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Pack lots of sunscreen when you head for Forster. This beachy holiday town is a great place to laze and sunbake on the stunning shores of an all-round gorgeous location. Just under four hours from Sydney in the Mid North Coast region of New South Wales, Forster is the perfect getaway and a laidback antidote to the stress and smoke of the city. Take a road trip to where the waters are clear and the sands buttery smooth and inviting at any time of year.
Looking for a holiday with more action? When it comes to play time, Forster offers a ‘choose your own adventure’ experience. As the main centre of the bodaciously beautiful Barrington Coast – stretching from Forster, south to Pacific Palms – you’ll be spoiled with a bunch of water-based escapades to explore at your leisure. For active folk, the vivid blue ocean and lakes surrounding Forster are an aquatic delight where swimming, surfing and fishing reign supreme; while boating, sailboarding and paddling are also popular pastimes. Go deeper with snorkelling; swim with wild dolphins; dive with grey nurse sharks; or maybe winter whale-watching cruises are more your thing.
If you’re hoping to unwind in peace and seclusion, your hire car can help you discover swathes of uncrowded coastline down the peninsula to Booti Booti National Park. Roll out your towel without another soul in sight! ‘Butibuti’ is a local word meaning ‘plenty of honey’ in the traditional Worimi language. True to name, you can explore a sweet abundance of lush rainforests and hectares of headlands with spectacular vistas over the rolling Pacific. Take some time out for hiking, mountain biking or a picnic under the paperbarks.
For a livelier time downtown, head to Forster’s Main Beach that lies between the break wall and The Bull Ring, a cute name for the local ocean baths. Enjoy a gentle swim away from the swells in calm, patrolled waters. Plus you’ll be just moments from eateries and shops.
Foodies and seafood lovers will have their expectations deliciously met in this coastal haven. Enjoy fresh oysters on the waterfront sourced around nearby Wallis Island. Wash it down with some amber gold from Foster’s own microbrewery, The Coastal Brewing Company. Their motto of LIFE – local, independent, fresh, every time – embodies the ethos of Forster and its vibrant, breezy spirit.
Forster is a twin town with neighbouring Tuncurry – another little beauty that has all the best natural features and conveniences of its bigger sibling, but in smaller doses. Linked by a long bridge over the Coolongolook River, together their populations total just under 20,000, but this figure swells considerably during the summer season.
Beyond Tuncurry’s shark-proof Rockpool lies the entrance to Wallis Lake: a scenic open estuary with islands, nature reserves, and oyster farmers busy in its waterways. Lakefronts of wharves and jetties make Tuncurry a delight to explore, with its sparkling waters speckled with pleasure craft and boat moorings. Another Tuncurry favourite is Nine Mile Beach, a hotspot for riding the breaks and body boarding.
Back in residential Forster, One Mile Beach (named for its distance from the post office) is perfect for families, with playgrounds and outdoor facilities for gatherings. It also hosts a huge sand dune at Bennett’s Head that hits a high point, while being great for sliding or sandboarding down. Another notable beachfront along the four-kilometre Bicentennial Walk is Pebbly Beach. This rocky inlet, part of Murramarang National Park, is famed for its surf-loving kangaroos and makes a wonderful place for bushwalking and camping.
A half-hour drive north of Forster and you’ll be at the Manning River Valley, a verdant wonderland near the town of Taree. Take in the breathtaking panoramas from mountains to sea, and enjoy an expanse of emerald-fringed ocean beaches. The Manning is one of several rivers arising from the Barrington Tops hinterland, with pristine waters running over rugged terrain before cutting through patches of rich farmlands, and tumbling out to the Barrington Coast. This unique double-delta river flows into the ocean at Harrington and Old Bar, and is a treat for anglers and nature lovers alike.
Your visit won’t be complete without the majestic 200-metre Ellenborough Falls on your agenda. Boasting one of the longest single drops in the southern hemisphere, you’ll be blown away by the sight of this fantastic vista. Spend your next holiday at Forster and the Barrington Coast and discover all this and more.