Lake Macquarie, in New South Wales, has become the first city in the southern hemisphere to host the International Children's Games. The annual event invites children from countries the world over to join in a whole raft of sports and activities, reflecting the many different cultures that will descend on the state for this year's event. By hiring a vehicle from East Coast Car Rentals you can witness all of the action set to take place this December.

The International Children's Games at Lake Macquarie run from 6 – 11 December and 1,500 children are set to descend on the city, all aged between the tender years of 12 and 15. Though the event may seem relatively low key, it has been running since 1968, when a Yugoslav teacher had an epiphany – that all children should be able to compete as equals, under the values of peace and goodwill, regardless of their ethnic background and culture. That early event featured just nine international towns but, in the almost fifty years since, more than 400 cities from the five inhabited continents have added their name to the list, each subscribing to the original values and aims of the International Children's Games. 

A fitting host city

Lake Macquarie was the first from the land Down Under to compete at the Games in San Francisco in 2008 and as such was chosen to host the 2014 spectacular. In such a setting, there is no way that the Games can disappoint – in fact, they are widely touted to be among the best yet! That's because Lake Macquarie has something for everyone, as well as being one of the most beautiful dwellings in Australia. The lake itself is enormous, almost like an inland sea, and as one of Australia's biggest, it has become a mightily popular holiday destination, both for Aussies and for those visiting from overseas. With four outstanding surfing beaches, rustic walking tracks and things to see and do at every corner, Lake Macquarie is perfectly suited to hosting this sporting spectacle for the younger ones. Not only that, the whole event will take place under the shadows of the sprawling Watagan Mountains.

Miniature Olympics

The Lake Macquarie International Children's Games features many of the sports, athletics and events as do the actual Olympics. Gymnastics, sailing, water polo and even golf are all accounted for here – it's worth picking up a schedule so that you can plan your days ahead and make sure that you see everything that you want to. The opening ceremony takes place on Sunday, 7 December and you won't want to miss that. Plenty of medals will be handed out over the days following, before the closing ceremony on Wednesday 10, with lots of special events taking place in between, such as the Night Farmers Market on the Tuesday evening. There is also such a range of things to do in between events – a spot of shopping, a moment's fishing – that you may well ending choosing to stay the week and make a holiday of it!

As Lake Macquarie is such a large body of water, the layout of the town is situated on all of its banks – which means that getting around can be a tough task. The organisers suggest that, though public transport will be in operation, hiring a car is almost certainly the best way to get around. We know a certain vehicle hire company that can help you out there…