I had the pleasure earlier this week to step aboard the newly christened MV Lady Mac and launch the first regular scheduled cruise service in Lake Macquarie in more than four years.
Many in our community will have fond memories of cruising the lake in years gone by – perhaps on the old Wangi Queen, which was an institution on our waters for more than three decades.
Those opportunities to get afloat will return once again from this weekend, with MV Lady Mac cruises varying from 90-minute circuits of the western end of the lake to half-day expeditions travelling all the way to Wangi Wangi.
The return of lake cruises provides another fantastic opportunity to showcase our beautiful city to the world.
Lake Macquarie is certainly spectacular from the shore – whether you’re at Warners Bay, Speers Point, Rathmines or any of the other myriad vantage points around its 174km circumference.
But getting onto the water provides a whole new perspective, and reveals vistas of the lake’s natural beauty you just can’t see from shore.
The decision by Nova Cruises to expand to Lake Mac reflects growing confidence in our city’s tourism potential.
The number of visitors welcomed in Lake Macquarie has grown 20 per cent in the past five years, with the lake the focal point for many.
That increasing demand is perfectly illustrated at this time of year, when the Christmas holiday period starts ramping up.
Bookings across our four holiday parks are already near capacity for the festive season, and Council’s decision last week to approve the use of short-term rental accommodation for up to 180 days a year provides more options for holidaymakers looking for a place to stay.
Providing new attractions and supporting new events throughout the city will also help us win an even greater share of the lucrative overnight tourism market.
To this end, it was exciting on Monday to announce Lake Macquarie’s renewed partnership with Surfest, which will see a World Surf League event contested in our city for the first time ever in 2019.
The Lake Mac Pro Junior will include almost 100 of the world’s best male and female surfers aged 18 and under, shining the surfing spotlight on Redhead Beach where the event will be held.