Attractions in the Area - (this information is taken from SMH 'Guide to Forster Tuncurry.)
One of the town's few claims to fame is a remarkably elaborate and original toilet near the Caravan Park. It looks more like a church or a public hall. It even boasts a weather cock on the roof. On the outskirts of Forster (on the road to Seal Rocks) is the Curtis Collection of Vintage Cars.
The Great Lakes Visitors' Centre is open seven days a week and is located in Little Street, Forster, adjacent the lake, tel: (02) 6554 8799 or, toll-free, (1800) 802 692 It conducts bookings and can provide tourist maps, tide charts and fishing guides, and information regarding local attractions, eco tours, walking tours, 4WD tours, boat-hire services, accommodation, arts-and-crafts shops, antique shops, coming events, activities, houseboats, diving packages, horseriding possibilities, ferry services to the islands of Wallis Lake, National Parks forests and walking trails, as well as cruises relating to deep-sea fishing, dolphin-watching, birdwatching and scenic ventures.
The Forster-Tuncurry area has a number of beaches. The Bar is located at the southern end of Nine Mile Beach which extends northwards from Tuncurry to Hallidays Point. To get there, cross the bridge, take the first right into Wharf St, turn right again at the first main cross street (Beach St) then take the first right into Rockpool Rd. It is a good surfing area with a rock pool, grassed areas, a kiosk, showers, toilets, a childrens' playground, and a pleasant bathing and picnic area with barbecue facilities. You can walk out to the end of the breakwater where dolphins can sometimes be seen at play.
Forster Beach is at the end of Beach St adjacent the southern breakwater in Forster. Patrolled in season, it has showers, toilets, a kiosk, picnic facilities and ocean baths at its eastern edge. Adjacent the baths is Second Head and on the eastern side of this headland is Pebbly Beach which is another good surfing spot.
A little further east is The Tanks, an unusual rock formation where the waves spray water into a protected safe swimming area.
Further east again, at the end of Bennetts Head Rd, is, well, Bennetts Head which is named after the family who built a home at the foot of the headland in 1864. There is a lookout with views south over One Mile Beach, west over the hinterland and north to Manning Point. A paved walkway provides a scenic walk.
Bennetts Head is located at the north-eastern tip of Forster. The coastline then heads due south and immediately south of Bennetts Head is One Mile Beach which is a good surfing location with grassed picnic-barbecue areas, a surf club, a kiosk, showers and toilets. It is patrolled is season.
At the southern end of the beach is Burgess Point and on its southern side is Burgess Beach, a small and quiet beach accessed by a steep path which runs off Burgess St. It is a good spot for families with shelter on three sides and plenty of small rock cave formations.
Surfing can also be enjoyed at Bulls Paddock, which is part of Seven Mile Beach, south of Cape Hawke.
The Pebbly Beach Bicentennial Walk
The Pebbly Beach Bicentennial Walk commences off North St, near the ocean baths of Forster Beach. It leads eastwards over Second Head along the foreshore, between Bennetts Head Rd and the ocean, past The Tanks, through Bennetts Head Reserve and south past One Mile Beach to Burgess Beach.
Tobwabba Art, which one a NSW Tourism Award in 1999, is located at 10 Breckenridge St, tel: (02) 6554 5755. It features works (paintings, artifacts and decorative works) by artists descended from the area's original inhabitants. The group, when requested, give presentations about Tobwabba and travel to other centres to teach children.
Forster Art and Craft Centre
Forster Art and Craft Centre is located in Breese Parade which heads off The Lakes Way at the southern end of town, tel: (02) 6554 6900. It is open from 10.00 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. daily.
The Curtis Collection
The Curtis Collection consists of vintage cars (including the first Australian car), motorcycles, horse-drawn vehicles (including the original Cobb & Co stage coach), telephones, cameras, toys, police displays, bottles, musical instruments, artefacts from the two World Wars. All items are in working order and there is a guided tour if you book in advance. It is open daily from 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m., tel: (02) 6555 4800 The Collection is located in Angel Close which runs off The Lakes Way 3 km south of the bridge.
At the southern outskirts of Forster is a roundabout from which Cape Hawke Rd heads east for 3.5 km out to Cape Hawke, one of the most northerly points of Booti Booti National Park. There is a very steep 440-m path which winds its way to the summit of the hill. Thankfully there are several rest benches en route. As you ascend the headland the views are increasingly spectacular. At the apex (233 m above sea-level) is a cairn noting that Captain Cook sighted and named Cape Hawke on May 12, 1770. A raised viewing platform affords quite spectacular views north along the coast over Forster to Hallidays Point, north-west to the meeting of the Wang Wauk River and Wallis Lake, west to the Great Dividing Range and south along the spit.
Below the lookout is McBrides Beach which a lovely secluded spot. There is a rough 4WD-only road or, if you are fit, you can attempt the steep walk.
Santa Barbara and Green Point
4 km south of Cape Hawke Rd is a very rough dirt track to the left which takes you out to secluded Janies Corner, a good fishing spot at the northern tip of Seven Mile Beach.
