Lake Macquarie has so much to offer visitors needing wheelchair accessible activities and after two visits in the last month, we’re sold. Take a look at just a few of Lake Macquarie’s wheelchair accessible activities.
We had many lovely experiences while staying in the Lake Macquarie area but our absolute favourite is Caves Beach.
There are few caves which can be accessed by a wheelchair user so we were particularly thrilled to take BJ exploring the caves. On our first visit we expected to find one cave on the beach but Caves Beach has a series of caves to explore. Not all fit BJ’s beach wheelchair but we had plenty to choose from and BJ loved the social atmosphere with so many kids excitedly running from one cave to another.
The access does vary as a couple of weeks later I returned with AJ and our friends at sunset. We found on this occasion there were more exposed rocks which would have made it difficult to get around with BJ’s beach wheelchair. Sunset was this photographer’s dream with the colours on the horizon providing a stunning backdrop to our fun.
The kids absolutely loved running from cave to cave and it was lovely seeing it through young children’s eyes.
ACCESS AT CAVES BEACH
Caves Beach has disabled parking beside Stuart Chalmers Park.
A MLAK key locked disabled bathroom is available at Stuart Chalmers Park.
The Caves Beach Surf Lifesaving Club has a Sandcruiser beach wheelchair (same as BJ’s chair) available for use during the life guard season. You can contact them here for more information.
Check the tides before heading to the beach. Low tide is required to have easy beach wheelchair access to the caves. We suggest arriving an hour before low tide to beat the crowds and to allow as long as possible for exploring.
Blacksmiths Beach is a short drive from Swansea Gardens Lakeside Holiday Park where we stayed on our recent stay in Lake Macquarie.
Blacksmiths Beach has a Sandcruiser beach wheelchair free for visitors to use during lifesaver patrol hours. Just see the life guards on duty and they’ll be happy to help.
Two accessible parking spaces are available.
A stand-alone unisex accessible bathroom is available. It does require a MLAK key for access.
GRANNIES POOL, BLACKSMITHS
If you prefer swimming in calm water, just around the corner from Blacksmiths Beach you’ll find Grannies Pool. A recent upgrade has resulted in fantastic access to the beach and the walk along the Swansea Break Wall. On the day we visited the water was shallow and warm, ideal for young children or those that like a relaxing swim.
A beach mat stretches along the beach to the hard sand.
A concrete path leads to seating if you prefer to watch on from a distance.
ACCESS AT GRANNIES POOL
There’s no specific wheelchair accessible parking at Grannies Pool but we had no problem finding a suitable spot on both our visits.
The nearest toilets are at Blacksmiths Beach.
An accessible path leads from the carpark to the beach where beach matting takes visitors to the hard sand.
LAKE MACQUARIE VARIETY PLAYGROUND
Lake Macquarie Variety Playground at Speers Point Park is a fabulous inclusive playground. The fenced playground is extensive with many accessible features including a Liberty Swing (wheelchair Swing), water features, musical instruments, a quiet zone and more.
Most of the activities are at a good level for a wheelchair user and extensive ramping on the play equipment allows access for all.
Within the fenced area there are plenty of places to picnic under the trees or you can find a quiet spot near the lake. If you prefer someone else does the cooking, Sal’s take-away and eat-in café is run by the Salvation Army. The menu includes the usual take-away treats like coffee, ice creams and fish and chips.
ACCESS AT LAKE MACQUARIE VARIETY PLAYGROUND
Accessible parking is available.
Several stand-alone unisex accessible bathrooms are available. You require a MLAK Key for access.
A Changing Places bathroom is also available with a hoist, adult-size change table and grab rails.
Level pathways are inside the playground and in the surrounding park.
Ramp access is available to Sal’s Café.
GLENROCK – YUELARBAH TRACK
Wheelchair accessible bushwalks are tough to find but we were told about the Glenrock Lagoon walk by an enthusiastic staff member in a café.
We ran out of time to do it on our family trip with BJ so when AJ and I returned to the area we took our little mates on the walk.
ACCESS AT YUELARBAH TRACK
This walk is graded wheelchair accessible for 1km of the track. We would have no problem doing this walk with BJ in his manual chair. Although the lagoon is the main attraction on this walk (and the track to get to it isn’t accessible) this is still a pleasant bushwalk. We visited after a long dry spell so the waterfalls were dry but I think these would make the walk more rewarding.
Take mosquito repellant and apply before leaving the car park!
WARNERS BAY FORESHORE
Lake Macquarie has more accessible foreshore walks than any other place we’ve visited. It’s so lovely to find level, accessible walks with good facilities along the way.
The Warners Bay Foreshore walk is popular with locals and we could see why. It’s ideal for kids on scooters, parents with prams, bike riders and of course wheelchair users. There are plenty of picnic tables along the way or a variety of restaurants.
Hubby and AJ hired a bike from Boomerang Bikes. These are available from a machine on the foreshore. Helmets are free to borrow from Subway. There’s a bin just inside the door so no need to queue up to ask.
