People know Cabarita as a small surfing town on the road to Byron, well-regarded for its fantastic beaches and surf-side lifestyle. When development of the town first began in the early 1960s, its main drawcard was not the ocean but the lake. Cudgen Lake runs through the back of Cabarita and is somewhat of a hidden treasure. Back in the '60s, the lake was home to Cabarita Beach Ski Gardens - the hub of the town and a main attraction of the Tweed Coast. In the past, Cabarita Ski Gardens operated as a caravan park, resort, a popular waterski school, lake sports hire centre and as a prime location for visiting and local water sports enthusiasts. After the Cudgen Lake became part of a nature reserve in the early '90s, all motorised sports were banned and the Ski Gardens were left deserted. Now, what used to be Cabarita’s headliner, has been resurrected by determined locals who have cherished their childhood memories of the lake and dream of returning it to its former glory.
Cabarita Ski Gardens is now The Lake Cabarita. The sizeable venue is perched in perfect position on the glassy lake, perfect for canoeing, bird watching, picnicking and well-loved by many sunset seeking photographers. Remnants of its past life are still evident throughout, like the abandoned Putt Putt course and old-school infinity pool, which has now been turned into a large deck that sprawls out from the front of the restaurant. The actual venue still honours the character of its interesting retro past with the original structure remaining in tact, enormous vintage bar and plaster ceiling detailing included. Since its recent renovation, The Lake has begun its transformation into a health and wellness themed venue in the hopes of restoring interest in the forgotten landmark. They offer yoga classes, paleo inspired dining, catering, with clients including celebrity chef Pete Evens, as well as presenting the town with a venue for functions, weddings and health and wellbeing related events. The Lake also offers live music most weekends and other fun events like Mexican Madness to try and bring some life back to the area. Restoring and revitalising such a large piece of local history is undoubtedly a massive project, but The Lake certainly has the potential to bring some much needed attention back to such a beautiful part of Cabarita.
2-8 Willow Avenue, Cabarita Beach NSW, 2488
@the_lake_cabarita or http://thelakecabarita.com/