There are so many things to do in South West Rocks, from exploring the beautiful Macleay Valley to taking a step back in time at the Trial Bay Goal. We’ve listed a bunch of popular activities and attractions below to suit the whole family.
Things to do in South West Rocks
Trial Bay Beach
Trial Bay is perfection for watching the water turn golden with the setting of the sun, it is a rarity on the East Coast of Australia but due to the shape of the bay it is a perfect destination to watch the sun setting. It is so incredibly beautiful so make sure you include an afternoon game of Beach Cricket, followed by a BBQ to maximise your enjoyment of this experience.
Only 2 mins drive or a beautiful 2km walk from Trial Bay Gaol. Little Bay is a secluded beach nestled between granite cliffs, just south of the headland near Trial Bay Gaol in Arakoon National Park. Hundreds of Kangaroos hang out here every day!
There’s the option for a leisurely lunch beneath the shade of the she-oaks at nearby Little Bay picnic area overlooking the ocean. If you’re after some exercise, try the nearby historic Monument Hill walking track.
Known as a water sports playground, no matter if you prefer to surf, fish, dive, SUP, canoe or try your hand at all of them, South West Rocks is the place for you. And with the ocean, river, and a saltwater lagoon just moments from your doorstep, your hardest choice will be which activity to tackle first.
South West Rocks is located in the traditional lands of the Ngaku clan belonging to the Dunghutti Nation. The area is rich in significance and culture to the custodians of the land as it was a camping ground for families. South West Rocks is particularly special as it is the central point of Ngaku; a place for family. Learn more.
The Macleay Valley
After you’ve spent some time exploring South West Rocks, why not head out to discover the best of the Macleay Valley? With its rich Aboriginal history, lush national parks, sleepy coastal towns, and endless hidden gems, there’s always more to explore. For a day trip, we recommend venturing to the surfing town of Crescent Head and stopping by the legendary Barnett’s Bakery for a bite to eat.
Trial Bay Gaol
While in town you can’t miss the opportunity to visit the historic Trial Bay Gaol. Built by hand over a 13-year period to house prisoners as they constructed the failed breakwater scheme, the gaol was finally completed in 1886. During WW1 it served as an internment camp for individuals of German descent, before it was abandoned at the end of the war.
Today this hauntingly beautiful historic site houses a museum and memorial as a testament to those who lived and died there.
Smokey Cape Lighthouse
Discover spectacular 360-degree views over South West Rocks and beyond at the Smokey Cape Lighthouse, only 10 minutes from the resort. The perfect place for whale watching throughout the season, and dolphin spotting all year-round, we recommend you pack a picnic to enjoy on the grassy area nearby the carpark before heading up to the lighthouse. Tours are available weekly but be sure to book as they fill up fast.
Monument Hill walking tracks
For a challenging walk, hit the Monument Hill trail and discover local history, abundant wildlife and breathtaking views. The monument is a replica of the original which was destroyed in WWII and marks the burial place of four unknown soldiers. The views from the top are truly spectacular and offer a great opportunity for spotting whales during the season. Make sure to pack a water bottle, binoculars and some good walking shoes for the up-hill climb. The best part? It’s only 2kms from the resort.