Lake Macquarie, a deceptively large saltwater lake four times the size of Sydney Harbour, lies just south of Newcastle. A narrow neck joins the Pacific Ocean at Swansea. Lake Macquarie is dotted with secluded bays, coves and sandy beaches, framed by large hills of natural bush. Quite spectacular. On any weekend you can see lots of colourful sails as yachts compete in races and power boats dart back and forth. Locals promenade along the pathways that run alongside the lake. Popular towns on the lake include Swansea, Belmont, Warners Bay, Toronto and Speers Point (where the Lake Macquarie Council is located). A lot of the housing is older style and in need of a makeover but more and more new developments are emerging with modern homes such as subdivisions near Valentine, Green Point, Murrays Beach and Coal Point (on the Western side of the lake). And of course there are some very nice dwellings on the waters edge. Lake Macquarie claims to be one of the fastest growing areas in NSW. It is also home to several major industries, such as tourism, coal mining, electricity generation and metal smelting. Murrays Beach is a new suburb not far from Swansea on the Wallarah Peninsula, planned by Stocklands and which is state of the art as suburbs go, very eco friendly. Stocklands kept as many trees standing as possible and interestingly no pet cats are allowed.