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About South West Rocks

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South West Rocks: Beach and Bush

South West Rocks is a versatile holiday destination. Get involved in the many festivals and events held throughout the year or avoid the crowds and relax on white sandy beaches, with very few other souls in sight. The choice is yours. Lovers of watersports and the great outdoors also enjoy South West Rocks, with some Australia’s best diving spots only a few kilometres offshore. To suit the needs of South West Rocks’ varied travellers, a wide range of holiday homes and apartments can be found throughout town and by the ocean.

A Town of Four Beaches

If uncrowded beaches covered in white sand are your cup of tea, you’ve come on the right holiday. South West Rocks boasts four such beaches, where, in some places, people are few and far between. Horseshoe Bay Beach is favoured by families and surfers alike. Swim or surf with peace of mind, as this beach is patrolled. Another popular surfing spot is the less-visited South Smoky Beach. Main Beach’s calmer waters are favoured by bodyboarders and is patrolled in the busy season and over the weekend. If you’re looking to capture that perfect sunset photo, head to Trial Bay. This beach boasts calm waters, so children can swim safely.

Marine Escapades and Maritime Heritage

Participate in a variety of watersports to further discover South West Rocks. Divers can head to Fish Rock Cave, considered one of Australia’s best diving sites. The cave consists of a 125 metre tunnel naturally formed at the heart of a little island, 2 km from shore. Fish Rock Cave is home to a multitude of underwater species, including Grey Nurse sharks.

To find out about South West Rocks’ maritime heritage, make the trip to Smoky Cape Lighthouse. The lighthouse has been entirely restored, as has the original light keeper’s cottage. Visitors can participate in a guided tour to learn more about the region’s seaborne history as they soak up coastal views. To delve deeper into South West Rocks’ history, spend some time at Trial Bay Goal, which now consists of a museum and historical site, affording prime views over town.

Explore Hat Head National Park, Day or Night

South of town, Hat Head National Park hugs the coastline. Visitors can spend the day walking along the park’s trails, discovering quiet beaches and spotting native wildlife, including numerous bird species. As you make your way through the park, you will traverse many habitats, from rainforests to wetlands to bush and beach. Take in uninterrupted coast and ocean views from Captain Cook’s Lookout. As you look out at the water, keep your eyes peeled for whales during migration season. Once the sun sets, set up your tent in a clearing or on the beach and look up at the starry sky.

Shopping, Food and Festivals in South West Rocks

If you need to indulge in some retail therapy, South West Rocks harbours two main shopping districts. Walk along Prince of Wales Avenue and browse the numerous shops, which include big name retailers and smaller boutiques. The town is also home to a mall, Rocks Shopping Fair, where you can find a number specialty stores as well as a major supermarket. If all that shopping has made you hungry, book a table at one of South West Rocks’ restaurants or walk along the waterfront eateries for dinner with a view. Throughout the year, South West Rocks hosts a variety of festivals and events, such as surf competitions, triathlons, artisan markets and even the bavarian-inspired German Fest in late August.

How to Get to South West Rocks

South West Rocks is just over an hour’s drive from Port Macquarie. Fly direct from Sydney or Melbourne to Port Macquarie, then drive the rest of the way. If you don’t have a vehicle at your disposal, you can get to South West Rocks via public transport. Take a bus or train to the closest big town, Kempsey, and hop on a local bus to South West Rocks. Make sure to check the schedule in advance, as busses tend to pass infrequently and only on weekdays. 

For more travel information on South West Rocks, see our article on Things to do in South West Rocks.