Lake Cathie, NSW

By Julian Jantos | September 18, 2014

Enjoy sublime surf breaks, lakeside fishing, and wildlife in perfect isolation.

THE PRISTINE coastline of Lake Cathie’s beaches begs for exploration. Only 11km south of Port Macquarie, Lake Cathie (pronounced “cat-eye”) is an ideal weekend escape. Looking east from Cathie Creek on a clear day yields a view of the Pacific, while turning west the network of rivers and freshwater pools await. Empty surf breaks, beachside barbecues, fishing spots and hiking are just a few of the activities available. A temperate climate makes it the perfect destination year-round, reaching an average high of 25°C in summer and 16°C in winter. With a permanent population of only 2000, there’s plenty of areas to escape to.

Activities

Surfing: As far as beach breaks go, Lake Cathie is a gold mine. As with much of the east coast, the best swells come from the east or south-east, and ideal conditions can be found most frequently in the autumn as the air temperature cools. Lighthouse Beach is suitable for all experience levels and board types.

Fishing: A range of fishing options exist around the lake and on the beach. In the lake and around the estuary, whiting and luderick are found early in the morning and at dusk. If beach fishing is your forte, bream, flathead, whiting and snapper are caught in the troughs of Lighthouse Beach. Lures, worms and most other bait will likely bag a satisfying catch.

Exploring: The river networks, lake itself and the estuary all offer walking and exploration opportunities. The estuary and Lake Innes National Park are particularly enthralling as its vast ecological network is ripe with birds, fish and small marsupials for the interest of amateur or aspiring zoologists. Historians will appreciate the Lake Innes Ruins, built by Archibald Clunes Innes in 1830. These are now open for viewing via tour booking, which is essential, at by calling the Port Macquarie Visitor Information Centre on 1300 303 155 (within Australia only) or +61 02 6581 8000.

The essentials

Location: Lake Cathie is 11km South of Port Macquarie via Ocean Road.

Accommodation: Lake Cathie has accommodation suited to all budgets, starting from Ocean View Caravan Park to Bonny Hills Beach Hotel and holiday apartments.

Food/drink: Plenty of dining and drinking options are available in and around Lake Cathie. From pubs and bars to fine dining, the area caters to all palettes.

Points of interest: Lake Innes Ruins offer an interesting glimpse into the region’s colonial past, and are some of the oldest surviving brick structures in northern NSW.

More info: www.lakecathiepa.com

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