Seal Rocks – Stunning, But…..

Seal Rocks – Stunning, But…..

Getting to Seal Rocks

Seal Rocks is approximately 40 km or about a 40 minute drive from the main highway south of Forster-Tuncurry and 310 km from Sydney. This stunning location and picturesque, sleepy quaint town boasts a small general store and a camping ground that is part of the North Coast chain. 

Its fame rests largely on its beautiful lighthouse and the sense of isolation it enjoys. The very ordinary dirt road which separates the town from the main road (Lakes Way) has kept development at bay and there is a strong feeling that the locals are very happy with this barrier to excessive development.

Our Experience

We have been wanting to stay at Seal Rocks for sometime now.

One of the current deals when you stay at a North Coast campground is that the 7th night is free when you stay at two or more of their parks. We had one night to pay for and then a free one up our sleeve, so we decided to stay at the Seal Rocks campground. Only staying one night in the end, we didn’t take the the free night as the campground was a stinker!

Unfortunately the eco friendly septic seemed to emit a fairly unpleasant odour and it didn’t particularly matter where in the campground you were there was always that waft of effluent lingering around….Seriously we were there in the middle of winter. I can only imagine the smell in high summer. I won’t be going back to find out.

stunning seal rocks nothern nsw

So what are you options if you want to stay in Seal Rocks? 

Well we saw at least 5 free campers in the car park directly opposite the caravan park. Some where staying in large self contained vans and others had small tents pitched next to their car. A pretty good option I would suggest.

There is another campground at Treachery Beach, but be warned the road out there is pretty bad easily doable in a 2wd but a very rutted pot holey surface. The camp closes at night and opens again in the morning with gate times of 7am-7pm daily except Fridays, 9.00pm close.  We drove out and had a look, it is a nice setting with a walk over a fairly steep sand dune to the beach, pretty little cabins and camping set in the bush next to a swamp. I am guessing mosquitos in abundance during the summer? We also saw that there were limited flat areas for camper trailers, definitely not a location for bigger rigs.

There is also boutique accommodation on the hill over looking the beach, I did a bit of looking and couldn’t find anything that would fit into our budget, let us know of any that you are aware of costs.

A highlight of staying at Seal Rocks was the Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse, a short hike in with a steep climb, well worth the effort. On my list is a stay at the meticulously maintained and gorgeous lighthouse keepers cottage. At $450 a night, with a minimum 4 night stay during whale season, I may have to save for a little longer.

2019 – Updated Accommodation Options Seal Rocks

Reflections Holiday Parks –  Hopefully they have fixed the sewerage issues, the updated park looks fabulous, check their websites for costs. Cabins available.

Seal Rocks Lighthouse Cottages

Treachery Camp – Camping and cabin options plus The Beach Lodge accommodates up to 45 people in twelve separate bedrooms. Ten bedrooms with two bunks (4 single beds) and two bedrooms with queen beds. In the middle of the complex is a large common room with fully equipped kitchen, crockery, cutlery and cooking utensils, commercial stove/oven, large fridges, large dining table, lounge, large deck with outdoor settings, BBQ and fire pit for exclusive use of the Beach Lodge guests.

Check AirBnb fo options as well. 

A Wikicamps search didn’t locate any freecamps. 

There also additional campgrounds at Yagon and Neranie Camp Ground, Myall.

Some Things You May Not Know About Seal Rocks

1. Sugarloaf Lighthouse’s unique design

Standing on a dramatic headland east of the village, it’s hard to miss Sugarloaf Lighthouse. Built in 1875, it is one of only two towers in Australia with an external stairway. Its sweet name obscures the area’s dramatic history, with 20 wrecks occurring since it was built, including the wreck of the SS Catterthun in 1895 where 31 lives were lost.

2. The movie-star connections

In 2013 Seal Rocks was the shoot location for the movie ‘Adore’, starring Robin Wright, Naomi Watts and Ben Mendelsohn. Some believe the breathtaking landscapes were the real stars of the show and the profile of Seal Rocks grew considerably following the movie’s release.

3. It’s named after its resident furry critters

This one’s probably not that surprising. Australian fur seals were very common in the area in the 1800s, but the population has since declined due to hunting and entanglements. Fortunately, it appears they are making a recovery and sightings in the area are increasingly common.

