South West Rocks
A charming seaside town at the mouth of the beautiful Macleay River, South West Rocks is a perfect escape for a family beach holiday and thrilling diving adventures. You’ll enjoy bushwalking and uncrowded beaches in Arakoon National Park and Hat Head National Park.
On the mid North Coast of NSW, South West Rocks has a rich heritage. The historic ruins of Trial Bay Gaol are on the cliffs above the sea. Taking 13 years to build, it opened in 1886 and was an internment camp in the First World War for people of German descent living in Australia. Near the gaol is Little Bay Beach, a great spot for fishing.
For spectacular views visit the Smoky Cape Lighthouse, one of the oldest and tallest lighthouses in Australia. Smoky Cape is a great vantage point for whale watching between May and November. The Smoky Cape walking track begins at Captain Cook’s lookout and meanders through one of Australia’s largest remnant littoral rainforest, home to wallabies and swallow-tailed butterflies.
Two kilometres off shore is Fish Rock Cave, one of the best cave dives in the world that runs 125 metres through a small island. You’ll see an amazing variety of marine life, including endangered grey nurse sharks. Fish Rock Dive Centre and South West Rocks Dive Centre offer diving tours.
You’ll find plenty of accommodation options in South West Rocks, which is 30 minutes’ drive from Kempsey and 50 minutes from Crescent Head. Camping is popular in the Kempsey region, including both Trial Bay Gaol campground and Smoky Cape campground near South West Rocks.