Pop into the Swansea Visitors Centre and pick up some of the guides to the local area. The shared pathways guide is fantastic for finding wheelchair accessible walks and the Parks, Picincs & Playgrounds booklet has fabulous information regarding accessibility.
How I wish more councils and tourism organisations would produce such detailed access information. Please note accessible bathrooms in the Lake Macquarie use the MLAK key lock extensively. We find this ensures bathrooms are kept cleaner and for visitors who really need the facilities. We keep BJ’s MLAK key attached to his wheelchair so it is with us at all times. If you don’t have a MLAK key you can read more about getting one here.
All the lovely swimming, walking and bike riding definitely brings on an appetite, so here’s where we wined and dined around Lake Macquarie.
CAVES COASTAL BAR & BUNGALOWS – CAVES BEACH
We dined at Caves Coastal Bar & Bungalows at Caves Beach on both our trips to Lake Macquarie. Our family enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere, live music and water views and when we visited with my friend Sue and her kids, the kids play area was a hit.
The food is delicious and service fast. We’ve tried the pizza and fish and both get the thumbs up!
Access is excellent throughout the restaurant.
Accessible parking is available underneath the building with a lift to the restaurant, or there is street parking and ramp access at the front of the building.
An accessible unisex stand-alone bathroom is available.
You can read more about Caves Coastal Bar & Bungalow here.
TIDES CAFE, SWANSEA
Just around the corner from our accommodation at Swansea Gardens Lakeside Holiday Park we stopped in at Tides Café for breakfast. Tides Café won the kids over immediately with the option of pancakes on the menu and friendly staff. Billy made us particularly comfortable and nothing was a problem to him.
The views are lovely too.
There’s a ramp on the right-hand side of the café a little further along (as you look at it it’s the right-hand side)
Street parking is available in the area.
You can read more about Tides Café on their website.
CANON FOOD BAR ESPRESSO
After our walk and bike ride along the foreshore at Warners Bay we were all ready to cool down in the air conditioning of Canons and we were desperate for a drink. The Tropicana Frappe hit the spot but the restaurant also has a range of craft beers, exotic cocktails and wine if that’s more your thing.
BJ demolished his pizza while socialising with the friendly staff. He has no concept of people needing to work! Thanks to Tamara for stopping to chat often and for the tip regarding the Glen Rock Lagoon walk.
Hubby and I both couldn’t go past the offerings of lamb. I opted for the BBQ Lamb Fillet Salad and Hubby the Rosemary BBQ Lamb Fillets. Both were divine and extremely filling.
Having watched the desserts going out to other diners we were all ogling the Pavlova in a jar so we ordered one to share between us all. It’s every bit as decadent and deadly as it looks. BJ thoroughly approved.
You can read more about Canon Food Bar Espresso on their website.
Canon has a step-free entrance..
We parked on the street opposite and didn’t see any specific accessible parking nearby.
An accessible unisex stand-alone bathroom is available in the park opposite. This is MLAK key locked.
BELMONT 16s SALT, STEAK & SEAFOOD
Belmont 16s is one of the largest clubs in the Hunter region. If you have a family with varying tastes this could be your solution to ensuring everyone is happy at dinner time with 6 different dining outlets in one location.
With a lovely waterfront location and a play area which is a magnet for kids, it’s extremely popular with families.
I don’t quite know how Hubby and I fitted in a steak with prawns for dinner after a lovely lunch out, but we did, and I enjoyed every last morsel. AJ had a Caesar Salad and BJ enjoyed Bangers and Mash.
Belmont 16s has good access throughout.
Accessible parking is available in the open-air car park.
There’s ramp access to the entrance.
Stand-alone unisex bathrooms are available.
We popped into Café Macquarie on our first morning in Lake Macquarie. It was about a 10 minute drive from our accommodation.
BJ gobbled his way through banana bread, AJ had one of the trendy Acai & Granola bowls which I helped finish (Yum!) it was scrambled eggs for me and Hubby ventured to have something more exotic, a Belgian Waffle which was served with crispy bacon, vanilla bean cream cheese, maple syrup & caramelised banana. Hmmmm, lucky he went for a bike ride later!
You can read more about Café Macquarie on their website.
Café Macquarie has outdoor and indoor eating. There’s one step up to the entrance to dine inside the café. The outdoor dining is along the ramps to the café.
The café has an accessible bathroom facility.
We parked in an accessible parking spot underneath the shopping centre next door.
There’s also unisex stand-alone accessible bathrooms in the shopping centre.
PARKVIEW TAKEAWAY, SWANSEA
If you fancy a simple meal to take away to a spot by the Lake or the beach, pop into Parkview Takeaway for a burger or fish and chips. We took our fish and chips down to Caves Beach to have a picnic but alas the wind had other plans. We still enjoyed it in the car and the calamari is particularly good. Just remember to take cash with you as credit card is not accepted.
We dined as guests of the restaurants and Lake Macquarie Tourism but as always our opinions are our own. I cannot lie, we had a wonderful time eating our way around Lake Macquarie.