Discover the very best things to do in South West Rocks, one of the best holiday destinations along the Mid North Coast of New South Wales.
Don’t be alluded into thinking there is nothing to do in a town the size of South West Rocks. If you enjoy swimming in pristine ocean water, taking in the sights, learning about history, or relaxing in a deck chair under a pine tree, there’s plenty of things to do in South West Rocks that will fill your days.
There are many places to stay in South West Rocks. In the below guide, I review the popular Big4 NRMA South West Rocks Holiday Park to help with your decision-making process.
Note: This post may contain affiliate links. See disclaimer for more information.
Table of Contents
Things to Do in South West Rocks
South West Rocks was a relatively undiscovered, quiet town, an hour’s drive north of Port Macquarie along the mid north coast of NSW. Over time it has gained the attention of many holiday-makers and camping enthusiasts thanks to its relaxed atmosphere and pristine scenery.
1. Smokey Cape Lighthouse
Standing proudly on the headland is Smoky Cape Lighthouse surrounded by Hat Head National Park and offers some of the best views of the area. Built-in 1891 this beautiful lighthouse is well worth the visit. The car park is a short distance from the lighthouse, and it is a short picturesque walk to reach the bottom of Smoky Cape hill. The hill is quite a long steep incline, but you are rewarded at the top with 360 degrees views. If the season is right, you may be lucky to spot a whale, but even if you don’t, you are guaranteed to see unspoiled beaches and pristine bushland.
2. Trial Bay Gaol
Surrounded by sandstone and Australian history step back in time as you visit Trial Bay Gaol built in 1886, after 13 years of construction. Prisoners were first sent to the gaol to construct a breakwater to make Trial Bay a safe harbour between Sydney and Brisbane. This scheme failed, and the gaol became a camp used in World World l for the internment of 500 men, mostly Germans. Wander around the historic ruins through the cell blocks, kitchen and halls. You can also climb the watchtower towards the back and enjoy the magnificent views around Arakoon National Park.
3. Trial Bay
East of the town or a 30-minute walk along Main Beach from South West Rocks is Trial Bay. Easily identifiable by the long stretch of white sand that meets calm blue waters making it a perfect swimming area for families. Trial Bay beach is one of the few spots along the east coast of Australia that faces due west allowing you to watch the sunset over the ocean.
4. South West Rocks Fishing
Playing host to an annual competition called the ‘Classic’, South West Rocks is a popular fishing destination with a variety of locations to cast your line from beach, rock, estuary and the deep sea.
5. Horseshoe Bay
Not only do the large multicoloured rocks create a stunning statement they also shelter the waters at Horseshoe Bay, making it one of the most family-friendly beaches in the area. With only slight waves, it was the perfect swimming location to enjoy the water, yet still, have fun with body boards or blow up floats. The beach is only patrolled during spring, autumn, summer holidays as well as summer weekends.
6. Horseshoe Bay Reserve Playground
It was a community and council effort that saw this playground come to fruition. Close to Horseshoe Bay, this playground that spans a vast area features equipment for all ages and abilities.
7. South West Rocks Creek
Due to the warm ocean in the area fed by the east coast current flowing down from the tropical regions, it is said that you can swim all year round at South West Rocks. The inlet at South West Rocks Creek was another place that we saw people swimming and snorkelling due to the clarity of the water. You can cross the bridge by foot, and at low tide, you can wade out in the crystal-clear waters to nearby sand bars. The clarity and colour of the water around this area is sublime and needs to be witnessed in person.
You May Also Like: The Best 3 Day Itinerary for Northern NSW
Accommodation South West Rocks
Review of Big 4 South West Rocks
Travelling with our extended family, we were sourcing accommodation that could cater to not only the needs of many children but also a place that adults would enjoy. The holiday parks story is built around their values – “laughter is a sunbeam of the soul.”
The kids will love getting outside, having fun, enjoying the natural elements while the adults enjoy time out from their everyday routine.
Big 4 NRMA South West Rocks Holiday Park
Walk the plank at Shipwreck Island; the amazing water park and splash zone area was opened in 2015 and one of the most popular areas for children 12 years and under. With a pirate theme, kids will love the three slides, tipping bucket, and climbing ropes. There is also an area off to the side for the younger buccaneers who want to join in on the action.
Right beside the pirate ship is where you’ll find two pools and a jacuzzi for some more water fun.
