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Australia - New South Wales
ARAKOON STATE CONSERVATION AREA

 

What's on this Page:

 

INTRODUCTION

The Arakoon State Conservation Area preserves the Trial Bay Gaol site on Laggers Point at Seal Rocks and the surrounding area. It is an area covering some 110 plus hectares.

The gaol was built in the 1870s and has been used to hold prisoners working on the local breakwater and as an internment location for Germans during WWI. A memorial to the German internees is located on the top of Monument Hill.

Laggers Point, upon which the gaol is built, is an ideal location for watching whales in the autumn and winter migration. Near Laggers Point is Little Bay, which is a secluded beach area with picnic facilities.

Though preserving a human built site, Arakoon State Conservation Area also protects habitat for Ospreys, Glossy Black Cockatoos, Sugar Gliders and Brush-tailed Phascogales, among others.

Arakoon is reached via the Pacific Highway and is located 40km north of Kempsey, not far from South West Rocks.

 

LOCATION MAP


View Arakoon State Conservation Area in a larger map

 

FEES

There is an entry fee for the gaol and museum. On my last visit it was $5.00 entry for adults.

 

ATTRACTIONS/WALKS

Note that some of the walks mentioned below are in the Hat Head National Park, which adjoins the Arakoon State Conservation Park.

 

Bridle Trail (500m)

The Bridle Trail starts at Cardwell Street near the entrance to the park and links with the Powder Magazine Track and the track to Little Bay. This is a short easy walk.

 

Monument Hill (1.2km - 30 mins)

The Monument Hill track heads off from near Trial Bay Gaol and heads up Monument Hill. On the way to the summit is the memorial to the World War I German detainees who died during their detention here. There are spectacular views of Trial Bay and the South West Rocks from the top.

 

Powder Magazine Track (0.8km - 20 mins)

The Powder Magazine Track heads off the main Monument Hill track and leads to the ruins of the old powder magazines which were used in the construction of the gaol. This was an area where blasting powder was stored during the construction of the gaol and breakwater.

 

Jack Perkins Track (1.4km Moderate Return)

The Jack Perkins Track heads off from Captain Cooks Lookout and descends through the forest to North Smoky Beach. Warning: This beach is unpatrolled and considered dangerous.

 

Green Island Track (3km Moderate Return)

The Green Island Track starts at the carpark above Gap Beach. The track heads off up the hill and when the junction with Smoky Cape Track is reached continue east onto the headland. Green Island can be seen ahead - only 100m from the coast.

 

Smoky Cape Track (4.4km Moderate Return)

The Smoky Cape Track heads off from the Captain Cooks Lookout along the ridges and gullies behind North Smoky Beach. Upon reaching the Green Island Track you may either head off on the Green Island Track or head toward Gap Beach.

 

Gap Beach Track (6.4km Hard One Way)

The Gap Beack Track begins at the Overshot Dam at Little Bay and ascends Little Smoky Mountain, before descending to North Gap Beach.

 

Smoky Cape to Little Bay (10km Hard One Way)

This walk starts at Captain Cooks Lookout, following the Smoky Cape Track and the Green Island Track to the Northern Ridge Top Car Park. From here proceed to either:

  1. walk down to the beach, then up the southern road and onto the Little Bay Track, or

  2. walk along the 4WD track to the junction at the gate, back up Gap Road and past the car park onto the Little Bay Track.

Note, this one way walk can take up to 4 hours to complete. Car shuttling is an option for the return (leave a car at the end of the walk before commencing it).

 

Trial Bay Gaol

The Trial Bay Gaol was built in the 1870s out of the local granite. It was used to house prisoners who were engaged in local building projects, as well as an internment facility during WWII. At the top of Munument Hill is a memorial to German internees who died during this period of Trial Bay's use.

The Park Office is open seven days a week between 9am and 4.30pm daily, with access to the gaol and museum closing at 4.15pm.

 

Little Bay

Little Bay is located close to Trial Bay Gaol. There is a pleasant secluded beach here between the cliffs. However, it should be noted that surf conditions are unpredictable and therefore dangerous.

Also located at Little Bay is the 'Duck Pond,' which is the historic Overshot Dam used as a water supply facility during the early gaol days.

 

CAMPING/FACILITIES

A caravan park next to the gaol offers both powered and non-powered sites. There are hot showers, electric BBQs, toilets and fireplaces provided. Fees apply.

 

PHOTOS

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kevinmatthews/sets/72157626464916428/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kevinmatthews/sets/72157612691910766/

 

MY VISITS:

Arakoon Trip - 2003

In 2003 I visited the Arakoon State Conservation Area. For a look at my journal of the trip and some photos visit the link below:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kevinmatthews/sets/72157626464916428/

 

Arakoon Trip - 27 August 2007

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kevinmatthews/sets/72157612691910766/

 

ACCOMMODATION

 

FURTHER RESOURCES

  • Arakoon State Conservation Area Park Office
    South West Rocks NSW 2431
    Phone: (02) 6566 6168
    http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au

  • Kempsay Visitors Centre
    Pacific Highway
    Phone: (02) 6563 1555

  • NPWS Port Macquarie
    152 Horton Street
    PO Box 61
    Port Macquarie NSW 2444
    Phone: (02) 6586 8300
    portmacquarie@npws.nsw.gov.au

  • South West Rocks Visitors Centre
    The Boatman's Cottage
    Ocean Avenue
    Phone: (1800) 642 480

 

MAPS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contact

UPDATED: 10 April 2011

kevinswilderness.com 2011