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Black Rock Motor Resort a Lake Mac world tourism drawcard

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From coal mining to world-class motor resort, Wakefield is set to become home to a $95 million luxury resort as early as 2026. 

The former Lake Macquarie mine site perched at the foot of Mount Sugarloaf will be transformed into Black Rock Motor Resort, boasting a 5.25km driving circuit, luxury accommodation, driver training, a function centre, cafe and go-kart track. 

The development is being touted as one-of-a-kind in NSW. 

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Black Rock Motor Resort – artists impression

Lake Macquarie Mayor Kay Fraser, Natural Resources Minister Courtney Houssos, Minister for the Hunter Yasmin Catley and Black Rock CEO Tony Palmer turned the sod on the 252ha site on Tuesday morning, marking the start of a three-year construction project. 

Mr Palmer said the finished resort would be a world away from the underground and open cut coal mining that operated on the site from the late 1800s until 1971. 

“Unlike a normal racetrack where the focus is large-scale racing events, Black Rock is more like a golf resort, but rather than 18 holes we have a 5.25km a circuit as our centrepiece,” Mr Palmer said. 

“The design of Black Rock focused on evolving the site from a former coal mine into a beautifully landscaped destination, integrating the circuit and all the facilities within the existing mine footprint and utilising previously cleared land and existing fire trails.” 

Black Rock Motor Resort – artists impression

Cr Fraser said the Black Rock project was one of the city’s most significant developments in her 20-plus years of local government, and the first of its type in NSW.

“This will be a very tangible demonstration of a mine site’s adaptive reuse, and it’s something we’re likely to see a lot more of as the world shifts away from fossil fuels,” she said. 

“That transformation, from coal mine to adventure tourism destination reflects our city’s seismic shift over the past couple of decades, away from primary production towards hospitality, tourism and other innovative industries. 

“I’m excited about what Black Rock will deliver for Lake Mac and the wider Hunter Region, not just in terms of jobs, but the tens of millions of dollars it will inject into the local economy for many years to come.” 

Black Rock Motor Resort – artists impression

Construction of Black Rock is expected to support about 450 jobs, while the completed resort is expected to employ almost 230 people. 

Dantia CEO Tim Browne said the project demonstrates what can be done on former mining land. 

“As Lake Macquarie’s economy continues to evolve, we’re going to need more land available for businesses to set up and expand, bringing jobs and economic benefits to our city,” he said. 

“We now have the blueprint for how we can achieve future land use that provides jobs and economic benefits across similar sites in our LGA”.   

Black Rock Motor Resort – artists impression

Some say an interest in motorsport is booming globally off the back of the blockbuster Netflix series Drive to Survive, covering the annual Formula One season. 

“This project will be a place where like-minded enthusiasts can come and share their passion in a safe and purpose-built environment,” Mr Palmer said. 

“It’s going to attract a significant number of new interstate and international visitors and businesses to the area. There are more than 100,000 active members of car clubs in NSW alone.” 

The undulating track has been designed by German-based Tilke Group – the company responsible for landmark racetracks across the globe, including the Yas Marina Circuit in Singapore, Circuit of the Americas in Texas and the Red Bull Ring in Austria. 

Black Rock Motor Resort – artists impression

It will host corporate driving events, performance car driving experiences, public track days and driver training courses. 

“Everything we do will be underpinned by education, whether it’s teaching learner and P-plate drivers to drive safely or helping young enthusiasts take their first laps on a high-speed track,” Mr Palmer said. 

Black Rock is expected to be operational within two years, with construction finalised about 12 months later. 

The project’s first stage will include track construction and establishment of a café in the former mine’s horse stable building. 

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Lake Macquarie Mayor Kay Fraser, Natural Resources Minister Courtney Houssos, Minister for the Hunter Yasmin Catley and Black Rock CEO Tony Palmer turned the sod on the 252ha site on Tuesday morning.

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