Turn off the Pacific Highway into Croudace Bay Road at Belmont, just south of Newcastle, and you'll soon find yourself in the little village of Valentine which nestles on the shores of Lake Macquarie.
A boat ramp within the Green Point Foreshore Reserve will give you access to the huge lake, where the fishing, boating and sailing are all superb.
A hired houseboat is the perfect platform for visitors to take a voyage of discovery of this saltwater lake, which is four times the size of Sydney Harbour and whose foreshores extend for more than 174km.
A relatively short drive north takes you to the heart of the once great industrial city of Newcastle – the only Australian city whose CBD extends to the shores of the Pacific Ocean.
With fabulous beaches and a magnificent harbour – commercially, one of the busiest shipping ports in the Southern Hemisphere – and some wonderful examples of colonial architecture, Newcastle is reinventing itself as an attractive holiday destination. The grit and determination of the people of this city, who have withstood devastating earthquakes and social upheaval with the closure of the important local steelworks, underpin the resurgence of the local tourist industry.