Lake Macquarie (map) is a local government area located approximately 150km north of Sydney and 20km south of Newcastle (population circa 189,150). The area is demographically a set of closely contiguous towns that surround a coastal saltwater lake, and merge with the suburbs of Newcastle to the north. Some suburbs, such as Adamstown Heights are partly in the City of Newcastle and partly within the City of Lake Macquarie.

Significant population centres include Belmont, Cardiff, Charlestown, Glendale, Morisset, Mount Hutton, Swansea, Toronto and Warners Bay. The various towns and suburbs are classified as being part of the Newcastle Statistical District, so their population is included when Newcastle is commonly listed as Australia's sixth largest city. However, the City of Lake Macquarie has its own independent local government (Lake Macquarie City Council), which is planning to develop a new Central Business District. The largest commercial centre in the region is Charlestown which has a turnover greater than that of Newcastle's central business district.

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