Posted by: Bruce | December 2, 2012

Swimming with the sharks; Lake Macquarie – Australia.

And now for a bit of news closer to home. It appears that Lake Macquarie, following the banning of commercial fishing, has improved its fish stocks covering small to large species. With increased numbers come the predators, the larger species, the sharks. It’s reasonable to assume though, that sharks have always been in the lake, cruising the warm water power station outlets or quietly finning their way up Dora Creek or other little feeder creeks. Not a good thought; Bull sharks in quiet creeks, salt or fresh water.

Over the last few years the incidence of shark sightings has increased and the names, Bull shark and Great White don’t exactly cause a thrill for many that dip their toes in the Lake. Hammerheads aren’t known sweethearts either but seem to attract less  attention. I’ve followed and video’d a sizeable hammerhead, from my runabout, so I know they are there. (video 1min 12secs if interested).

William Dobell Park has always been a popular spot for many, myself and family included. Apart from the possibility of a cut foot or stubbed toe on some ugly bits in the general swimming area, or being run down by a boat or person towed by a boat; the thought of being shark food hasn’t seemed high on the list of hazards. Maybe those that like an early morning or late evening dip will think twice these days before cooling off. More than one person has told me that. The possibility of a shark cruising the same water is real.

I’ve wondered many times if this spot would be improved or not improved by a netted swimming area. My thoughts go to a pontoon type border which would be good to walk around etc and support some sort of netting with the slight rise and fall of the water level. I’d also like to see a giant rake in there to get rid of the sharp stuff like rocks with bits of shell on them.

Given that the lake has, in the past, had netted swimming areas ( I might be wrong on this point), I wonder if others are in favour, or not, of having netted swimming areas for safer swimming in the lake. My kids (late teens) would like a netted area. Using William Dobell Park as an example, do you think a netted swimming area is unnecessary, would look ugly or whatever; or do you think it could be a good thing, increase the numbers of visitors and have some economic benefit as well? If you do have an opinion perhaps you’d like to share it by hitting a button below indicating yes, no or maybe. I hope you do and it’s anonymous.

Apparently Lake Macquarie City Council has already decided we don’t need netted swimming areas and hopes to fund projects to make access to the Lake easier. I guess this will at least increase the variety of victims available.

Word for today:      “Informed”

I read in the Lakes Mail about Lake Macquarie City Council saying we don’t need shark nets.

More to come;      same blog time, same blog channel.

For a bit of an update I posted ‘Swimming with the sharks-Lake Macquarie Australia Pt.2 on November 2, 2013.


  1. I just did a map search and it looks as though the lake is on an island. Is that right? I’m trying to figure out how sharks get into a lake.


    • Howdy Charles, Lake Macquarie has the description of being the largest, coastal, salt water lake in Australia. It is open to the ocean via Swansea channel (natural) at a town called Swansea on the coast of NSW. All the bities can come and go as they wish. If you Google the details on Lake Mac. you’ll get an idea of its size, perimeter etc. It’s not on an island (well it is on Australia I guess) so you may have the wrong one.It’s also a pretty well known spot for rearing Olympic sailors. I live on the western side of Lake Macquarie in the township/suburb of Wangi Wangi. Hope that helps with the location; let me know if you’d like more detail.
      Just thought I’d add a little trivia for you Charles. It’s a fine Sunday morning (8.30am)and those that want a sleep in (instead of the alarm for work) probably won’t get much today. Some clown in my street already has the mower going, and further up another is flushing his boat motor. The general quiet will return but the sleep in won’t. Should be around 33*C today and we’re off soon to visit my Mum. Her birthday at 88yrs.


      • Thanks, Bruce. Google Maps seems to put Lake Macquarie on Pulbah Island, directly south of Wangi Wangi. But when I zoom out, I can see that the island is actually inside the lake itself.

        If it makes you feel any better, we have the same early Sunday morning activities here — mowers, motorcycles, revving car engines, power saws. The snowblowers will be starting up soon.

        I hope your Mum had a wonderful birthday.


      • Hi Charles, glad the map bit is sorted. Pulbah is a fair size island for a lake. I’ve parked my runabout at different points around Pulbah and pulled in a few good fish. I’ve also followed and video’d a good size Hammerhead which finned around on the surface for 15 mins at the western end of the island.
        It’s amazing to think that we can now just zoom in on Google maps and see where another blogger lives. All magic isn’t it?
        Seems Sunday morning revellers are everywhere and have been forever. The hum of a not too close mower is kind of okay but a chain saw first thing doesn’t fit in well.
        Thanks for the wishes for my Mums birthday. At 88yrs she’s still pretty sharp, doesn’t like to miss out on family things, and an interesting person as well. I’m lucky. Regards Bruce


  2. Given the situation adding netted swim areas seem like a “no brainer” to me.

    I’m in Nova Scotia and found you c/o Charles’ “Mostly Bright Ideas” site.’


    • Hi Sybil, thanks for commenting. I think the toothy problem will only increase over time. It’ll be interesting to see what happens.
      Apart from swimming though, this lake has lots of water sports, ski-ing, sailing, wakeboarding, diving; so I’m not sure swimmers at the shore will get much attention.
      I always think of an old movie when I see the name Nova Scotia. It’s a black and white movie with Jane Wyman playing the role of a mute person. Can’t remember the name at the moment.
      Is it as cold as the movie makes it appear? I’d like to see the place. Regards, Bruce


  3. Hi,
    I always think it is a great idea to have a safe swimming place, with our hot summers it just makes sense. It’s a bit scary thinking about kids going for a swim anywhere really that does not have some form of shark netting, especially in Oz.


    • Hi Mags; thanks for visiting. Apart from those swimming on the lakes edge, the toothy critters might now have water skiers thinking a little more when they fall off in the middle of the lake. Can’t really net for that situation. My kids, older teens, like the idea of a netted area.


  4. Hi Bruce
    Interesting post. Spoke to my cousin (in Sydney) after this read. He said he might go kayaking if he can luckily make it to NSW.



    • Hi, thanks for visiting. If your cousin is in Sydney then he has only around 1-2hrs driving to get to Lake Macquarie. Hope he makes it and thanks for reading.


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