Art Hop by Ferry in Lake Macquarie

Published on 14 December 2021

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Art lovers rejoice. There’s a new way to get your art fix in Lake Macquarie – wind in your hair, salty air on the breeze.

So grab your ticket and jump aboard the new Lake Mac Ferry for an art hop experience on Australia’s largest saltwater lake.

Rise and Shine


But first coffee. Begin your arts-filled itinerary at Booragul on the sparkling shores of Lake Macquarie. Fuel up with a coffee from Three Bears Café (opens 9am) at the Museum of Art and Culture Lake Macquarie, yapang (MAC yapang) where rolling green lawn tumbles down to the water’s edge. 

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Alternatively wander the leafy grounds and explore the artworks of the Sculpture Park, takeaway coffee in hand. It’s art in the great outdoors – how cool is that?

Afterwards explore MAC yapang – the Hunter’s only waterfront gallery – and host to world class exhibitions, many from artists who share a connection with the area. 

A major focus of the gallery’s collection, including those in the sculpture garden, reflect its landmark location while it’s also the custodians of several works by well-known Australian artists. Current exhibitions include the yapang Emerging Art Prize, Truth in Fire by Tim Georgeson and the Paper People Pledge for the Planet.  

MAC yapang is hosting a storytelling quest and indigenous art making workshop by Aboriginal artist educators this school holidays. 

Pigs do Fly


All aboard for Speers Point. Don’t get too comfortable as you’ll alight five minutes later. 

From here check out the Creative Lake Sculpture Trail, an electric collection of public art dotted along a flat, shared pathway through Warners Bay to Eleebana. Walk, bike or even rollerblade and admire a flying pig, an oversized Buddhist monk-child and a pink bust of Charles Darwin. 

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Image: Naidee Changmoh. The Ascetic 2015. bronze. 2000mm x 1200mm x 1500mm.

Loop back for Lake Macquarie’s newest cutting edge cultural institution Multi-Arts Pavilion, mima (an Awabakal word meaning ‘cause to stay’) created in collaboration with the University of Newcastle. The arresting pavilion (featuring luminous works by artist Hiromi Tango around its corners) offers a high-tech canvas for every conceivable type of art. And the sides of the cube shaped pavilions open. Now that’s high tech.

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Early Lunch or Brunch

Stop for an early lunch (let’s call it brunch) on the deck of inhouse café Harry and Lolas from the talented team behind The Kiosk at Newcastle Beach. Or grab a Lola bowl and cold pressed juice for an impromptu picnic on the lawn.

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Did you know? Speers Point is home to bustling weekend markets including Lake Macquarie City Farmers Market and the Homegrown Markets selling handmade, eco focused or locally designed wares.

See the Home of Lake Mac's Famous Son


Back onboard head south to Wangi Wangi for the heritage-listed home of Archibald winning artist Sir William Dobell. The late Dobell lived for many years at Wangi Wangi where his lakeside home now features an extensive exhibition illustrating his life and work (open Saturday + Sunday 1-4pm). The house and studio where Dobell painted most of his works remains pretty much as he left it. Be sure and check out the 1950s kitchen and a door which Dobell painted with flowers for his sister.

Alternatively sail on for Toronto with its tree-lined promenade and manicured foreshore. Order a cold ale and take in vistas of bobbing boats on the lake from the upper level of the historic Toronto Hotel. If you’re in town on the third Sunday of the month have a mosey around the monthly markets. 

Sunday Sessions


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Back onboard return to MAC yapang for its popular Sunday Sessions (1-3pm on selected Sundays). Grab a beer or wine and tuck into a cheese platter as you enjoy a guided art making workshop to a backdrop of live music. Wine, cheese and art. Where do I sign?

Sundowners and Street Art

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Return to MAP mima where dance and music events take place after dark as part of the week-long summer festival Press Play. Or catch Music by the Lake by the Lake Macquarie Philharmonic Orchestra on 1 May.

If an afternoon dip is in order cruise on to Belmont for the recently refurbished and netted baths. With damp hair and salty skin be sure and take a squiz at the colourful local street art. 

When it’s time for sundowners roll out a picnic rug or make for the deck at Lake Macquarie Yacht Club to catch the greatest show of all: a blazing sunset over the lake. 

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*This is a sample itinerary only and the Lake Mac Ferry timetable is subject to change. Start or end your journey at any one of the ferry stops at Speers Point, Booragul, Toronto, Belmont and Wangi Wangi on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. One-way tickets between any two stops are $13 for adults, return $26 and an all-day hop-on, hop-off pass is $30.

Study the ferry timetable to plan your own perfect arts-filled day.  

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