4. There’s more than Number One

Reflections Holiday Parks Seal Rocks has direct access to Number One beach, famous for its surfing, fishing and general loveliness. But did you know there’s also a Number Two? Also known as Boat Beach, Number Two is a snorkelling and diving paradise, perfect for the kids to have a paddle.

5. Dive with the sharks

Seal Rocks is one of NSW’s most iconic diving hotspots; famous for its grey nurse shark populations, underwater caves and shipwrecks just waiting to be explored. Apparently, it’s as beautiful below the water as it is above!


South West Rocks, Northern NSW

South West Rocks, Northern NSW

For the last few years we have headed to Scotts Head for a getaway from the cold Victorian winter. Normally we take a day trip to South West Rocks, but this year we decided to have a few nights there on the way home, we were not disappointed with our decision.

Whales from the Smokey yCape Lighthouse

I promise there are whales in the water, if you look closely you will see the water spouts.

A bigger, busier town then Scotts Head, located next to the mouth of the beautiful Macleay River. The caravan park is elevated overlooking Horseshoe bay, a perfect place for kids to have a frolic in the surf.

There is a great kids park and typical beach kiosk, the surf club overlooking the beach towards Trial Bay has great meals on offer. Back Creek is a great spot for kids to catch their first fish. There is a jetty and a bridge a short walk from the caravan park both are ideal spots to try. Peeled prawn or cut pilchard is the best bait with the likely catch being bream, flathead or whiting. An hour either side of high tide is the best time to try.

View down to South West Rocks

Jersey creek

Thanks to the helpful staff at Rocks Marine Bait & Tackle for the friendly advice.

A short drive from the main town center is the Smokey Cape Lighthouse, from here you get a magnificent view back towards Trial Bay and South towards Hat Head. We were fortunate to also see 20 plus whales on their northern migration, a few even coming within a few meters of the bottom Smokey Cape where the lighthouse is situated. I never get tired of seeing these beautiful creatures. I would have happily spent the whole day spotting whales and dolphins except for an impatient 4 year old, who was lucky to spot a big fat goanna happily sunning himself close to the lighthouse.

Boutique Accommodation Smokey Cape Lighthouse

A short drive form the center of South West Rocks is the Trial Bay Gaol. The gaol opened in 1886, after 13 years of construction, in a beautiful setting for a prison. The prison labourers were there to construct a breakwater to make Trial Bay a safe harbour between Sydney and Brisbane. Unfortunately the scheme failed, however you’ll still be able to see the remains of the breakwater from the guard tower lookout.

The goal is surround by national park with available camping and a boat ramp, kangaroos are also a common site. We opted to stay in the campground in South West rocks as the waterfront sites were under maintenance.

 Tip: It is a popular holiday spot, so if you plan on going in high season I would recommend booking well in advance, the best campsites overlooking Horseshoe Bay are in hot demand even during low season, so also wise to book ahead. 


A Winter Getaway, Scotts Head NSW

A Winter Getaway, Scotts Head NSW

When you live in Victoria, I think it is a great idea to head to a warmer climate even if only for a week or three! The last few years we have made the trek to Scotts Head in Northern NSW. Scotts Head is just south of Coffs Harbour and camping ground is part of the North Coast Holiday Park chain.

Why Scotts head? Well there are a few good reasons:

  •  A group of families we have become associated with have been making the migration north for over 20 years, so why not join them. All of their kids have grown up going there and now young Will is the next generation. For us it is perfect, the most relaxing holiday ever. He spends his time going from one camp to the next, making friends, being watched and choosing the best foods to eat. On the list includes coco pops, fish and chips and cheery cheer, soft drink that seems to be unique to the region. We get to enjoy the beach, generally relax and socialise with a group of people we don’t get to see often.
  • The campground is in the sun pretty much all day, an important consideration when you are heading for warmer weather. Just don’t make the mistake we made, make sure you camp on the side furtherest away form the beach to get most of the sun.
  • It is a very short walk to the beach, only a hop, skip and a jump over the small sand dune. The beach is stunning, a wide expanse of clean white sand. Great for swimming, fishing, stand up paddle boarding and generally chilling while the kids play.  As one of the only true point breaks in the region. Scotts Head produces a long right hander and when sanded up, it is regarded as one of the best waves along this bit of coastline. With a permit you can also take your 4wd on a large section of the beach. Although for safety there is a section where vehicles  are not permitted.
  • It is a dog friendly camp ground, this year we didn’t take our dogs but opted for a house sitter. The beach north of the site is also dog friendly so you can give your pooch plenty of exercise if needed.
  • Facilities at the campground are clean and well maintained. The toilet shower block has recently been ungraded and is kept spotlessly clean. You even get to enjoy piped music while taking a hot shower. The camp kitchen has a fridge, kettle, microwave,toaster and cooking facilities. Over the winter a gas heater is also available for use, as it does get cool in the evenings.

