After leaving Wollongong we drove up the coast through Sydney and headed towards Forster and the lakes region. With no particular plan in mind we decided to get off the highway, always a good idea, and just drift in a general coastal direction. We found ourselves driving through towering eucalypt forest, oozing serene majesty. The species here is primarily flooded gum or rose gum, technically, eucalyptus grandis and like the name suggests it is indeed a grand tree. Just driving along these winding roads through glorious forest left me feeling chilled out. We had seen the sign to Seal Rocks and intrigued by the name decided to explore. Possibly should have filled up on fuel earlier, when the winding road suddenly opened onto a dramatic coast line and we found ourselves sitting in front of a caravan park opposite what according to the sign was no. 1 beach, seal rock. Short on fuel I did a quick google search to find the nearest petrol station, only to discover we were going to have to back track a bit. Most of the time on our travels we were never more than a few minutes from fuel and food but here at Seal rocks we found ourselves a bit caught out. Seal Rocks is a tiny fishing village with one store that also acts as a post office, no fuel and no extensive grocery range, just basics. I had become complacent about re-stocking our supplies which was now an inconvenience since we now wanted to stay a couple of days in this idyllic location. We back tracked a bit and re-fuelled at Bungwahl and grabbed a few food items to keep us going, but like Seal Rocks itself only a limited range of items at maximum price was available, so I paid for my complacency.
Then back to the park we found in front of the beach, the road did wind further up a hill and there was another park up there with a scattering of coast hugging homes but otherwise the place was quite and devoid of civilisation, my perfect location. We had marine park in front and National Park behind and surrounding us, paradise. We stayed at the Reflections park opposite No.1 beach but there was also the Treachery park up the hill, above the next beach over, Treachery, and then there is the Yagon campground which is National park, all three camps are great if you want peace and quite and a bit of isolation, although I gather the place does get busy during the normal holiday times. It really is a bit of a hidden treasure. Yagon is a bit more primitive, no water, no power and only pit toilets, but beautiful location and the cheapest option. Just remember to arrive well supplied as it is a remote location. No WiFi at Yagon and possibly no phone reception either. Phone reception is patchy in the area but Reflections had both phone coverage and onsite WiFi, actually a really lovely park, had a fantastic camp kitchen, even had TV.
The site really was paradise, a beautiful beach enclosed at either end with dramatic rocky outcrops, crashing surf, creating a soothing soundtrack. The rocky outcrops were indicative of the treacherous nature of this part of the coast, with an extensive history of ship wrecks, so hardly surprising that the next beach along is called Treachery. Just up the road is the Sugarloaf point Lighthouse originally built in response to the number of shipwrecks, even after the lighthouse was built, ship wrecks continued with twenty wrecks occurring since it was erected. The lighthouse is now automated and no longer manned. The former lighthouse keepers quarters are under national park management and can be rented if you want that full isolated experience of lighthouse keeper lifestyle, although given the walk to the lighthouse passes by the houses I suspect not quite so isolated these days. The location and views are just awesome, and we are planning a return trip, just to stay at the keepers residence. (I always thought lighthouse keeper would be the ideal occupation for me). You can check out the lighthouse cottage accommodation here: https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/camping-and-accommodation/accommodation/sugarloaf-point-lighthouse-keepers-cottages
The area is ideal for whale watching, certainly it is great for bird watching, with different types of honeyeaters, shrikes, kestrels, sea birds, scrub turkeys and the most confident crested pigeons I have ever encountered, (not the smartest bird on the planet). I spent some time contemplating the subtle beauty of the colouring of their feathers, subtle metallic green and purple highlighting their dominant grey, like shy punks, careful not to be to outlandish, despite their trademark mohawk crest and had a conversation with one gentle bird who cooed happily at me whenever I dropped a crumb, so undisturbed by humans, I could have reached out and caressed the feathers of my little friend. According to the signage at Sugarloaf point, dingoes also frequent the area and the marine park provides shelter to grey nurse sharks amongst other marine species. The name seal rocks is a bit of a misnomer these days, as while the area may once have been the site of a breeding colony it is no longer that, although I gather seals have been seen in the area.
We took several long walks along the beach, and up to the lighthouse, I was reminded of (Cornish Coast, Poldark country scenery). When you walk up to the lighthouse you pass by this dramatic inlet, known as the Sunken Cavern, it is very much a storybook landscape, with all the drama of rocks and crashing surf. The beaches are popular with surfers but are unpatrolled, so use some discretion when swimming. I found the location absolutely magical, but then the whole Myall Lakes area is spectacular, just about anywhere in the great lakes region is worth a visit. Seal Rocks is just a sleepy fishing village and if peace, quite and fantastic scenery with abundant wildlife is your thing, this is paradise but if you need a bit more of the luxuries of modern living like cafes and shopping you might prefer somewhere closer to Forster. I gather there is fierce opposition to development in the area and I have to say that it would be tragic to see the area developed any more than it already is, much of its idyllic nature is due to its quite isolation.
Finally I want to acknowledge that Seal Rocks is on Worimi country and pay respects to Worimi elders past, present and emerging.