Paul and I recently took a short escape up north to Caves Beach in Lake Macquarie. It was such a beautiful time away thanks to my lovely parents. It's about an hour and 20/30 min drive from Sydney on a good day - quite close and super easy to access.
Caves Beach is spectacular and as the name suggests it has a handful of sea caves that you can explore during low tide. It is an unspoilt, gorgeous part of our coastline and worth even a day trip to enjoy the peaceful surroundings.
We stayed at Rafferty's Resort about 5 mins from Caves Beach. The accommodation facilities are all Villa style rentals, 2 storey, complete with everything you could possibly need should you decide to cook at home. There are 4 pools with the main pool over looking the lake plus the area is a wildlife refuge, the bird life here is so healthy - great place to take overseas guests. We also discovered some very impressive restaurants on the grounds.
There is a Thai Restaurant that would compete quite nicely with some of the top Thai restaurants in Sydney. We ate here almost every day.
And then there is an Italian restaurant right on the lake, the pasta and pizza portions were enormous but not without quality - we were really impressed by the standard of food and service at this resort.
Other than Caves Beach, there are some excellent hidden spots to discover including Catherine Hill Bay. There is something quite magical about this beach, you can tell the locals adore living there and are very proud of it's natural untouched landscape.
There's the quaint Catho Pub, which unfortunately we didn't have time to visit.
I also discovered a facebook page http://www.facebook.com/catherinehillbay?sk=notes everyone should visit this page and support the "Save Catho Now" cause. The locals have done really well in stopping development in the area, apparently one of the largest ever proposed on this coastline, but time is running out and they need more support. This town will never be the same if the developers get their way.
And as for the surf, unfortunately it was pretty small whilst we there but pumps when the tides are right...
We finish off with what I would call a very impressive addition to Cave Beach. The Caves Beach Hotel, they have spent quite a bit of money on this hotel / community complex. Breakfast is awesome and they have Yoga every day plus the Margaritas also rocked, so I'll be back. This development unlike the one for Catherine Hill Bay was wanted and supported by the community and is a third of the size planned for Catherine Hills Bay.