South West Rocks

Six and a half hours and a little of 500km awaited us as we set off on our trek down to South West Rocks. In May this year, Dad and I had been at Nambucca Heads. While there, we had driven to South West Rocks. We liked the place, plus it was somewhere that mum and dad had been. But, mum and dad hadn’t stayed there and neither had dad nor I.

So we set off at 7am. Almost 8 hours later we arrived, having navigated copious amounts of Monday morning traffic each side of Brisbane, a couple of accidents that we passed and driving through the mother of all hail storms.

Put it this way, the hard shoulder of the  A1 going south became a car park. Everyone knew it was safer to stop and wait it out. We made it to South West Rocks  and headed out to the local for dinner. You know when you see something on a menu and really fancy it…..well, we did. The chicken wings, that’s all we wanted and some garlic bread. The only thing they didn’t have, yes,  you guessed it. Chicken wings.


So off to Coles we went for a hot chicken, bread and potato salad. It was like an evening picnic sitting outside the cabin.  We had a drive around at sunset, just on the off chance that we might see enough colour for the cameras to be allowed out of the car, but alas not.

I`ll  jump in here and talk a little of our accommodation. We stayed in Ingenia Holiday Cabins at South West Rocks. The site was nice and accommodated caravans, campers, tents, motorhomes and cabins. It was a short walk from town and only 5km from local tourist attractions. Sitting on the banks of the Macleay River, it was beautifully placed. Now, I know that you’re sensing a but, and there is. 

But…As Father/Daughter travelling, we book two bedroom cabins everywhere we go. Sometimes we are lucky and we can get 2 double beds, more often than not, the second room is singles and/or bunks. I always give Dad the bigger bed and room, but bunks and singles are not ideal for a fifty year old woman. That may sound like I am being pedantic, but this girl is needing to be comfortable. The other issues I had with the cabins were my bedroom door not shutting properly. Not so much of an issue if children are in the room, (I know….I am a child!), but father and daughter like and need privacy. My final thing…it was quite a price for four nights. I compare the price paid for this small cabin and lay that against the price we paid for our 2 bedrooms in Q1 at Surfers…not much in it price wise and much more space in Q1.

The second day away was a lazy day. After the long drive the previous day, we needed to catch our breath. As you go over the border into NSW, daylight savings time kicks in. When you’re not used to that, it is the strangest feeling. Here in Queensland time remains the same. No clocks forward or back. Going to NSW, the clock jumped forward an hour. 

Trial Bay Gaol location

The third day of the trip was the best weather wise, so we took full advantage of it and headed out. We took in Trial Bay Gaol. $11 per adult to go in and walk amongst the ruins that are perched high on the clifftop near Arakoon. A small film show is available (8 minutes long) that shares the history of the gaol. 

Trial Bay Gaol Website

Following a visit to the gaol, it was time to go to the lighthouse. A short, but steep walk, gets you up to be level with the lighthouse where you are exposed to the views below.  The walk is about 0.6km, that’s how short I am talking about. It is well worth the walk to the top. 

Kangaroos were found outside the lighthouse, laying in the shade. This is free. There are also cottages there too, that can be hired. Cottages with amazing views I might add!

Smoky Point Lighthouse Website

View from Smoky Point Lighthouse
Details about the Light

During the trip we also took a couple of trips to South West Rocks Creek. We walked the bridge over the creek and headed down to the beach, mindful of the weather, as a lot of wind and rain seemed to find us during this trip. 

We also visited the creek at sunset. Dad had been looking for a perfect spot to get a few pics. As we pulled up to the creek, we spotted another photographer with her tripod. Always a clue that you are in the right place!

All in all, it was a relaxing few days. It was a long drive, just over an hour longer than a journey we had previously done. It was worth it though. Just to be away, somewhere different. 

To be able to see the lighthouse and especially the gaol, was a treat for me.  Wandering ruins brings back memories. When you are a child and taken to places on holidays, you don’t realise what you are looking at. You don’t always appreciate what you are seeing. But as you get older, you learn to understand the stories and history behind the facade. 


Thanks Dad. I thoroughly enjoyed this trip. Always a pleasure to spend this time together. 


Incase anyone is wondering….I did let him out of jail!