubs in Port Douglas and Cairns.

New exhibit in Kuranda
What does a caterpillar eat before it turns into a beautiful butterfly? The Australian Butterfly Sanctuary in Kuranda has introduced an exhibit that answers this question. The Food Plant Walk is a 20-minute guided educational walk highlighting various caterpillar food plants and includes a sneak peek at the sanctuary’s aviary used for disease control and egg collection.