The town of South West Rocks is located in mid-northern New South Wales near the mouth of the Macleay River. This picturesque town is 40 kilometers north of Kempsey. You can find a wide range of things to do in South West Rocks, including a day at Jerseyville Beach, visiting the Trial Bay Gaol, and more.
Trial Bay Gaol
The heritage listed Trial Bay Gaol is a former internment camp and public works prison located in Cardwell Street, Arakoon, Kempsey Shire, New South Wales. The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service owns the historic building, which was added to the State Heritage Register on 14 May 2010.
Trial Bay Gaol is now a tourist attraction. It was once a hard labour camp for Germans during World War I. Germans were imprisoned there and put through a series of hard labour until they were exonerated in 1919. Visitors today can see and hear the stories of the prisoners. Taking the tour at twilight offers great views of colonial architecture and wildlife.
Once called the South West Rocks Jail, Trial Bay Gaol is a museum that explores the history of Australian penal institutions. This jail was the first to use prisoners. Despite the pristine conditions and the onsite doctor, not one of the prisoners ever died in the jail. Sadly, the prison closed in 1903, but reopened 12 years later to house “enemy aliens”.
Smoky Cape Lighthouse
Located on a headland east of South West Rocks, the heritage-listed Smoky Cape Lighthouse is one of the most iconic attractions in the region. Situated within the famous Hat Head National Park, the lighthouse has been a landmark of South West Rocks since 1872. There are several ways to enjoy the lighthouse. Visit the smokey cape lighthouse and learn about the history of this iconic Australian landmark.
To get a closer look at this iconic structure, you can take a guided tour of the smokey cape lighthouse. Located on a cliff-top, this historic landmark is the perfect place to enjoy great views of the surrounding area and the mighty Pacific Ocean. The lighthouse is a popular destination for whale watching, picnicking, and birdwatching. The Smoky Cape Lighthouse Quarters is a bed and breakfast that you can stay in, and the cliff-top walkway to North Smoky Beach is an easy walk.
The views are spectacular from the top of the Smoky Cape Lighthouse. The lighthouse is located ten minutes’ walk away from town. You can enjoy the spectacular views from up top while spotting dolphins or whales throughout the year. Pack a picnic lunch and take in the panoramic views of the area. You can also join a tour of the lighthouse – just make sure to book ahead of time.
Horseshoe Bay Beach
The most popular beach in the town is the 150m long Horseshoe Bay, which is patrolled by lifeguards during the summer holidays. The SLSA also provides information on surf conditions and reminds swimmers to stay between yellow and red flagged beaches. While the translations are generally accurate, SLSA cannot guarantee their accuracy. To avoid the sand from the holiday park, head to the main beach instead. It is also patrolled on weekends and during the holiday season.
The beach is sheltered and is close to some rewarding fishing spots. The quaint seaside town of South West Rocks offers cabins, camp sites, and campgrounds. Facilities include barbecues and picnic spots. The park also offers parking and amenities blocks. This beach is patrolled during the summer months. If you’re traveling with a dog, don’t forget to bring a leash for your dog.
Arakoon National Park
Arakoon National Park is a wonderful place to visit. It features beaches, rocky coves, and bush-covered headlands. The park is family-friendly and is well-known for its historic Trial Bay Gaol, which opened in 1886. The rocky foreshores are a perfect spot for swimming and whale-watching. You can even enjoy a picnic at the Trial Bay Goal or Front Beach. The park is especially beautiful during spring, when she-oaks are laden with fruit and black cockatoos are abundant.
Arakoon was once the site of settlement in South West Rocks. The area was later moved to its present location because it offered better land conditions. Today, the town consists of a small number of houses, a caravan park, and a cafe. The area is also home to Trial Bay Gaol, a former convict jail. With the numerous attractions and activities, South West Rocks is a great place to visit with family or friends.
