A family hike in Forster (New South Wales)
In January my parents had their thirty-year wedding anniversary, and on the first weekend of February we took a short trip up north to the small town of Forster to get away for a bit. It was a pretty relaxing weekend and the main highlight was checking out the sights while going on a hike!
Nick and I drove up on the Friday evening and met my parents, and Brandon and his girlfriend, at the place we were staying in. It took us a really long time to get out of the city because of the peak hour traffic, even though we left at around 4:00pm. 😬 Normally, if not going with so much traffic, it would have taken us three hours but it took us about an hour longer than that. We arrived pretty close to 9:00pm and because we were visiting such a remote town, pretty much everything was closed. I’d eaten a handful of chicken McNuggets from McDonald’s on the way (protein!), but I was very hungry. We all were. 😆 We ended up going to the local RSL, and even though the bistro was closed, there was a bar serving some substantial meals.
In the morning my mum made us scrambled eggs. My parents had brought an entire esky of food supplies. 😄 It was nice weather (quite hot actually), and although it would have been nice to go to the beach, we didn’t end up going for a swim that weekend at all. It had rained very, very heavily on the way to Forster on Friday night, so the pool at the holiday home we were staying in was pretty gross. I didn’t actually take a look at it, but my parents said it looked pretty yuck. Other people staying at the other holiday homes didn’t seem to mind, though!
So we went on a 10-kilometre hike that day after we ate breakfast! I should admit that this wasn’t super well planned. My parents didn’t have a lot of things in mind for the trip, just wanted to spend time with us, so what we ended up doing was pretty random.
I wanted to walk along the beach and also go through some national park area, so made that part of the proposed hike. Originally we were going to go for 15 kilometres and when I proposed this to my parents I warned them… 😂 I knew they may not be up for the challenge and was happy to choose a shorter hike. But they seemed keen even though I asked, “are you sure?” several times. I knew my dad would just troop right on through – he enjoys walking. My mum isn’t very physically active, but I know she doesn’t say no to exercise that involves some kind of walking.
So we went on our way, seeing a lot of really nice views on the way. We set out with a lot of energy. We walked down a path along the beach though we didn’t get too close to the water. Damn, it would have been nice to go for a swim!
We came across a couple of lookouts, then reached an area of trees where a wooden path was built through. We had to walk around a golf course (almost walked through it, haha), dodging a bit of sand, and through some back streets and up some hot roads that went over hills.
Then we got to the national park where the terrain was far more arid than I had envisaged it to be. It was very hot. At this point my mum was starting to give up, but we knew the only way was forward.
Going forward was also getting difficult, because the incline became very steep through the path in the national park. It was very forest-like and full of trees. I really should have checked the incline beforehand because it went up steeply a couple of times. It’s been years since I’ve been on a proper hike; one can imagine I was not duly prepared and I will certainly keep that in mind for next time I want to go on a hike. 😆 We all slowed down since we began to get tired, my parents slowing down the most. I was enjoying the trees very much so, though, even though I was getting bitten by mosquitoes.
I had really wanted to go all the way down to McBrides Beach, a desolate beach that I believed was at the end of the trail, or even to the lookout. Nick and I reached the end of the part of the trail that came out of the bush, and I plodded along while Nick waited for everyone else. I went down the dirt trail, realising there was only one kilometre to walk and believing that the beach was worth it.
We never got to see the beach. 😢 I walked perhaps a few hundred metres in and around giant holes in the ground, almost slipping, dodging puddles, and generally going on a very steep but not very smooth decline. I decided to stop and turn around and head back. It would be too much for everyone, and my Lululemon leggings and my Nike shoes were not prepared.
All I remembered reading about McBrides Beach was that not much was known about it and it wasn’t a common area for people to hang out. I started walking back carefully. Some areas were really muddy or full of water, and on my way back, there was a group with a four-wheel-drive trying to get their back wheel out of one of the giant potholes I’d dodged earlier.
After I returned to my family I told them about the terrain. We were all exhausted. I suggested we go up the hill in the opposite direction to the lookout that was at the end. It was just a road. But it was very uphill… It was about a kilometre as well, but my parents were far from keen. They suggested I go along. But I didn’t want to leave everyone, and running a kilometre uphill did seem just as bad as the rocky uneven terrain going downhill, so I called it.
We ended up walking back in the direction of our hotel, but having walked ten kilometres and not really keen on going another five in such heat, we ended up calling a maxi taxi to get us. 😅 I think, though, we should not see this as a story of giving up, but one in which we all persisted. 💪 I am very proud of my parents for being troopers and making it through to what we eventually decided was the end.
The following day we checked out of our accomodation and scouted out a rockpool nearby. I don’t think anyone really felt like going for a swim though – it would be a bit of a hassle getting showered and going back home.
We tried to visit a national park but ended up in the middle of nowhere! It was not a family friendly park and you (again) needed a high-clearance vehicle to get through it. 😞 I had read that there were picnic areas but the park itself was well off the main road and didn’t have lush green areas I was hoping for. We didn’t really plan that one through either…!
After we drove out of Forster we drove to Port Stephens, not too far away, and had lunch.
Overall, the highlight of the weekend was the hike. It’s made me think more about hiking and nature trails, and how much I enjoy it but how little I make it a part of something I do in my spare time. I’m keen for whenever the next one is. But until then, I shouldn’t be that spontaneous with them… more planning required, haha.