Outdoor enthusiasts, thrillseekers and eco-tourists from across the region will soon have access to a new adventure playground after plans for a new off-the-grid holiday park in Lake Macquarie were revealed.

Photo source: Lake Mac City

Cooranbong Eco-Adventure Retreat will host various activities, including bushwalking, mountain biking, horse riding, jet-boating, skydiving and aerobatic flying.

The 30-hectare site off Freemans Drive, north of Cooranbong, will be constructed by Lake Macquarie City Council with the assistance of NSW Government grant funding.

The adventure retreat will include 20 bespoke cabins made from recycled shipping containers and 60 camping sites.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW, Paul Toole, said the Cooranbong Adventure Retreat was exactly the type of project the Regional Tourism Activation Fund was created to support.

“This is a fantastic project that will entice a greater range of tourists to the Lake Macquarie area to enjoy some of the more extreme outdoor activities this beautiful region has to offer, from mountain biking and off-roading to skydiving,” Toole said.

“The projects backed through the Regional Tourism Activation Fund will give domestic and international visitors more great reasons to holiday in our regions and experience all that regional NSW has to offer.”

Holiday Parks Coordinator, Garry Ellem, said the Cooranbong Eco-Adventure Retreat was perfectly placed near the foot of the Watagan Mountains, five kilometres from the Awaba Mountain Bike Park and just a few minutes from the M1 Motorway.

“The other big feature will be the sustainable design principles employed from top to bottom across the retreat,” he said.

“This will be an off-the-grid site, using solar-powered amenities, rainwater harvesting and onsite sewage treatment.”

According to the industry body, Ecotourism Australia, ecotourism has grown to become a major sector of the tourism industry, employing more than 14,000 people and contributing to annual revenue of $1.6 billion,

Lake Macquarie Mayor, Kay Fraser, said the new venue would help cement Lake Macquarie’s status as an adventure tourism playground.

“This will provide further motivation for people to head to Lake Mac for the weekend or longer, to enjoy all the amazing outdoor activities we have on our doorstep,” she said.

“The retreat is only an hour from Sydney’s northern suburbs, so this is a very realistic weekend getaway for millions of potential visitors.”

Development of the planned $2.5 million retreat, which will sit on land already owned by Council, will include a $1.7 million grant from the NSW Government’s Regional Tourism Activation Fund.

A development application will soon be lodged, and the site is expected to open in mid-2023, pending approval.

Maia O’Connor

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