At approximately 31°15’47 S and 152°57’31 E is a small country house known as “ForRest”, just about 460 Km north of Sydney. The house sits at the top north west corner of the property which comprises around 22 Ha of unique North Coast New South Wales environment.
ForRest is made up of two separate pieces of land that are cut by the road that runs from Crescent Head, around 15 Kms North, along the coast. The property includes Littoral Rain Forest which forms on exposed headlands, Littoral Rainforests take the form of dense, species-poor and wind-sheared sometimes only a few metres tall. In For Rest the tree canopy is more diverse, sometimes includes palms, and may exceed 20 m in height dominated by Brush Box (Lophostemon confertus). There is also a large section of Coastal Wetlands that varies from open grass lands to think stands of broad-leaved paperbark (Melaleuca quinquenervia) and swamp oak (Casuarina glauca).
The traditional lands of the Muruwari and Gumbaingirr people are on the mid-North Coast of New South Wales. And we recognise them as the traditional owners of For Rest. The area would have been quiet different when the traditional owners first passed through.
Bev and John Debrincat acquired the property around 1980 which was then heavily weed infested mostly with Lantana and Bitu. The whole area was extensively logged from around the 1820’s and logging still continues today west of Kempsey. But as a result not many large and old trees exist throughout the area.
Later cattle were introduced and were allowed to graze all along the coastal area and had created significant damage when Bev and John first arrived. Then in the 1970’s the rutile miners came along and mined up and down the coast to provide rutile sand for the production of titanium dioxide. The miners created numerous ponds which can still be found there today but the greater damage was the introduction of the Bitu Bush (chrysanthemoides monilifera) for sand dune stabilisation this has now become a noxious weed infesting much of the sand dunes in the area.
Over the last 30 years State Environmental Planning Policies have been applied to the areas covering For Rest. These include SEPP 26 protecting the Littoral Rain Forest and SEPP 14 protecting the Coastal Wetlands.
As the name suggests ForRest, since it was first acquired by us in 1980, was used as a family holiday camping location. It was and still is one of the best places that we have found to rest and relax. There was no phone, power or water and we took the water from the pond on the property and camped in many different sites.
In 1992 the existing house was built on the property but not without some issues. We undertook a plan to remove weeds from the property and return it to as near to pristine as possible. The first and a major step was to fence the whole property to keep out the cattle that grazed freely but did a lot of damage leaving deep hoof prints is the delicate wetlands. The Littoral rain forest was also fenced so that access could be managed and controlled.
A complete Environmental Impact Statement was developed and a plan to regenerate the Littoral Rain Forest and remove nocuous weeds from the entire property. "ForRest" is significant as a refuge for birds and animals with 113 species of birds and animals having been recorded to date. This property will provide a local wild life refuge as the surrounding area is developed.
Dingo Creek Rainforest Nursery was contracted to carry out bush regeneration and collect seeds and grow plants for restoration.
There were many interested parties involved including Department of Environment and Conservation, Kempsey Shire Council, Dingo Creek Rainforest Nursery and Bev and John through the IEWF. Peter Gollan of Dingo Creek Rainforest Nursery made all the daily decisions on the project.
In 2005 a voluntary Conservation Agreement was signed with the National Parks and Wildlife Service with an aim to maintain the vast majority (over 90%) of the property in its natural state and undeveloped.
Most of the core work of regeneration has been funded by the owners of the property over the last 20 years. With a budget being allocated annually to the work. More recently, in 2006, the Conservation Partnership Unit of the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service provided funding to assist in the fencing and restoration of the sand dunes. With the agreement of Kempsey Council an area exceeding that owned by ForRest was fenced. In November 2006 IEWF won a grant from the Australian Government EnviroFund to extend the stabilisation and regeneration of the sand dune area (5 hectares) through to May 2008. The work undertaken with this funding allowed further strategic removal of bitou bush and planting to prevent wind corridors and erosion. All plantings were of plants grown from seed collected from the site and grown by Dingo Creek Rainforest Nursery.
Because of the work done over the last 30 years ForRest is a bird and nature lovers paradise. But combine that with some of the best surfing beaches in Australia and you have a location that suits many dfferent types of people.
The property was offered as a holiday rental starting in October 2017. In part this was done to help raise more funds for further conservation, regeneration and stabilisation work. The next major planned work is the construction of a board work over the delicate wetlands area to reduce impact from activity. A complete EIS and initial plan was completed by Regen, however a number of issues have arisen that need to be handled carefully. Most important is the discovery of acid sulphate soils. These soils include those that are producing acid (actual acid sulfate soils) and those that could become acid producing (potential acid sulfate soils). Potential acid sulfate soils are naturally occurring soils containing iron sulfides (pyrite). They become actual acid sulfate soils when they are dried, usually because of human activity, and the pyrite is exposed to air. In air, pyrite is oxidised, resulting in production of sulfuric acid. As a direct result of inappropriate drainage and excavation for urban development and agriculture along the coast of NSW, enough actual acid sulfate soil has been created to generate 50,000 tonnes of sulfuric acid every year. This causes up to $23 million dollars worth of damage to the state's fishing industry each year.
There is a lot of history and effort that has gone into the restoration and protection of For Rest. If you just stand in the rainforest or at night watch the Bent Winged Bats pass by or are lucky to see the Regent Bower bird then you know that it is all worth the time and effort.
