Travel restrictions mean NSW is our oyster right now … so The Thirsty Travellers went to Wallis Lake to slurp a few.
Wallis Lake is around three and a half hours drive from Sydney and home to the twin towns of Forster and Tuncurry. Last year, close to 19 million Sydney Rock oysters were grown in the lake and enjoyed by shellfish lovers, who prize their rich sweetness and mineral intensity.
We’ve stopped for lunch in Forster a few times over the years, with Beach Bums Café on Main Beach being the perfect location to carb up and admire the view.
But we’d never considered Wallis Lake as a destination before … or supped its famed oysters in situ. So we decided to book a two-night stay at The Dorsal Boutique Hotel, which offers comfortable, well-priced accommodation with gun-barrel views of the beach.
We meandered up the coast to Forster via Hawks Nest, Mungo Brush and The Lakes Way on a sunny winter’s day with the bluest of skies and unseasonably balmy breezes.
The scenery was stunning and well worth the detour from the highway. On arrival in Forster we drove straight to Waterline Boathouse for a glass of chardonnay and oysters beside the river.
My sister had recommended the wine bar, noting that while it’s not flashy – a few comfortable wooden tables on the waterfront – it’s a great place to sit in the sunshine, eat oysters and watch dolphins frolic.
We didn’t score a dolphin sighting, but she was spot on: it’s a gorgeous way to kick off a relaxing weekend away.
We also followed her recommendation for dinner at Spice Monkey, where we feasted on Prawn and Coconut Dumpling with roasted red curry oil and Crispy Skin Snapper with caramelised pork belly, sticky ginger soy glaze, cashew nuts and bok choy.
We fell asleep each night in Forster to the blissful sound of waves crashing on the shore and, after watching the sunrise at nearby Pebbly Beach, we’d wander to Wing Man cafe, located just a few doors down from The Dorsal, for excellent strong flat whites.
Post-caffeine hit, we braved the surf for a quick dip – a little brisk in late August, but worth the goosebumps.
We followed another great suggestion from my sister and returned to the friendly Waterline Boathouse to hire a little boat and spend a few lazy hours exploring Wallis Lake and motoring past its many oyster farms. We highly recommend it – at $90 for two hours it’s a must-do.
Another sisterly tip we didn’t have time to enjoy: Hamilton’s at Tuncurry, which is right on the water and has live music on a Sundays from 3-6pm. In the cooler months it has an open fire with comfy sofas, which she said makes the perfect spot to sit back and sip bubbles.
But our balcony at The Dorsal was so gorgeous that we decided to do our House of Arras sipping and oyster slurping there on our last night.
All too soon it was time to pack our bags, grab a coffee and some brekkie nasi goreng from a cool little cafe called Plunge and hit the road.
We had such a wonderful few days in the region that we’re already planning another getaway to Forster when the surf is warmer. And we’ll definitely be ordering a few more rounds of oysters.