The South West Rocks Scenic Drive includes visits to the village’s most historic buildings, pristine beaches and two National Parks. Starting from the Pilot Station Complex where the South West Rocks Visitor Information Centre (Open 7 days, 9:00am – 4:00pm) is located within one the Heritage Listed Boatmans Cottages. Just down the road is Horseshoe Bay Reserve perfect for a picnic, swim or whale watch from Monument Point from September to early November when whales rest and frolic in Trial Bay before continuing south to Antarctica. Still looking to the east, Trial Bay Gaol can be seen in the distance. Visit the historic gaol to learn about the buildings past uses as a public works prison and World War 1 internment camp. Trial Bay’s calm waters are ideal for swimming, snorkel and other water sports. There is a hiking trail near the car park through Arakoon National Park to the German Monument and the Powder Magazines.
Further south in Hat Head National Parks’ Little Bay is Overshot Dam the former water supply for Trial Bay Gaol and the village, today the dam is known by many as the Duck Pond where waterbirds can be seen. Kangaroos graze on the green grass within Little Bay making for a picture perfect picnic area. The drive leads to Smoky Cape; Captain Cooks Lookout at the car park has BBQ’s, picnic tables, toilets, bush walking tracks and a fabulous view. Learn about Smoky Cape Lighthouse’s past with pre-booked tour and look forwards whales are the base of the lighthouse from late May to early November. Finish the drive off at the mouth of the new entrance of the Macleay River with a stroll along the concrete path on the river wall.
Follow these instructions to enjoy the South West Rocks Scenic Drive:
Visit the South West Rocks Visitor Information Centre located at Boatmans Cottage No.1 in Ocean Drive, for tourism information and to see local maritime history displays. At the stop sign go straight ahead into Livingstone St and drive past the holiday park on your left, before turning left at the end of the road into Horseshoe Bay Day Visitor Area, continue to the second car park for stunning headland and beach views.
Return to the entrance of Horseshoe Bay, veer left into Memorial Ave, and at the roundabout turn left onto Landsborough St. Continue straight ahead at both roundabouts into Phillip Dr, then continue over German Bridge and turn left into Cardwell St, which takes you to famous Trial Bay Gaol, the German Monument and Powder Magazines.
Next, return to the intersection of Cardwell and Wilson Sts, turn left into Wilson St, then continue into Gladstone St, and then Carri St, to Little Bay. Little Bay beach is not suitable for swimming, however is very popular for picnics. Take the loop to thr right to see Overshot Dam and keep an eye out for kangaroos.
Return to the intersection of Cardwell and Wilson Sts, but this time continue straight ahead until you reach the Lighthouse turnoff at Arakoon Rd, turn left. Turn left into Lighthouse Rd and continue until you reach the car park. From here, you can walk to the top of the headland to Smoky Cape Lighthouse, the highest lighthouse in New South Wales, complete with historic residences. This is the perfect spot for whale watching, bush walking, swimming, fishing or just relaxing with family and friends. Next, return to the corner of Lighthouse and Arakoon Rds, turn left and continue to the t-intersection. Turn right into Gregory St, drive past the primary school, then turn left at the nest t-intersection into Gordon Young Dr, which becomes Rudder St.
Turn left into Ocean St, then right into Marlin Dr, taking a detour left into Salmon Cct for a great view and then left back into Marlin Dr. Turn right into Riverview Pl and then left into New Entrance Rd to visit the picnic area and boat ramp. Re-join New Enteance Rd past mangroves, turn left into Quarry St and at the next intersection turn right into Entrance St, then left into Rudder St which continues into Gordon Young Dr back to Gregory St.
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