FOR MOST of us, Easter is the last chance for the family to go on holidays together before Winter arrives – then there is usually the sports program for the kids and the footy season for the dads.
Finding the perfect place for all to enjoy the last days of great weather is always a challenge and I thought you might be interested in a great spot on the Hunter coast that provides just about every thing a family needs.
Lake Macquarie is a great holiday destination and the eastern shores provide all the usual holiday activities that we all are accustomed to. Blacksmiths Beach and the Swansea area offer such a vast array of choices that I really don’t have enough space to list them all.
There are the usual varieties of shops and essential services, but there is also a great lake for fishing, swimming, picnicking and relaxing. There is also one of the best sandy beaches on the eastern coast, all within a stone’s throw of each other.
This area is an easy 90-minute drive north from Sydney, connected by an excellent freeway. Once you have arrived, the choice is yours.
Blacksmiths Beach Holiday Park is a mere 150metres from the beach, the same distance from one of the best boat ramps in the area, and about two kilometres from the small township of Swansea. This caravan park has a four-star rating with all new facilities.
There are the usual amenity blocks, with the newer of the two using rainwater from its tanks for the toilet flushing systems. The council, which controls the park, is trying to make the parks in the local area as eco-friendly as possible.
There is a new camp kitchen, which has all the required extras that make a holiday great, right down to the new family-sized refrigerator. There are barbecue plates, sinks with hot water for washing up and several tables and chairs for groups to relax around after enjoying the rewards of fishing in the area. The kitchen also features a four-burner gas cook top complete with a wok burner and there are plenty of bench-top areas for food preparation.
The park has four cabins, one nicknamed the Honeymoon Suite, as it contains only a queen-sized bed, bathroom and kitchen/living area. The other three are family cabins with queen-sized beds for the parents and several double bunks for the rug rats. They also have excellent cooking facilities with stoves and microwaves, fridges etc, well-designed bathrooms, and TVs and VCR machines. All the cabins are air-conditioned. Bring your own linen or hire it from the office.
The sites are all grassed with many concrete pads for caravan annexes. There are also plenty of shady sites for campers. Powered and unpowered sites are available and all roads in the park are sealed so that there is minimal dust.
A new children’s playground, constructed of high-density poly materials, has been installed, providing a safe environment for the little ones. This area also gets used as an outdoor theatre for the youngsters during holiday periods.
The managers, Karen and Angus Corcoran, like to make sure that all visitors are catered for and the younger set is never left out. There is a volleyball court for the energetic teens and plenty of books in the laundries for us older visitors to borrow for a quiet afternoon’s reading. Tennis courts next door are available for hire.
Blacksmiths Beach has one of the best lifesaving clubs on the coast and frequently holds championships and training days for young and old. There is always a designated swimming area, which is patrolled during all holiday periods.
Farther along the beach, which extends for several kilometres, there are some great fishing gutters for the beach anglers. Beach worms and pipis are usually easy to catch, providing a good supply of fresh bait.
The local boat ramp is a safe mini-harbour which provides excellent access to either offshore or lake fishing. There are several bait and tackle shops within a few minutes’ drive of the park.
Pelican Airport also has daily flights to and from Sydney, so access to the area isn’t a problem. A 45-minute joy flight over the lake is a memorable outing when you consider that Lake Macquarie is the largest saltwater lake in the Southern Hemisphere.
If you don’t own a boat, they can be hired for the day on the lake from the Marks Point Marina or there are charter boats for outside and lake fishing. Brochures for these and many other attractions in the area can be found at the park office.
Blacksmiths also has a large information kiosk on the highway just south of the park, where you can access as much local info as you want.
A holiday at Blacksmiths Beach can be as relaxing or as exciting as you want it to be. From lazing on the clean sands to fishing the beach, the offshore reefs, the channel or just wetting a line off the breakwall, there is something for every angler.
Rates start from $12 for unpowered sites, with powered sites from $17 per night. Cabins range from $78 per night. All prices are for two persons and seniors discounts are available.Reads: 6953