Ditching the daily grind

If a picture is worth a thousand words, Kat and Ben Forrest tell stories that speak volumes, every day of their working lives.

The pair have established an international reputation for their photographic skills, working across Australia, in the United States and the UK on assignment for private clients and major global companies.

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The professional photographers moved to Lake Macquarie from Sydney four years ago, replacing their home city’s daily grind with the idyllic lifestyle on offer in the southern suburb of Nords Wharf.

Despite their success on the world stage, there are certainly no plans to move anywhere else.

 “In this digital age, where people can develop careers where they work from anywhere, places like Lake Macquarie are becoming more attractive,” Ben says.

“It takes us 90 minutes to get into the Sydney CBD, half an hour to get to Newcastle or the Central Coast and an hour to get to the other side of the Hunter.

“It’s very central for a lot of different work opportunities and it’s just such a beautiful area as well – nice and quiet, plenty of National Parks to explore, and I love surfing and boating so there’s a lot of that on offer.”

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The lower cost of living also means there is more money to spend on overseas trips with their young son, Boston, in tow.

“If we were living in Sydney, I don’t think we’d be able to afford the mortgage repayments,” Kat says.

Not that it’s all about the bottom line.

Their decision to put down roots in Lake Mac was as much about the state of mind that came from a move away from the big smoke, Ben says.

“Whenever we have guests come and stay, the first thing we do is park them up on the balcony, crack open a beer and put out some snacks.

“You see them fade off – they just zone out and you see the cogs unwinding as they slowly relax.

“We’ve also got a really good group of neighbours around us. Everyone is always inviting each other around for barbecues and things like that.

“It’s the sort of place where people just migrate up and down the street – it’s a very open-door policy and very relaxed, and that’s a really big thing for us.”