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Jack River takes us home to the NSW coast

4 October 2016 | 1:28 pm | Emma Jones

Ahead of the release of her anticipated debut EP, "Highway Songs 2", we asked Jack River to take us through her hometown of Forster, NSW.

I OH YOU's most recent signee JACK RIVER has been making waves over the past few months with her beautiful, nostalgia-tinged dream pop (with a whole lot of other genres mixed in). Turning heads at BIGSOUND recently playing an after-party, she was equally talked about as much as those actually playing the conference, and for very good reason.

Having had her handful of singles openly and warmly received all over the country, JACK RIVER is about to take the next step up by releasing her anticipated debut EP, Highway Songs 2, this week. Ahead of that, however, we wanted to get to know her a little better so we got her to give us a guide of her hometown.

Growing up in the coastal town of Forster, NSW, might have had a bit of influence for JACK RIVER's music, given it's airy feel and organic approach. Take a look below and get on her EP, Highway Songs 2, out Friday 7th October!

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Forster is 3.5 hours north of Sydney on the Mid North Coast of NSW. Famous for its pristine lakes, sick surf and the freshest Oysters in the world, it was a pretty amazing place to grow up. Here are 5 of my fave places!


The Lakes Way - #alwaystakethescenicroute

To get to Forster, you can either drive along the ready made new school highway, or you can take the scenic route and drive along the Lakes Way through forests and past the ocean and the lake, and past the turn off to Seal Rocks (drive in there if you have time - you won’t be disappointed). The road is windy so take it slow, and the radio signal cuts out so arm yourself with an album or two.


All Things Yum

All Things Yum is a tiny little (literal) hole in the wall full of handmade, home-cooked food! Run by three local Italian Sisters (their Dad started the BEST Italian in town - Bella Bellisimo) this place is a must-not-miss culinary occasion. Their coffee is to die for, their food is always some kind of incredible (and so creative) and they are just plain lovely. There is no sign out the front so you just have to know about it - but you’ll know where it is cause there is always a line of some sort out the front.


The Top of the Sand Dune (North Onemile Beach)

After you have grabbed some of the best coffee in the known universe, take it up to North One Mile Sand Dune. Pictured here is me and my bro and our dog and neighbour Alex. You can drive there via Bennetts Head Lookout, or park at the lookout and walk down through the coastal walk (10 minute stroll). Here you can look out over one of the most beautiful beaches on the coast, and look over to Cape Hawke (those two mountains you see in the background). This hill is my brother’s and my personal backyard slide, a steep hundred metre decline plus some slippery plastic and you’ve got yourself something that the folks at Wet’n’Wild could only dream of. Locals tip: cardboard sucks - it just doesn’t work - if you wanna get real cray bring an old skate deck. The sand hill is also perfect for a sneaky little beach fire, or star gazing. There’s often whales (in season) and almost always a pack of dolphins patrolling the mile. And see that tiny rock just off the edge of the mountain? Keep that in mind for Place #4.


Latitude Rock & The Pinnacle

That little rock above is actually a fairly big rock, and underneath lies a whole other part of Forster that few people get to experience. Reubs and I got our Open Diver’s tickets a couple of years ago, and whenever we can, we jump on a boat with our Dive Master - Nick (Forster Dive Centre) and go visit all the other locals under the sea! Pictured here is a Grey Nurse Shark - these guys have breeding areas spotted around the coast line. They’re totally harmless and cruise around at a super slow pace. There are beautiful big sting rays and carpet sharks and the odd sea turtle, loads of sea weed (massive gardens of it) and huge schools of fish constantly swim by. Though my favourite fish to visit out there is the Blue Groper - they are so big and beautiful and curious. They kind of look at you like - ‘What are you doing here? This is my hood bro, are you lost?’ and you’re like ‘But I live here too! Just a few km’s away actually!’ - and you have this weird underwater friendship moment of - ‘Hey yeah, we both live in the area, and its just as much your home as it is mine!’ Anyway, that could just be me, but REGARDLESS - make sure you get submerged and go visit what is underneath all this sparkly blue water. If you don’t wanna dive, grab a snorkel set and head to the lake!



Speaking of Wet and Wild, if you’re in Forster over the holidays and you’re wanting to get crazy but you’ve had enough of the beach and quaint cafes, drive 15 mins out of town and have your mind blown at the local THEME PARK. Yep. Forster has a theme park. See above visual for vibe. 80’s maths teacher meets fluoro board shorts meets Napoleon Dynamite’s spring break. Go get em, kid.

Highway Songs 2 is out Friday 7th October via I OH YOU.