I always look for hidden treasures, the quite places away from lots of people, shops and drama, although I do love a great cafe, so when I find a location that has wonderful wildlife, a village atmosphere and an awesome cafe, I feel like I have struck gold, Red Rock is that kind of gold. Situated at the northern end of the Coffs Harbour coast, this little beach hamlet is a fantastic location, for my money a much better option than the highly developed Coffs Harbour itself. Red Rock is surrounded by national park and situated on the Corindi River which provides an excellent calm spot for kayaking and swimming. The beach itself provides surf, short breaks, but a bit rough at times and I suspect not the safest swimming beach, also not patrolled, so again a case of using common sense. For a calm, safe swim, the river inlet is your best bet and a nice safe spot for kids to swim, also that side of the headland does have surf lifesaving.
We stayed at the Reflections park at Red Rock, we had a spot right behind the headland itself, the location provided a constant soundtrack of crashing surf. A beautiful place but also haunting in a very real sense. The traditional owners, the Gumbaynggir people prefer to call the location Blood Rock as the area once ran with the blood of their people. The location is the site of a massacre, which culminated in Gumbaynggir people first being attacked and shot at Blackaddder Creek, then as they fled to Corindi creek and finally the survivors were driven off the headland into the sea, where the shootings continued. Survivors were only able to escape by hiding in a sea cave beneath the cliffs. When you walk to the top of the headland you pass a small monument to the massacre, it makes Red Rock a place of sober reflection.
It is testimony to the resilience and strength of the Gumbaynggir people that traditional culture has survived so strongly. The local Aboriginal community have contributed much to the area and one of the local highlights is the Yarrawarra Aboriginal cultural centre, which includes a fantastic art gallery and cafe, they also run a number of cultural activities and tours. While I have not tried any of the tours, Red Rock is a place I will return to and on return visits I am hoping to join some of the activities they offer, particularly interested in the bush tucker and medicine walk, and the fish traps and site tour, you can check out the list of options on the website: https://www.yarrawarra.com.au/tours/cultural-tours-and-activities The Gumbayggnir people demonstrate an admirable resilience and strength in the face of a brutal colonial history. I want to pay respect to Gumbayggnir elders past present and emerging and acknowledge with gratitude, their on going connection to land and sea.
Red Rock is a tiny hamlet with very little in the area besides holiday homes and the caravan park, but it is an amazingly relaxed, and happy location, people are more than friendly, they exude a joyful openness that is striking, G and I found ourselves wondering what the hell is in the water, everyone seemed so happy and chilled. I mentioned at the start of the post that the area also has a fantastic coffee shop, I needed to find a chemist and the nearest one turned out to be a 5 minute drive up the road at Corindi, next door to the chemist was Rafa’s Cafe. The cafe was an especially nice surprise, with charming staff, excellent cafe food and coffee, we enjoyed it so much we decided we would have breakfast there the next day before we left the area. Just want to highly recommend Rafa’s, it is a dog friendly cafe for those travelling with four legged companions and it really is an excellent little café.