Rathmines sits to the south of Newcastle on the shores of Lake Macquarie, Australia’s largest saltwater lake, four times the size of Sydney Harbour, with 175km of shoreline.
There was once an important Air Force base here at Rathmines and you can still see the remnants of some of the old base's buildings and concrete landing pads. The town hall, in fact, used to be the officers’ mess.
Lake Macquarie itself offers a myriad of delights for fishing, boating and sailing enthusiasts. It’s not far across the bay to the coast and some wonderful surfing beaches such as Caves, Redhead and Blacksmiths.
Of course, to the immediate north is the bustling city of Newcastle. This industrial behemoth has taken quite a hammering over the past few years, what with an earthquake in 1989 taking lives and buildings, and then the more recent closure of the BHP steelworks, casting hundreds out of work.
But Newcastle, always a gutsy city, is reinventing itself as a desirable tourist destination, which, with its rich history, pre-eminent beachfront position, and some of the oldest and most outstanding colonial buildings in the state is winning over thousands of new visitors every year.