Everybody has their own idea on what a great camping holiday is all about. Some like the solitude of the great outdoors while others would simply curl up and expire if they didn’t get a shopping fix at least a couple of times a week.
Some people love sandy beaches or quiet, meandering estuaries while many just love the offshore scene. If there are ankle-biters involved, there will need to be good facilities and access to myriad entertainments and attractions to keep everyone amused and happy, particularly if the weather turns nasty.
You would reckon it would be a pretty tall order to have all of the above in one place but just an easy 312km up the coast from Sydney is the Great Lakes region and the jewels in the crown are the picturesque twin towns of Forster-Tuncurry.
The place has it all. Great beaches, fabulous lakes and offshore fishing the envy of many other regions, rainforest and secluded walks, modern shopping centres, restaurants, clubs and entertainment for the kids.
Top this off with a walk along the waterfront during the evenings and watch the dolphins play only metres from your feet. This is not your glossy advertising bull – the dolphins do gather in the open shallows between the bridge and the breakwaters virtually every day.
No dolphin watch tours needed here although they are available – but wait a minute I’m getting ahead of myself because you will need somewhere to stay so we will be looking at one of the region’s premier caravan parks, Forster Beach Caravan Park.
Right on the headland overlooking the beach, breakwater and entrance to the Wallis Lakes system, only 100 metres from the business district of Forster. Within a five-minute walk from anywhere in the park you could be down at the beach catching some waves, in the town shopping, down at the breakwall fishing for jewies, bream, flathead or a dozen or more other species, or launching the boat in the quiet waters of the marina at the four-lane boat ramp.
This park has accommodation to suit every traveller, from a patch of grass to pitch a tent to luxury cabins with spas. There are 166 tourist sites, most of which have power. Every site is flat, even those on the hill have been terraced.
Spread about are 250 taps connected to town water, spotlessly clean barbecues and even a community fridge for those who travel light and need to keep a few essentials cold..
The amenities are spotless and the murals tiled into the floor of the main amenities block are something of a drawcard. There are 14 male showers and 14 female ones so even in peak times you shouldn’t spend time waiting. Outside are cold showers to rinse off the salt and the sand when you return from the beach. There are 12 male and 13 female toilets and children’s loos for the little ones. You don’t need a key to get into the loo or the shower – just push in your four-number code and hit the button. And there are several smaller amenities blocks spread about the park.
The laundry is well-equipped with coin-operated washing machines and dryers and irons are available. There is also a great kids’ playground.
Forster Beach Caravan park has 12 immaculate cottages with all the mod cons including stoves, microwaves, fridges and toasters, cutlery and crockery. TVs are in all cabins.
Two cabins on the hill, that have to be seen, to be believed, afford magnificent views of the waterways and town. They are more like air-conditioned luxury suites with large kitchens, lounge room with TV and video, dining area and two bedrooms, one with a queen bed and its own TV.
The bathroom is huge with a separate shower and an extra-large spa bath to bubble away the aches and pains after a hard day on the water. There is even a washing machine in a cupboard.
Outside there is ample parking for a car and a boat alongside a big verandah. and even an outside power point so you can plug in the charger for the boat’s electric motor.
The grounds of the park are spotless in every respect and there is coded keypad entry and exit. The resident caretakers are Chris and Christine Maconachie, who do a great job making sure your stay is as hassle-free and relaxing as possible.
One extra special bonus is the fact that Chris is a mad-keen angler with his finger on the fishing pulse so on arrival you can get the latest info on where they are biting. So get up to Forster because it has something for everyone. Call Chris and Chris Maconachie at Forster Beach Caravan Park on 02 6554 6269.
One last thing: Forster still holds the record for the largest bag weight for a single angler in any BREAM tournament. There are some monster bream and flathead in this water, so it is well and truly worth a look.
The Forster beach Caravan Park cabins have all the creature comforts and there are barbecues and plenty of parking.
From the top of the hill at the luxury cabins you can see there are plenty of camping and caravan spaces and you are close to everything.
No hilly camp spots in this park – just lots of great flat camp sites.
The view from the marina shows just how close you are to the water, with camp sites just across the road from the four-lane ramp in the foreground.
Park caretaker Chris Maconachie is a keen angler who can give you the latest on where they are biting.Reads: 1207