The Local Area

Clear aquamarine waters, tiny coves, a peaceful bay, lush green forestry fringed by soft brown sands; no wonder convicts abandoned their sinking ship, "The Trial" and decamped to this beautiful area! South West Rocks, is where the Macleay River meets the sea, in an area surrounded by eight beautiful beaches, numerous river tributaries and Arakoon State Conservation Area.

Great Views and Ocean Walks

The view of Trial Bay from the guard turret at the western end of Trial Bay Gaol is an absolute must see. Walk on further around the crescent shaped beach and you will see the wreck of one of three vessels stranded in the early 1970's. There are numerous walks in this conservation area, including one to the historic powder magazine and obelisk.

Smoky Cape

The sweeping views from Smoky Cape Lighthouse are breathtaking. Between the Gaol and the Smoky Cape Lighthouse lies Little Bay, a charming pocket handkerchief sized beach, Little Smoky Beach and Gap Beach, which perfectly suits the adventurous surfer or nature lover. What with offshore winds prevalent, Trial Bay itself is perfect for sailing and sail boarding.

Fish Rock Cave and Fish Rock Dive Centre

Thanks to it's proximity to the renowned Fish Rock Cave and other exciting dive sites, South West rocks is a diving Mecca! Costa Rica Motel caters for this with a huge dive shop, school and equipment service centre right there on the premises.

Trial Bay Gaol

Trial Bay Gaol was established as a public works prison in the late 1870's to keep prison labourers brought here to construct a breakwater to keep Trial Bay a safe harbour between Sydney and Brisbane. Regrettably the scheme was a dismal failure. the breakwater was too difficult to maintain and was repeatedly washed away, and what remained of the stone wall acted upon the ocean currents to produce a build up of sand along Trial Bay, such that the former 19th century shoreline is is now located where the historic Arakoon House stands today.

During the First World War, Trial Bay Gaol was used as a camp for people of German descent, interned by the Government as possible 'enemy' sympathisers. Today, the Gaol is a solitary picturesque ruin with an atmosphere of timelessness and mystery.

Smoky Cape Lighthouse

Around the coastline stand beacons of light, shining across the sea in all weather conditions, protecting ships and sailors from dangerous shoals, headlands, bars and reefs. Many a mariner has been comforted by the flickering light amid the lonely darkness off the sea.

In 1886, the member for West Sydney in the NSW Parliament sponsored a motion to construct a lighthouse at Smoky Cape, in the interests of coastal trade and shipping. The site was named by Captain James Cook in 1770 when he observed smoke rising from Aboriginal fires.

Built in 1891, Smoky Cape Lighthouse is the most elevated lighthouse in Australia. the lens is made from 3 tonnes of glass ground into 300 prisms. The kerosene system was converted to electricity in 1962, and the lighthouse became fully automated in the 1980's, which gradually saw the decline of the lighthouse keepers.

Since 1997 the lighthouse has been managed by the Parks service. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority retains operational management of the light, not only as a navigational aid but also a weather monitoring station.

Smoky Cape, and the lighthouse complex are listed on the Register of National Estate for their historic connection with James Cook's voyage, the dramatic terrain, accessibility for visitors, and architectural merit.

South West Rocks motel Style Accommodation.
Attractions of  South West Rocks