Just half an hour’s drive from Kempsey, on the eastern coast of Australia and near to the mouth of the Macleay River, one of the loveliest spots to enjoy a holiday is South West Rocks. Here there are several camping grounds to suit caravans, campers with tents, or for those who want more comfort, cabins. You can take your pick, with some caravan parks right on the beach and others a little further back.
If you seek adventurous activity, you might like to dive down into Fish Rock Cave to view the amazing variety of marine life, including grey nurse sharks. This cave is located about 2 km offshore and is actually a long tunnel under a small island. It is considered to be the best cave dive in Australia. If you don’t like diving, you can still admire marine life in this area because whales and their calves are often seen travelling quite near to the coast as they migrate up and down the coast.
Go to Gaol
Included in the many key tourist landmarks is the Trial Bay Gaol which was built way back in the 1880’s, high on the top of a cliff. It is only 3 km from South West Rocks in the Arakoon State Conservation Area along with a museum, picnic spots and walking trails. Around the gaol are other facilities such as parking areas, a kiosk, shelters, and great spots for fishing, swimming or surfing.
Only half a day’s walk away from Trial Bay Gaol is the Smokey Cape Lighthouse in Hat Head National park – and you can drive to it if you don’t want to walk. There are many other, shorter walking trails in the area, so if you feel like stretching your legs after driving, this is the ideal way to do it. Hitch your Goldstream RV up to one of the powered sites in the area to stay for a bit longer.
The water at South West Rocks stays warm almost all year round because currents emanate from the tropics, making it an ideal place for those who love swimming or surfing. The town itself is quite small with a population of about 5000, but this increases during holidays as the tourists flock in to enjoy the amazing beaches and all the other facilities. Horseshoe Bay is a family favourite for swimming while Trial Bay, or ‘Main Beach’ is for more adventurous swimmers.
South West Rocks is also known for its great fishing – along the river, off the beach and rocks, or out to sea. It is a commercial fishing spot, with large fishing boats moored in the river at two different locations.