Itineraries & Trails

Suggested itineraries - Macleay Valley Coast

DAY 1

The morning

Take the scenic drive to the top of Yarrahappini Mountain located in the picturesque Yarriabini National Park. Whilst enjoying the stunning outlook across the entire Macleay Valley Coast, you’ll feel like you’re sitting on top of the world, with the spectacular scenery spread out before you. On your return, half way down the mountain make sure to stop off at The Pines picnic area it’s a relaxing place to get out the picnic and have some morning tea under the shade of the tall forest. Admire local Aboriginal artwork and wander through the rainforest and explore the old growth forests filled with flooded gums and hoop pines on the short walking track.

For lunch

There is an abundance of great cafés and restaurants dotted along South West’s Rocks Coastline and town centre; from the freshest fish and chips at South West Rocks Seafood and The Boatshed, to homemade café style meals at Jiddy’s and The Heritage Café (and one of the best places to get a coffee), to all you’re pub favourites at the The Seabreeze Beach Hotel, South West Rocks Country Cub and Riverside Tavern. If you’re looking for that something special make sure to take in the views of Trial Bay, whilst having lunch at The Kiosk Restaurant.

The afternoon

Known as ‘The Diver’s Dive’, Fish Rock features one of the only dive-through caves in Australia and, at 125m long, is one of the largest ocean caverns in the southern hemisphere.  What a better way to get the adrenaline pumping than the thrill of travelling through the centre of the 125m cave and swimming alongside schools of fish, turtles and even grey nurse sharks! There are two companies that will take you out to Fish Rock, South West Rocks Dive Centre and Fish Rock Dive Centre, tours are popular so make sure to pre-book.

Stay the night

Perched high on a headland in the beautiful Hat Head National Park is Smoky Cape Lighthouse and its historic residences. Stay the night at one of the cottages, which were once the lighthouse keepers accommodation. The view from the cottages is absolutely stunning, with coastline as far as the eye can see, truly a once in a lifetime experience. Finish off the day by talking the short walk up to Smoky Cape Lighthouse to experience the magic of the sun setting and the lighthouse night light come on.

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DAY 2

The morning

Step back in time for a guided tour of Trial Bay Gaol, soaking up the history and amazing coastal views that surround it. The gaol opened in 1886, after 13 years of construction and during World War I the gaol became an internment camp for people of German descent who were feared to be enemy sympathisers. Today, this picturesque historic ruin stands as a testament to those who lived and died here, with a museum and memorial for visitors to get a better idea of life in those days.

For lunch

Depart South West Rocks and head towards Kempsey to the historic Netherby River Café (Netherby House), located on the banks of the mighty Macleay River near the town’s main traffic bridge. The Café offers an alfresco dining experience with homemade meals, cakes and excellent coffee.

The afternoon

Visit Crescent Head National Surfing Reserve, Crescent Head. The National Surfing Reserve stretches for 3.5km along the spectacular coastline. It has one of the longest and most classic right hand point breaks in Australia and is recognised as a breeding ground for long board surfing in Australia. If you worked up an appetite make sure to visit Crescent Head Tavern, it’s where the locals go to have a beer and a bite to eat and like the rest of our Crescent Head experiences the balcony has fantastic ocean views.

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