It was never our intention to visit Australia’s largest coastal saltwater lake, as our friends just had a baby and happened to live on the water’s edge. So it was a welcome surprise when we explored Lake Macquarie, NSW’s immense body of water located in the state’s idyllic Hunter region.
Armed with a warm bottle of soda water, my Nikon SLR, seaweed crackers and our friend/local guide Troy, we jumped in the back of a 1970s speed boat and spluttered away from the jetty at Carey Bay. It was great to be in the water again, and I enjoyed peering into the lives of others as we sped past plush looking homes anchored just above the water’s edge.
It looked as if the sky was contemplating throwing our afternoon into turmoil as dark wads of vapour and immense sausage-like clouds gathered along the horizon. However, onwards we ploughed, as the sun kept peering its head determinedly through the clouds.
Cruising past Pulbah Island, the lake’s largest island, we were greeted with stark cliff faces that met well forested hills. Small inlets and boulders rushed past, as Troy told us of an immense energy plant that lines the lake’s edge further ahead. Here the water is apparently warm, and hammerhead sharks and jellyfish loiter in this bath-like patch in numbers.
Continuing on, I realised how immense the lake was, which is apparently twice as large as Sydney Harbour. There’s a part of it that connects via a channel to the Tasman Sea, although which I couldn’t see, as we weaved in and out of mirror-like bays that appeared to reorient the lake.
Apart from hosting a superb variety of Australian coastline in a unique habitat, Lake Macquarie, NSW, also has a significant bird population. Here you’ll find endangered species such as swift parrots and regent honeyeaters, making home amongst the forested hilltops that appear to float unscathed aside the densely populated coastline.