Lake Macquarie is only a 90 minute drive from Sydney and has plenty to offer visitors looking for an accessible getaway. First stop for us was our home for two nights, a poolside accessible villa at Swansea Gardens Lakeside Holiday Park. The wheelchair villa had everything we needed for a comfortable stay and a great location for accessing a lovely walk along the waterfront.
POOLSIDE ACCESSIBLE VILLA
The modern wheelchair accessible villa at Swansea Gardens Lakeside Holiday Park has ramp access from the car space to the entrance of the cabin.
Although we were out and about exploring the area most of the day, we enjoyed having a view of the pool.
I usually cringe if our room is near the pool because of the noise but our villa was far enough away we didn’t hear much noise at all. It was quite warm during our stay so we did have the doors shut and the air-conditioner cranked up to keep us cool.
Take a tour with me (AJ does my videos and has turned the sound off as I clopped my way through the walking tour of the villa!)
We felt right at home in the Poolside Villa and the kids quickly sank into the comfy lounges to catch up on a bit of Disney and Nickelodeon channels. In fact, this is the first place we’ve stayed where they have Foxtel IQ (the ability to record pay TV and play back the shows at a time which suits you). AJ quickly commandeered the remote and busily recorded their favourite programs to watch in the evenings when they had time to relax. Although I’m all for being screen-free the majority of the time, as a parent I don’t mind the kids having some chill time. The Foxtel IQ got a big thumbs up!
I can gleefully say I spent very little time in this kitchen as we were fortunate to be eating out for the weekend. I still appreciated the features and we always make good use of a full-size fridge for chilling our water bottles and fruit.
The galley kitchen has a lowered bench, room under the sink for wheelchair access and a lever tap. All crockery is at a level ideal for a wheelchair user.
The main bedroom has room on one side of the bed to transfer from a wheelchair and plenty of circulation space on this side of the room. Entry into the room is via a doorway which is 830mm wide. The bed height is 800mm with 90mm clearance underneath.
The entry into the second bedroom is the same 830mm and the room contains a set of bunk bed with a double bed at the base and a single bed above. Once again there is room on one side of the bed to transfer. The clearance under the bunk bed is 210mm and the height of the double bunk bed is 500mm.
A spacious accessible bathroom includes a shower bench, grab rails throughout, a height-adjustable shower head and lever taps. The entrance to the bathroom is 880mm.
The toilet has a back-rest and the bathroom basin has room for wheelchair access underneath and is fitted with a lever tap.
A ramp provides easy access to the generously sized solar heated resort style pool.
We’ve stayed at many properties over the years but I’ve never seen such a good ramp leading into a pool. At the moment there’s no pool wheelchair but I hope in the future one is provided because this would make this holiday park an even more accessible holiday destination for guests with a mobility restriction.
Within the pool area there’s a stand-alone unisex accessible bathroom with shower bench, lever taps and toilet.
WHEELCHAIR FRIENDLY VILLA
We know our readers have varying needs when it comes to accessibility so we took the opportunity to also check out the Wheelchair Friendly Villa at Swansea. This villa overlooks grassland and Lake Macquarie and is close to the foreshore walk at the back of the holiday park.
As with the Poolside Accessible Villa, this accommodation has ramp access from the car parking space beside the cabin to the deck and entry.
This villa sleeps four people and is more compact in size than the Poolside Villa.
The kitchen benches are at a regular height and the microwave is at a height which would be difficult for a wheelchair user to access. If you are visiting and need access to the microwave it would be good to ask if it can be moved to the bench for your stay.
The outlook from the Villa is lovely with Lake Macquarie just across the way.
The main bedroom has room to transfer on one side of the bed with good circulation space in the room with an 840mm door width. The height of the bed is 650mm and the clearance under the bed is 310mm. The bed is secured to the floor so it cannot be moved.
This is a one bedroom villa as the bunk beds are in the hallway between the kitchen/dining area and main bedroom.
The accessible bathroom is smaller than the Poolside Accessible Villa. It’s equipped with a shower bench, height adjustable, hand-held shower head and lever tap. Grab rails are fitted beside the toilet and in the shower area.
The bathroom basin is wheelchair accessible and has a lever tap.
FACILITIES & CAMP AMENITIES
The camp kitchen has a fridge, microwave (though too high for a wheelchair user), oven, washing up facilities and seating.
BJ was quick to point out the recreation room which has a range of pay-to-play games.
Swansea Holiday Park has a mini-golf course, playground, tennis court and basketball court available to guests.
There are two laundry facilities in the park. The laundry facilities closest to the Wheelchair Friendly Villa are accessible. The laundry facilities in the middle of the park has one step up to it.
A refundable $10 deposit is required in return for the key to the accessible bathroom in the amenities block. The bathroom is equipped with a shower bench and a shower chair which is great as I know our readers often have a preference in this regard. Grab rails are fitted throughout and there’s a height-adjustable hand-held shower. There are no lever taps.
The park is extremely family-friendly which is one of the things we liked the most. It was fairly quiet with lots of younger families enjoying the location and the facilities. Kids happily riding bikes and enjoying time swimming in the pool and the lake.
It therefore makes sense the park caters well to this market with a family bathroom which has a bath.
I met one lady who was camping in the park and she was in the office extending her stay by another week. We started chatting and she said “You know I only live at Warners Bay!” Warners Bay is only about a half hour away from Swansea Gardens Lakeside Holiday Park but she explained the kids were just so content swimming and being at the park she didn’t want to go home. Happy kids, relaxed parents!
We are always glad to leave the car behind and take a nice walk and wheel somewhere scenic. Just through the back gate of the holiday park is a shared pathway which runs along Lake Macquarie. It’s not a long walk but a really pleasant walk and had we been staying longer this would have been an ideal spot to take BJ swimming. He would enjoy the calm waters and the shallow entry to the Lake.
We stayed at Swansea Gardens Lakeside Holiday Park as guests of the park and Lake Macquarie Tourism. As always our opinions are our own and we would happily return to stay again in the Poolside Accessible Villa. It had all we needed for a comfortable stay. Check out the Swansea Gardens Lakeside Holiday Park website for more information.
If you visit Swansea Gardens Lakeside Holiday Park make sure you pop in to Grannies Pool at Blacksmith.
When we travel I always ask locals for their tips on the best places in the area. Last weekend a couple of people suggested we check out the new improved access to Grannies Pool and Swansea Channel Breakwall at Blacksmiths Beach. A ramp leads from the parking area to the beach and I was then delighted to find an accessible path over the sand making beach access possible. The wind was whipping up the sand so it had buried the very end of the pathway but we could see it would usually take a wheelchair user to the hard sand.
This is a lovely protected swimming area with calm waters.
Our walk along the break wall was swift but we could see it would be a lovely spot to enjoy the ocean views on a calm day.
Thanks to the Lake Macquarie locals who suggested this spot. We’d love to revisit for a dip one day.
You can watch a little clip of our walk below.
And one of our favourite spots in the Lake Macquarie area is Caves Beach. There’s a beach wheelchair available to loan from the surf life saving club to help you explore the beach caves. You can read our tips about visiting here.
Take a look at the fun we had below –
We think as an area, Lake Macquarie has the best range of foreshore walks we’ve found in our travels. I’ll be sharing more in coming reviews.