Back on land swing by the adventure playground where a giant jumping pillow will have the kids entertained for hours.
Play a game of tennis or putt-putt golf, bounce on the nearby trampoline, and enjoy the kids game room. For those who want to explore the grounds and the nearby saltwater lagoon go-karts, bikes and canoes are available to hire from reception. With all these facilities, it is little wonder why BIG4 Sunshine is known as a haven for kids.
A Lagoon Room to Call Home
South West Rocks Big 4 has options for those families who want to stay at a holiday park yet prefer creature comforts that you would receive from staying at self-contained apartments.
Our accommodation was a Luxury Lagoon Retreat situated towards the back of the property overlooking the surrounding bushland, and only a short walk around the corner to the playground.
The rooms were very comfortable and can accommodate up to six guests with two bedrooms and two different types of bedding configurations to suit family requirements. The galley style kitchen had everything you would find at home from a microwave, hotplates, dishwasher, full-size fridge/freezer and washer/dryer combo.
The reverse cycle air conditioner and ceiling fans will have you feeling comfortable all year round. One of the lovely features of these rooms are the furnished undercover outdoor decks where you can enjoy alfresco dining that you may of prepared that day or the tranquillity of the area.
If the kids need some relaxation time of their own, the rooms had a small dining and lounge room area, which could be used to play games, engage in some art and craft or watch the children’s movies that play continuously within the villas.
Surrounded by nature, other residents also call the Big4 home. We often saw kangaroos roaming the grounds, and the birds would be singing their sweet tunes in the trees above. Two of the unexpected sightings was the large goanna that looked like the king of the castle and the cheeky kookaburras who loved to sit on the balcony.
Other Room Types
For those camping enthusiasts who love to pitch a tent or are on the hunt for a South West Rocks caravan park, there are many options from un-powered, grass, slab, and ensuite sites with lots of included amenities.
From a small to a large family, there are various cottages and villas to suit your requirements and budget on the premises. The newest addition at Big4 South West Rocks has been the 1.6 million dollars two-story Ngurra Lodges. The two-story designer cabins are one of the more luxurious accommodation options to consider and are easily recognisable with the façade blending into the natural environment surrounding the South West Rocks holiday park.
Rest and Relaxation
The aim of Big 4 Sunshine South West Rocks is for you to feel rejuvenated and refreshed after your stay at the resort. This feeling was certainly achieved from our stay, and we would recommend it to other families who are searching for the same outcome.
Where is South West Rocks
How to Get There
You may feel worlds away while you are at South West Rocks, but it is ideally located between Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie in New South Wales, and a perfect place to stay if embarking on a road trip along the east coast of Australia.
FLY – Approximately 1 hr 15 mins from Coffs Harbour airport, the major airlines Qantas, Virgin Australia, and Tiger Air offer flights into Coffs Harbour from various destinations.
DRIVE – Approximately 455 km’s north of Sydney or 490 km’s south of Brisbane, South West Rocks is a 5 to 6-hour drive from each major city, which makes it the perfect place to stop for a night or have an extended stay.
This coastal town is well known, and it is highly recommended to reserve accommodation before arriving, particularly if you are staying over peak times.
Where to Eat in South West Rocks
For those who want a night off from cooking, there are many local cafes and restaurants around the area.
Our experience was at Seasons restaurant in the South West Rocks Country Club for dinner one evening. The menu featured Australian classics, seafood, Thai, Asian along with a kid’s menu. The generous portion sizes were served quickly, and everyone on the table enjoyed their meals. I highly recommend the traditional Thai as it was one of the best Thai meals in my books.
If you don’t feel like venturing too far from the Big4 Sunshine, The Full Circle Eatery is located right next to the reception, offering a seasonal menu in a family-friendly atmosphere. Open six days a week (closed Mondays) and takeaway available.
For a sweet treat, you can grab an ice cream for the kiosk located between the playground and Horseshoe Bay or visit Chillati Gelato and Sorbet, rated the number one dessert store in South West Rocks.
South West Rocks Weather
Average Monthly Maximum & Minimum Temperatures
Summer – Temperature ranging from 18 – 27 C
Autumn – Temperature ranging from 14 – 26 C
Winter – Temperature ranging from 11 – 20 C
Spring – Temperature ranging from 13 – 24 C
If you have any questions about South West Rocks or the Big4, feel free to ask in the comments.
Follow my blog with Bloglovin