Winter has hit with a vengeance over the past few days in the Lake Macquarie region with cold, and at times, heavy rainfall from the east coast further out to the Hunter.

While everyone enjoys spending time by the lake in summer, Lake Macquarie has a few interesting ideas to shake the cold off, with plenty on offer in the cooler months.

1. Winter walks

Bright winter days are ideal for meandering, and Lake Macquarie is home to a wonderful variety of bush walks, coastal paths and mountain hikes catering for every appetite, action or adventure:

Watagan Mountains National Park

One of the region’s best-loved regional escapes where you will find walking trails, lookouts and campgrounds. Nestled deep within the Watagan Mountains, the lush Gap Creek Falls 1.7km trail features red cedars and strangler figs as it winds its way to one of the Hunter region’s most spectacular waterfalls.

Wallarah National Park

A majestic coastal bushland landscape, Wallarah is ideal for hiking to scenic lookouts to soak up the panoramic ocean views. Don’t forget to wander the 6km Caves Beach Coastal Walk with its high-cliff lookouts and viewing platforms – the ideal spot to catch a glimpse of migrating whales as they slap, breach and blow along the coastline below.

2. Indoor activities

Lake Mac City is home to ten libraries, an award-winning Art Gallery and more than two dozen community halls for you to hop inside and get cozy and warm. There are a range of things to be involved in from library activities to eye-opening exhibitions.

Lake Macquarie Libraries

You can bring the whole family to play, learn and test your skills at Lake Mac Libraries, with more than 30 events held a month.

Community Halls

If you need an inside venue this winter, Lake Mac City had 40 different community halls to accommodate your needs. The community halls cater for birthday parties, weddings or engagement parties, art and craft classes/exhibitions, social gatherings, indoor sports and fitness, and loads more.

Lake Macquarie Art Gallery

The Art Gallery doesn’t just showcase an amazing range of artwork, designs and sculptures, it also showcases many different exhibitions, art classes, photography sessions and art-making workshops for kids to beat the cold this winter.

3. Easy riding

Cycling is easy in and around Lake Macquarie. From winding coastal roads to quaint villages and heritage trails to spectacular lakeside pathways to forest and bush tracks galore, there’s a cycling adventure for every appetite and ability level.

Warners Bay Foreshore

A beginner’s favourite, this track follows the lake along the elevated Red Bluff Boardwalk from Warners Bay – and picking up a bike is simple at the automatic Boomerang Bike hire station.

Fernleigh Track

Follow an original restored heritage railway corridor for 16km bypassing intriguing wetlands and enjoying the classic bush landscape between Newcastle and Lake Macquarie.

Wangi Wangi Point Flora and Fauna Reserve

With rides ranging from 500 metres to two kilometres, savour the bushland and spectacular lake views in the Wangi Wangi area, home to kookaburras, koalas and wildlife aplenty.

4. Fisher’s paradise

Whether you’re a novice, advanced angler or weekend warrior on the loose, Lake Macquarie is a happy hunting ground for fishing fans of all varieties and winter is prime season for bream, mullet, tailor and garfish galore. Drop a line in at one of these local favorites:

By boat

Deep water fans should head to The Drop Over, Marks Point and Pulbah Island where feeding birds lead the way to schools of flathead, jewfish, whiting, bream, kingfish and prawns.

On shore

Drop in a line for flathead, whiting and bream from one of the jetties or foreshores reserves including Lucy’s Wall at Swansea Heads or Shingle Splitters Point in Balcolyn.

Family friendly

Let the kids try their hand from the easily accessible jetty at Pelican Foreshore Reserve, have a crack at Swansea Channel (and explore the nearby sea caves at Caves Beach on low tide while you’re there), or try beach fishing from the sand at Blacksmiths Beach.