If you want a place to escape – that’s not too far from the Sydney city – find relaxation at Lake Macquarie’s Caves Beach, even if you’re taking the kids!
DO During summer in Sydney it’s difficult to find a beach that isn’t packed with people. Not here. Caves Beach is a vast stretch of pristine sand. Apart from the surfers making the most of its gentle swirl, this spot is virtually empty. You’ll feel as though you’ve struck gold. A network of sea caves is found at the southern end of the beach – here is where the local families gather – and can be explored at low tide. Along the shore, rock pools are brimming with marine life, which young kids delight in. But before you dive into the cool waters, work up a sweat by running down the path behind the caves to Quarries Head and Pinny Beach, where, if you’re lucky, you might just spot dolphins and whales.
EAT AND DRINK When it comes to dining your options are sparse. The town of Swansea is a five-minute drive from the beach, so you can stock up on groceries and make use of the beach’s barbecue facilities. The Entrance Farmers Market also operates on the first and third Saturday of the month with a variety of gourmet producers. From lunch through dinner, Caves Bistro serves classic pub grub with options including a calamari burger, American-style beef short ribs and beer-battered fish and chips. Children are also catered for with its Nippers Menu (including a free serve of ice-cream), covered play area and games room.
STAY Nestled atop the sand dunes, Caves Beachside Hotel offers family-friendly accommodation with its self-contained villas and townhouse. These are kitted out with king-sized beds, a full kitchen and large balcony, some overlooking the ocean. A timber boardwalk runs through the front of the resort and provides access to 18 light, bright beach suites, which are great if it’s just the two of you. Swish features include a 20cm rain showerhead, deep freestanding bathtub and Peter Morrissey amenities. The resort also features a lovely outdoor swimming pool.
GET THERE Caves Beach is located one-and-a-half hours drive north of Sydney.