It would be logical to assume that your first adventure on a lake and seaside retreat should be some kind of water-based activity, but there’s nothing we would recommend more than a trail ride with AAA Horse Riding & More. Salt-of-the-earth owner Wayne Hegarty introduced his herd of 30 gallopers to the public more than 20 years ago and his team of guides and assistants have similar Saddle Club-level skills. After a basic horse meet-and-greet, you’ll start your journey through the foothills of the Watagan Mountains, ambling, trotting and cantering under palm tree canopies, along lush fern pathways and through skinny gums stretching skyward. You could be in a horse conga line of ten or two riders on any given trip, but the AAA team will cater to your timeframe and skills. Oh, and there’s a troupe of ten-or-so farm dogs who might accompany you on your adventure. 252 Mount Nellinda Rd, Cooranbong 2265. 02 4977 2245. Daily 9am-5pm. $25-$290.
While you may only know Lake Macquarie for its expansive body of water, this unassuming region sandwiched between Sydney and Newcastle has a lot to offer city folk looking to slow down and get back to nature. And, with the kind of unflappable locals who welcome all sorts as potential new neighbours, you’ll want to stay much longer than 48 hours.
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