Scotts Head is one of many stunning, small, coastal towns on the NSW coast, it has a neat little coffee shop and the small general store has also been recently upgraded and has some beautiful fresh produce. 

a little bit of family fun scotts head camping ground

Make sure you head up to the lookout with a glass of champagne and some nibbles to watch the sun sink over the horizon, you may also get to enjoy some dolphins frolicking in the waves just below the lookout.

Scotts Head Local Services

Tasty Bites Bakery – 6569 7512
OPEN, Mon – Sat: 7.30am to 4pm, Sun 7.30am to 2pm.
Extended hours over holiday periods

Scotts Head Butcher – 6569 8085
OPEN, Mon – Fri: 7am to 5pm, Sat: 7a, to 12pm, Closed Sundays

Tippanys Gift Store – 6569 7244
Open Wed to Fri: 10am to 5pm, Sat & Sun: 10am to 2pm, closed Mon/Tue
Expect during school holidays – open every day

Scotts Head Pharmacy – 6569 7788
Mon to Fri 9am to 5.30pm, Sat 9am to 12pm, Closed Sundays

Friendly Grocer Supermarket – 6569 8325 (OPEN 7 DAYS)
Winter Hours – 7am to 6pm, all other times 7am to 7pm

Local Liquor Bottle Shop – 6569 8377
Mon 11.30am to 7pm, Tue to Fri 10.30am to 7pm,
Sat/Sun 10am to 7pm

Café Cruz – N/A
Opening hours vary depending on time of year please see café for times

Taverna Six Restaurant – 6569 7191
Open every day for Breakfast (8.30am – 1pm), see notice board for
Dinner opening day & hours. Holiday Period 7 days

Club scotts (Bowling Club) – 6569 8163
Bistro Open 7 Days a week in Holiday & Summer season, all other times
Tue to Sun. Lunch 12pm – 2pm, Dinner 5.30pm- 8pm


Other Services

Scotts Head Surf School – Contact Surf Shop
Scotts Head Real Estate – 6569 7140
Tennis Courts – Hired through the Bottle Shop
Beagles Thai Takeaway – 6569 8059

Local Markets

Day of Month


2nd & 4th Saturday

  • Bowraville Country Markets, 8am – 12.30pm, Community Centre.
  • Macksville Riverside Markets

1st Saturday

Bi-Monthly, Even Months

  • Valla Beach Community Markets.

1st Saturday

  • Dorrigo Showground 8am – 1pm
  • Kempsey Showground
  • Coffs Harbour Showground
  • Glenreagh Country Markets, Recreation Ground

2nd Saturday

  • South West Rocks, Horseshoe Bay.
  • Kempsey Growers Market, Services Club Park
  • Woolgoolga Beach Trust Markets, Beach Reserve

3rd Saturday

  • Bellingen Markets, playing fields

4th Saturday

  • Sawtell Community Markets, First Ave.

2nd & 4th Saturday

  • Bellingen Organic Produce Markets, Showground.

Every Sunday

  • Coffs Jetty, Woolworths Carpark 6656771
  • Harbourside Markets, Coffs Harbour

Last Sunday

(Bi-Monthly Even Months)

  • Eungai “Unkya Reserve” – Pacific Highway

1st Sunday

  • Coffs Harbour Lions Club Car Boot Market, Jetty Foreshore
  • Port Macquarie Art Markets, Maritime Museum

1st & 3rd Sunday

  • Medlow Public School Growers Markets, Upper Taylors Arm Rd

2nd Sunday

  • Plaza Shopping Centre, Nambucca Heads

2nd & 4th Sunday

  • Nambucca Valley Farmers Markets, Bowraville Racecourse