Forresters Beach is a real locals’ place.
Located between the tourist hubs of Terrigal and The Entrance, it’s a little off the beaten track, but that’s part of its rustic charm.
And because us Aussies can’t help but shorten any name that’s a bit of a mouthful, this homely coastal suburb is more commonly known as ‘Forries’.
Winding through the leafy streets of Forries, it’s all about beach shacks. This is a suburb that surfers call home.
A lucky few wake every morning to uninterrupted sea views. The rest walk or drive to the beach for their salt fix.
The rugged coastline of Forries Beach is perfect for a languid stroll, catching a few waves or some rockpool exploration.
With the coastal lifestyle so engrained in Forries folk, it’s not surprising that a coastal homewares shop is the first thing you see when you turn off the Entrance Road at Forresters Beach.
An intriguing and eclectic store, Drift Home and Living was one of the first homewares hubs on the Coast.
From exotic carvings to beachy chandeliers and antique cabinets, you never know what you’ll find in the beautifully styled space but chances are it will be coastal chic.
Born out of a love for driftwood, which can so often be found on Forries and surrounding beaches, it’s one of the few stockists of Pearl Beach artist Peter Baka’s recycled works. You might recognise his whales and fish scaled with shells and made from skeletons of driftwood.
Across the road is a real locals’ joint – Forries Takeaway.
With a couple of arcade games in the corner, a menu of bacon and egg rolls and burgers, eau de hot chip filling the air and a freezer full of ice creams, it’s the smells and tastes of summer holidays.
The shops are quintessential local shops of yesteryear, untouched by the big supermarket chains. There’s a bakery, hairdresser, bottle-o, florist, physio and chemist. Everything you need and nothing you don’t.
For a hearty feed and a good cuppa, there is local eatery Di Matteos.
Linguine and Italian tapas are served under a cluster of trendy bulbs from Thursday to Saturday night, while weekend brunchers and lunchers cosy into the leather sofas for their caffeine fix, sweetened with a slice of housemade banana bread or a gluten-free brownie.
As Italian as the name suggests, the cafe also offers a small range of artisan goods including everything you could possibly need to make your own feast at home from Calabrian pasta to cannoli.
The newest kid on the block is Gracelands – a stylish, industrial events space hidden behind a whitewashed facade.
It’s run by sisters Alice and Anabel along with Alice’s husband, Israel. With all three growing up in Forries, they are passionate about seeing the area thrive with quality places to eat, drink and celebrate.
When we’re in the hood, the venue is about to host a baptism bash but it has also become the go-to place for rustic weddings and chic birthday parties.
Their monthly ‘open house’ pop up restaurant is also becoming legendary among locals.
To really immerse in the peace and beauty of this coastal suburb, head off-road on the Coast Walking Track.
The pleasant three kilometre clifftop jaunt through Wyrrabalong National Park links Forries with Crackneck lookout at Bateau Bay beach, offering splendid sea views and at the right time of year, the chance to spot a whale or two or see wildflowers in full bloom.