Updated: Dec 21, 2019
Forster (pronounced Foster) has always been one of my most favourite places in Australia, in fact so much that I moved up here for a sea change late in December 2017. It has been the best thing I have ever done and I am now living in paradise with frequent trips back to Sydney, so I have the best of both worlds. Since moving up to this area I have been out exploring and taking lots of photos, especially for my new tourism website www.northcoastnswlifestyle.com.au so please come and take a tour with me as I show you around this amazing part of New South Wales.
People book one year in advance to stay at a Forster caravan park. In the peak season, Forster is so popular, that it's almost impossible to find accommodation. So if you want to spend Christmas or Easter or the October long weekend in Forster, get your name down on the waiting lists! With holiday park sites those that have spent the current year on the site are entitled to claim the site for the next year! Go figure! It's crazy!
The photo at the top of this article is one I took at Bennetts Head Lookout in Forster. It truly is a spectacular view and forms part of a beautiful walk that eventually leads to One Mile Beach through a path that takes you through tunnels formed by the canopies of trees and bush with sensational views of the ocean. During the May to November this is a great place to spot a migrating whale.
I actually live in Tuncurry which is the twin town adjacent to Forster before crossing the bridge. On a beautiful day the water at the Tuncurry Breakwall is absolutely stunning, and there are often dolphins swimming around the area. The net you see in the photo above is not actually a shark net, it's to prevent people being swept out into the channel. I am extremely grateful for this net because it saved my life when I got caught in the rip tide.
On the Forster side of the bar is the breakwall that looks over Main Beach. It's a pleasant walk and on days when the ocean is rough, I can spend a lot of time watching the amazing force of the waves breaking against the rocks and the beach. For those that like to keep active, there is a small outdoor gym.
The Village in Forster is really quaint. I love the tree lined street and the cafes, boutiques, homewares and other shops. The Village has a real 'holiday' vibe to it and every time I go into town I have to remind myself I am actually not on holidays.
Adjacent to the main street is Wallis Lake and here you will witness an incredible view as well as discovering some amazing places to dine in.
I have witnessed some spectacular sunsets on Wallis Lake. If you are looking over Wallis Lake, to the left you can take a walk (or drive) up along the lake and find a number of small marinas with cafes and/or restaurants.
Being a fishing town as you would expect there are plenty of fish and chip shops. Seafood can be bought at the fishing co-op as well. There are some great little cafes in Forster as well as restaurants. During the peak season it gets hectic up here so be warned that you might need to book or queue up for take away.
If you love the beach like I do, then you will be spoilt travelling around the Forster Area. Below are photos of my favourite beaches and links to more information about each one on my other publication.
A fun swimming area along Bicentennial walk is "The Tanks" which is a formation of rocks and in low tide transforms into is a pool for snorkelling and swimming. Despite the waves crashing over the walls, a barrier is created by the rocks creating a shallow, calm swimming area. Access to the water is via a concrete path with railings. Kids love to frolic in the water here and parents can keep a watchful eye as they sit on the seats above overlooking the tanks.
I have an amazing collection of shells since moving up and the photo below is just a small part of my collection. Shelling is a great activity for the kids and with so many beaches to explore these little treasures can sometimes be found in the most unexpected places.
BICENTENNIAL WALK AND FREWINS WALK
Bicentennial Walk and Frewins Walk are one of my favourite walks in this area. The walk blends bushland and coastal together. Starting at Main Beach in Forster it starts walking up through bushland and up to a lookout. This lookout gives views of Nine Mile Beach and Forster as well as over the ocean. As you continue you will come to another lookout and here, I find the magpies very entertaining in the mornings with their beautiful songs. Steps then take you down to Pebbly Beach and I love hearing the waves crash over the large pebbles.
The first time I attempted to climb up to Cape Hawke I had to retreat because of the mosquitoes so the second time I came prepared with insect spray! It helped a bit but they still were viciously attacking me. I persevered though because I wanted to get a glimpse of this beautiful area from the Cape Hawke lookout. I was not disappointed. It's quite a steep climb through littoral rainforest with a few resting places on the way up.
You won't buy fresher rock oysters than here in Forster. These beauties below were from Graham Barclay Oysters and they were sweet and delicious. I only put lemon on mine as I didn't feel they needed anymore enhancing. When you visit Forster you can head down to the Oyster Farm and be amazed at the beautiful views of Wallis Lake.
Beer lovers must head over to the Coastal Brewing Co in Forster for a 4 glass tasting session presented on a mini surfboard. Check their website for tasting hours. I had the opportunity to meet the owners, David and Helen, and sample a few beers and even though I don't drink beer I think I am now converted! Especially in summer. The beers are all named after local beaches and have different volumes of alcohol. Book in a tasting session and order a cheese plate to enjoy as you taste these fabulous microbrewery beers. Tasting $10. The company also sell bottles that you can use to refill.
WHALES, DOLPHINS AND PELICANS
I've spotted dolphins at the Tuncurry breakwall many times, as well as when I've been walking up Nine Mile Beach, once the water was crystal clear on the beach and the dolphins were surfing the waves close to shore. It's not difficult to spot dolphins in this area. When it is the whale migrating season you can take yourself up to Cape Hawke or any other coastal lookout and with a pair of binoculars you will possibly be able to see these majestic creatures. Here is a link to one of my instagram videos of dolphins swimming near Tuncurry breakwall.
The Amaroo offers plenty of opportunities to take pics of dolphins, like one of mine below.
As you would expect there's a plethora of pelicans in this area along with a wide range of other beautiful birds.
THE TALLEST TREE IN NEW SOUTH WALES
South of Forster, on the Lakes Way, you can experience the spectacular sight of the tallest tree in New South Wales aka the Grandis. I took my little Suzuki down the road to discover this beautiful part of the Mid North Coast NSW but in reality a four wheel drive would be much better! It truly is a wonderful place to explore and be among such magnificent trees.
I don't think I have ever seen an area with so many caravan parks and short term rentals! Believe me when it is summer holidays and Easter, Forster Tuncurry turns into a very busy place. I know many locals in the surrounding areas that bypass Forster in these times and go to Taree to shop. A Stocklands shopping centre is located in Forster with many big retailers, supermarkets and Bunnings.
Accommodation is plentiful in Forster but book early for long weekends and the December/January period.
Forster is about 3.5 hours North of Sydney. A visit to Port Macquarie from Forster is around 1.5 hours.
Plenty of fishing goes on in this area just make sure you purchase a fishing licence or you may get caught and fined if you don't have one.
There is a cinema in Tuncurry.
Flights are via Pelican Air and at time of writing only two a day, fares range from $119 one way and Velocity Members will earn points. Flights are from Taree airport however a taxi to Forster will set you back around $160 or more. Hire cars are available at Taree airport.
Trampoline and Mini Golf open School holidays run by the Lions Club.
December and January is when the carnival comes to Tuncurry open each evening.
Tuncurry also hosts New Year's Eve fireworks with activities for the children. Great fish and chips just next door to the Fire Works park but be prepared to wait.