Barakee National Park
If you love the great outdoors, you will definitely enjoy the town of South West Rocks, NSW. This quiet seaside town is about an hour south of Coffs Harbour, and offers an unspoiled beach and pristine bushland. Located about 35km south of Sydney, this area has a lot to offer visitors. Located on the Macleay River, this area is also surrounded by lush foreshores and beaches.
In addition to the picturesque natural surroundings, South West Rocks also has a vibrant history. The town is home to the historic Boatman’s Cottages, which now house local information. There’s also a shipwreck on the town’s main beach. The town is also home to a historic School of Arts Community Hall built in 1926. To the east of town, there is Arakoon State Recreation Park, which is one of the few spots on the eastern coastline of NSW facing due west. Trial Bay Beach is the most popular location for surfing.
In addition to the scenic natural settings, South West Rocks has a quaint town centre. The town was founded in 1896 as the mouth of the Macleay River was opened. In 1902, a Pilot’s Station was built and was the focus of the town’s growth. The town was named after a Pilot Officer who told ships anchoring in Trial Bay to avoid the rocks. It was only in the 1910s that the town’s name was finally decided.
Trent Munro Surf Academy
Hundreds of people flock to Macleay Beach every summer for surfing, swimming, and other beach activities. This is also the perfect place for a family vacation. The Trent Munro Surf Academy is located in this town and offers lessons to people of all levels of surfing. Trent will teach you how to surf and give you advice on how to catch waves that are right for you. Whether you are an advanced surfer or a beginner, you’ll be able to find waves that suit your ability and your level of experience.
Learn to surf with the world’s best surfer, Trent Munro. His lessons will help you become a better surfer and get your surfing licence. These lessons are offered all year long for beginners, intermediate, and advanced surfers. There are lessons for everyone from toddlers to adults. You can take lessons at any time of the day or night, and Trent’s courses will meet your needs.
Maritime Museum South West Rocks
Located near the town centre, the South West Rocks Maritime Museum is an educational stop for the entire family. Maritime history is well documented and the old gaol complex is a delightful addition. The Maritime Museum is free to visit and offers excellent views of the bay. It also includes a great picnic area and educational signs. Here, you can learn more about the region’s history and explore some of the island’s most beautiful and interesting sights.
The museum is home to snippets of early history. Early pioneers, the Gaol complex, and the new entrance to the Macleay River are detailed. The museum also features a fascinating history of floods and the changes they had on the Macleay River. It is well worth the visit! While you’re there, check out the South West Rocks Arts & Craft Association Inc.
Best Restaurants in South West Rocks
If you’re visiting the South West Rocks area, you’re likely to be looking for the best dining experiences available. With so many great choices, where can you begin? Read on to find out! This article provides you with an overview of the best dining experiences available in the area. Then, choose your next meal! Below are some of the best restaurants in South West Rocks:
Located just off the beach, the Riverside Tavern is an excellent option for a relaxed meal in the heart of the town. The pub boasts an alfresco tiled terrace and is within walking distance of Horseshoe Beach. Alternatively, the Malt & Honey Cafe is an interesting option, with shabby chic tables and recycled timber. The Trial Bay Kiosk & Licensed Restaurant is another great option if you’re visiting the area.
Interesting facts about South West Rocks
- The population of South West Rocks is about 5,500 people but the population is much higher during the holiday season. 36% of the population of the town is older than 65.
- South West Rocks has a high ocean temperature as the ocean current flows from the tropical north.
- The town has been known as a quiet retreat where TV personalities have owned holiday houses away from large amounts of holidaymakers.
- There was an internment camp for Germans at South West Rocks during World War 1.
- Fish Rock Cave (2km from SW Rocks) is rated as a top 10 dive site in Australia and has one of the largest ocean caverns in the Southern Hemisphere.
- Between 1863 and 1866 – 90 ships were wrecked on South West Rocks with the loss of 243 lives.
- In 1816 a boat that had been stolen by convicts was wrecked on South West Rocks as they attempted to sail to South East Asia. The convicts were never seen again.