1.2 km further south is Green Point Drive which will take you west out to Green Point where there is a small settlement on the edge of the lake. At the end of this road is a restaurant and gallery.
Another 2 km south along The Lakes Way is a signposted turnoff on the right which will take you to another picnic area beside the sailing club where there are catamarans and windsurfers for hire in season.
2 km further south, to the left, is Santa Barbara, a lovely picnic area with amenities.
1.2 km south is Tiona Park, technically the northernmost point ofPacific Palms. There you will find, on the western side of the road, a caravan park and the Green Cathedral, an al fresco temple, consecrated by the Saints Church. It has rough timber pews and a wooden lectern situated under a rainforest canopy on the shores of Wallis Lake and is much used for outdoor weddings . There is also a boatshed, tel: (02) 6554 0291.
700 m south is Booti Booti National Park's information centre, situated within The Ruins campground. Here you can pick up a leaflet outlining The Booti Hill Walk (3.2 km) which heads south from here, past Booti Hill (169 m), around the headlands above Lindemans Cove to Elizabeth Beach at Pacific Palms. The gradient is steep at times but the ocean views are rewarding. Adjacent Booti Hill and Lindemans Cove is a littoral rainforest. If you wish to return there is an easy-going path which runs beside Wallis Lake and The Lakes Way.
The Ruins campsite is situated at the southern end of Seven Mile Beach, with amenities and disabilities facilities. Tents are allowed but no caravans and it is essential that you book in advance.
If you cross the bridge over to Tuncurry and take the first left into Point Rd, it leads along the lake's edge, past the wharf, fishing boats, oyster leases and a variety of waterbirds.
The Tuncurry Bicentennial Flora Park
The Tuncurry Bicentennial Flora Park is located off Myers Drive in west Tuncurry. There is a walking trail and seating, a range of local flora and about 60 bird and animal species.
Ton O Fun is a family fun park with paddleboats, mini golf, a jumping castle, a mini train, dodgems on water, odyssey thrill machines, go karts, two large waterslides, quad bikes, volleyball, a merry-go-round, pedal cars, a bistro and kiosk and picnic-barbecue areas. It is open from 10.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. on weekends, public holidays and every day of the school holidays but closed throughout the winter, tel: (02) 6554 3090 Head north from Tuncurry along The Lakes Way for 11 km. To the right, opposite the turnoff to Failford, is Ton O Fun Rd.
Another 9 km north along The Lakes Way (which becomes Tuncurry Rd) at Rainbow Flat is the Big Buzz Fun Park . It features three waterslides, a toddler's slide, a toboggan run, mini grass trikes, super grass trikes, pony rides, mono boards, peddlecarts, skatebikes, pony rides, volleyball, trampolines, swings, a swimming pool, a kiosk, shaded picnic areas and free gas barbecues. It is open from 10.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. weekends, public holidays and every day in the school holidays, tel: (02) 6553 6000
Hallidays Point and Diamond Beach
If you follow The Lakes Way north of Tuncurry for 13 km there is a turnoff on the right which will take you the 7 km out to Hallidays Point and Blackhead Beach, a quiet sheltered coastal spot with a rock pool adjacent the surf lifesaving club and an attractive picnic area and walking track on the headland which is covered with littoral rainforest. The promontory offers views south to Cape Hawke. Hallidays Point has a motel, units, a caravan park and a bowling club. Just west is the turnoff to Diamond Beach, 3 km north where there are a couple of resorts. At Albana Beach Resort are The Lavender Gardens which also boast native and Japanese gardens, a plant nursery, handmade porcelain dolls, teddies, cottage craft, lunches and morning and afternoon teas. There is an admission fee and coach groups are welcome. They are open from 10.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. daily, tel: (02) 6559 2664
Pacific Palms and Wallis Lake
South of Pacific Palms is the small settlement of Blueys Beach (see Pacific Palms for a detailed account of this area). Unromantically named after a cow called Bluey which fell of the southern headland into the sea, Blueys is a popular destination for surfers. In recent times the houses above the beach, which have an uninterrupted view over the Pacific Ocean, have greatly increased in value and the area has become very fashionable and chic with wealthy Sydneysiders eager to get away from the more populated tourist destinations.
On the Pacific Highway 22 km from Forster/Tuncurry is the delightful small town of Nabiac. The internationally famous Australian poet Les A Murray was born here. Somehow Nabiac has managed to miss all the developments of the north coast. It wasn't until 1952 that it officially became a town on the Pacific Highway and not long after it was by passed. Consequently it stands as a memento of what towns on the Mid North Coast were like.
The charming old St Pauls Church of England, the Public School which dates back to 1884, the old timber shops, the wealth of timber houses (some have been beautifully preserved and restored, others are falling down) make this small village a worthwhile stopover and a sharp contrast to the modern development which has occurred to all the seaside towns. Modernity isn't too far away. A few kilometres north of Nabiac is the Shandy Kennel Pet Motel - a motel in miniature for pets to take a holiday from their owners.