The house was built by a local builder, Gary Williams and sons, who are still close family friends. The style and design of the house was typical Gary Williams and was built to last a very long time. You will find many interesting snippets of the house construction highlights in Gary's country verse around the living area.
Make a booking through the Crescent Head Real Estate online booking service which you can find by clicking here.
You may have linen included in your booking but if not then please take your own sheets (main bedroom has Queen, 2nd bedroom has 2 single beds which can also be used as a queen), towels and t-towels. Also you will need 3G/4G card for internet but be aware the reception is not great.
Drive on the Pacific Highway and take Kempsey turn off. Drive until you are entering Kempsey. Turn right just after the overpass onto the road to Crescent Head. At Crescent Head turn right (just past the motel on the right) into Baker Drive, which very quickly becomes Point Plomer Road and an unsealed road for about 6 of the 11 km. Follow this road for 11km. Before you get to our gate you will pass, on your right, "Delicate Nobby Camping Grounds" and "Big Hill Cabins." The first gate after "Big Hill Cabins" is ours (it's also on the right) and may be sign posted as Paperbark Lane (or not). Drive to the top of the hill and turn into the first drive way on the left. There is a sign on the house saying “FOR REST”.
You can also locate the house using Google Maps - https://goo.gl/maps/gzZgRhJR2kB2
Note, our block runs from the gate, at the bottom, to our house, at the top of the hill, all to the left (south) of the private road. We also have a bit of land on the beach side of the public road, directly opposite the gate.
In total the drive from Sydney to our house is around 450 km and takes a comfortable 5 hours to drive. We usually take around 5½ hrs with a stop.
A great place to stop for lunch or dinner is the Salty Dog Seafood Café at Coolongolook which is about 2 – 3 hours from Sydney depending in driving conditions. It is not open on Tuesdays.
You will need to turn on the power switches, which are in the power box at the corner of the house near the driveway. The switch for the Bio-cycle (envirocycle) must stay on all the time.
The water supply is from the tank at the side of the house so please use the water sparingly, i.e. short showers, and essential flushes of the loo only and please don't leave taps dripping. The noise that you will hear when water is running is the water pump. The pump may make the odd noise when not in use but shouldn’t be too often or for long.
Keep the wire screen doors closed or you will get lots of bugs in the house, especially at night.
There are blankets and pillows in the wardrobes in the bedrooms.
We have lizards, antechinus and other beasties living in the roof. They can’t get into the house but can make lots of scratching noises in the early hours of the morning! Ants also live in the roof and drop lots of bits of grass – you will need to wipe down benches and vacuum when you arrive.
In summer you may have to cope with Cicadas on mass in the trees outside the house – very noisy when the sun is out!!
Remember that the local beaches are not patrolled.
The swimming in the area is great - you can get to the beach through the walkway opposite the cabins next door. We also recommend exploring the other beaches in the area. There are boogie boards and fishing rods, in the shed under the house, which you are welcome to use. The key for the shed hangs on the wall near the second bedroom door. Watch out for rips (white dirty water that can pull you out to sea)!
Down at Big Hill, which is the first headland to the south, there is a really interesting short walk around the headlands and through some rainforest. Also feel free to explore our block. To do this follow the pink ribbons (straight down from the house in southern direction). At the bottom of the hill you will find our bit of rainforest. Follow the ribbons further to explore the wetland (if not too wet). You can return on the same track or cut across to the private road on the opposite side of the pond from where the ribbons finish. This is the bush so do wear sturdy shoes and watch for snakes (if you walk heavily they generally get out of your way and you won't even see them) and take salt to sprinkle on the odd leech which may hitch a ride. It’s also advisable to apply insect repellent before walking in the bush; also Baygon sprayed on your boots may help to repel leaches. You may find the odd tick.
There are always lots of birds around the house. Please do not put out food or feed the birds or other native fauna. There is plenty of food around. However you should fill the two containers next to the ramp onto the verandah with water. The birds love to have access to water and you can spend a lot of time watching. There may be the occasional green tree snake drop in for a drink as well. Don’t be alarmed they are harmless and more afraid of you than you are of them.
Always wear shoes or sandles when walking around outside as you are in the bush.
You will find that you can access a few local television stations but the reception is not great. There is a DVD player and a sound board attached to the TV with Bluetooth so you can connect you own music. You can find a few DVDs and also the remote controls in the draws under the TV.
The First Aide Kit is in the top of the kitchen pantry cupboard.
The entire property is “protected” so please be careful of the plants and also don't cut down any trees. If you walk quietly you will often spot wild life - heaps of different birds, red-necked wallabies, lace monitor lizards…. Also the State Forests around Kempsey are fantastic!
The butcher shop and bread shop in Crescent are very good, the supermarket is OK and the fruit & vegetable shopping is minimal. The Tavern has the best food in town and in huge quantities but is a typical country pub so service might vary.
Bait & fishing information is available from the service station.
If you have any problems please call Crescent Head Real Estate on 02 6566 0500
Most importantly - while you are there - relax and enjoy!!
When you leave please:
If you arranged cleaning with your booking and also linen then these will be taken care of after you leave other wise a few things to check.