It’s never fun saying goodbye but this morning we must farewell Rafferty’s Resort and the kids are none too thrilled. They insist on a stroll along the beach and a paddle in the pool before dragging their heels over the buffet breakfast. Their frowns turned upside down when we are joined by a rather cheeky and talkative Western Corella Cockatoo who has us at “hello”, squawked though the greeting is.
The kids dub him “Nigel” as he reminds them of the bad bird in the movie Rio. It turns out that Nigel, who seems particularly enamored with Marlo’s red sandals, is a particularly devoted creature and starts waddling along determinedly behind us all the way back to our cottage. He’s still waiting ready to great us with another squawky “hello” once we come back out to put the luggage in our car. Anyone know if you can take an AVO out on a parrot?
We say goodbye to the clingy critter and drive the short distance to cockatoo-free Caves Beach, a place best known for its namesake – the network of sea caves clustered at the southern end of the beach. We’ve come to explore one of Lake Macquarie’s many great walking trails. With our scooters at the ready we spend a leisurely couple of hours following the path along the cliff tops to Spoon Rocks, an old break wall constructed to load coal into ships, on to Quarries Head for sparkling views over the Pacific Ocean, before heading back to Caves Beach and the stylish Caves Beachside Hotel for refreshments and a well-earned lunch.
The award-wining 4.5 star hotel offers luxury accommodation just across the sand dunes of Caves Beach and has a wonderfully stylish and urban feel with a beachy twist. The sprawling outdoor terrace is the perfect place to kick back after our morning’s adventures and the kids fast discover a playroom with old school tabletop video games, a footsball table and other arcade delights, alongside a shaded outdoor play ground.
It wouldn’t be a beach break without ordering fish and chips at least once on our holiday and the tempura battered local perch and thick-cut chips doesn’t disappoint.
With Lake Macquarie’s close proximity to Sydney we’re not in any hurry, so after we’ve eaten and the boys (and I’m talking the adult boy here too) have had a few games of Pacman in the kid’s room, we head back down to the 300 metre stretch of beautiful soft beach, passing the patrol towers, the kids dancing between the flags and chasing the waves all the way to the southern end to explore the network of caverns and tidal pools.
The kids scuttle through the cracks in the rocks, through tunnels and in and out “the doorways” that connect each cave. They collect treasures and plonk their little bodies in out of the perfect pint-sized pools of water until, wet, sandy and sated by an afternoon by the sea, we bid a fond farewell to Lake Macquarie.
Along with the bucketfuls of seaside treasure the kids have accumulated, we’re also bringing home a bundle of great family memories and an even deeper affection for “Legendary” Lake Macquarie.