Right in the heart of the Great Lakes District in the mid north coast of NSW are the twin towns of Forster and Tuncurry. With so many natural attractions and tourist enterprises you will find plenty of fun activities to enjoy throughout your stay. Here are 10 ideas to get you started.
With pristine surf beaches, lakeside shores and gentle river banks all easily accessible there are plenty of places to go to get wet. Families will enjoy the easy access to the foreshore beaches of both towns. While those wanting more of a challenge can try the ocean beaches a little further afield.
See the LOCAL BEACHES page for more information.
Pitch the tent or tow the caravan into BOOTI BOOTI NATIONAL PARK just south of Forster. The Ruins picnic ground has BBQ’s, amenities and access to both lakeside and ocean beaches.
WALLINGAT NATIONAL PARK has 2 campgrounds one on either side of the Wallingat river. These can be reached by cars (but not caravans) most of the year. Both grounds are managed by the NSW Parks and Wildlife Service and fees do apply.
Take a 100m stroll to a lookout or create your own mountain bike circuit. The area abounds with forest trails, coastal walks and lookouts. You’ll be rewarded with lovely panoramic views from Cape Hawke Green Cathedral at BOOTI BOOTI NATIONAL PARK. The Whoota Whoota lookout at WALLINGAT NATIONAL PARK has stunning views of the 100 kms of coastline from Port Macquarie in the north to Port Stephens in the south.
The Lakes Way Road runs for 77 kms from Rainbow Flat, 9 km south of Taree on the Pacific Highway (M1), and it rejoins the Pacific Highway about 5 km east of Bulahdulah. It takes in lovely scenic views of the ocean and beaches, the Wallambah River, Wallis Lake, national parks, state forests and the delightful Myall Lakes. It passes through the townships of Tuncurry, Forster and Pacific Palms.
Wallingat Forest Drive is a 25km circuit in the WALLINGAT NATIONAL PARK. You will see the towering flooded gums and also the cabbage tree palms which the indigenous Worimi people used to make baskets and fishing lines. There are several picnic and camping grounds along this drive. You can start your circuit from either Sugar Creek Road or Thomas Road.
You will find many other smaller roads to explore off these routes. Some may not be suitable for caravans or even 2WD vehicles so it is best to plan your trip beforehand.
“Water, water everywhere…” and all of it is there ready for you to enjoy; from gentle waves for your toddler to jump to the soaring peaks and troughs of the surf beaches. Then there are the peaceful ripples on the lakes and the still backwaters. You’ll find great spots all around to swim, go kayaking or rowing a dinghy. If you fancy a bit of fishing you can charter a boat and go deep-sea fishing or simply cast a line off the rocks or on the lake.
Rug up and venture out onto the ocean beaches and look-outs in winter. You could be rewarded with sights of whales as they migrate towards the waters south of Australia. You’ll need keen eye-sight or binoculars as they generally don’t come close to shore. They also don’t run to schedule so some days you might see many and other days none at all.
Tourism is a big industry in the region with many operators competing to take you out on the water. Deep sea fishing, whale and dolphin sighting cruises, lake and island tours and oyster farm tours are some of the activities available.
Away from the water there is still plenty to do. There are golf and tennis clubs in Forster-Tuncurry. Just be sure to pay attention to your game as it may be easy to be distracted by the views.
Take a picnic and watch country horse racing at the Tuncurry Racetrack or if you prefer being on the back of a horse to betting on one, local tour operators offer rides of varying lengths along the beach and into the national parks.
The bowls club in Forster offers both lawn and ten pin varieties and visitors are always welcome.
The region is rich with history and culture so it makes sense that there are a number of organizations dedicated to preserving local heritage and celebrating the environment. Spend many hours watching local artisans at work, wandering through museum displays or marveling at the intricacy and vibrancy of aboriginal paintings.
With so much water around it is no wonder that seafood is one of the main features of the many local eateries. Wallis Lake Oysters are a particular specialty.
Venture up into the hills and try the lovely wines at the cellar doors and look out for local farmers markets where you can buy fresh produce such as cheeses and grain fed beef.
Of course, there is nothing like kicking back at the end of the day and treating the family to a great bistro meal at one of the many pubs and hotels.