Swansea is situated just south of Newcastle, at the mouth of Lake Macquarie….which is a bloody big lake! We have stayed in Swansea numerous times now and whilst it’s fair to say that it is quite quiet, I’ve always enjoyed our time there.
We rent a little cottage which has a lovely garden which catches the sun in the morning and throughout the day, before it swings around to the front of the house and can be enjoyed on the little porch.
One of my favourite things to do there is to sit with a glass of wine in the early evening, soaking up some rays and reading my book…bliss!
Unfortunately on this particular trip we were not blessed with fantastic weather. In fact I think we were quite unlucky as there had been blistering hot weather up until we arrived and then we got hit by some ‘southerlies’ which brought cold conditions and a lot of rain.
But it wasn’t all bad, in between those days we did see warm sunshine and the flip flops came out, so I was in my element. Sunshine instantly makes me feel happier!
Whilst we were there, we took the opportunity to explore a few places that we hadn’t yet seen. We went to Catherine Hill Bay which is about a 10 minute drive away and is a magnificent sweeping beach.
It is also a state heritage listed historic mining village and you can still see the coal loading jetty stretching out to sea, which was once used to carry coal out to waiting ships.
We also visited Murray Beach which isn’t really a beach at all, but is on the shore of Lake Macquarie with fantastic views in every direction… if we could have seen them. The weather wasn’t great the day we visited!
It’s bushfire habitat though according to most people we talked to about it! I just thought it was a lovely place, but speak to an Aussie and that was the first thing they’d tell you about it! It’s not something that would even cross my mind!
On one lovely sunny day, we went for a walk up by the channel and then across to the lake.
The lake is salt water and rumour has it that there are great white sharks living in it…well aren’t they everywhere?!! That didn’t stop me taking a dip though, it was just too inviting! And it was perfect as I’m not very good at dealing with the waves of the Aussie beaches, I was bought up with the pancake flat seas of the Arabian Gulf so big pounding waves are just not my thing!
And I’ve watched enough Bondi Rescue to know that things can get out of hand quite quickly if you are not prepared for those seas!!!
In fact my partner and I play ‘spot the rip’ when we go to the beach to see if I’ve learnt to pick them out… I’m not doing very well with that so far!
And what is the deal with all the things that can injure/kill you at these beaches??!!
Below is the sign from Catherine Hill Bay. What the….??!!
However, despite all of that, I absolutely love visiting the beaches as they are just too darn beautiful… I might just need some persuading to get in the water!
Anyway, back to the lake – perfect clam water and no sharks in sight! I stripped off to my bikini and dived in…well that’s a lie, I tentatively tiptoed in, whilst gasping at how cold it was and being told to just take the plunge by a group of eldery men, who were obvisouly there for a get together!
So plunge in I did, eeek! It was freeezzinng!! But once submerged it was lovely and I spent quite a while just bobbing around and taking in the views across the lake. It’s actually quite shallow and you can go out quite far… but those thoughts of those sharks lurked at the back of my mind haha!
It was a lovely afternoon and once I had emerged from the lake and dried off, we walked a bit further along through the various reserves that line the shore. There is an abundance of birdlife to see as well, my favourite being the massive pelicans and the black swans.
We had a lovely walk down the path that follows the lake and saw a few more sights that I had missed out on last time.
I just can’t imagine having all of this on my doorstep to enjoy whenever I wanted…well, actually I could and it’s so very tempting!