The idyllic Arakoon National Park is a wonderful place for a day trip to explore Australian history, great picnic areas and a tranquil experience, the area is surrounded by rocky foreshores and sandy beaches.
Trial Bay Gaol, dating from the 19th century, was built to house prison labourers who were tasked with building a breakwater. Today the gaol is a picturesque ruin and a fascinating place to explore. There are excellent fishing spots around the park’s rocky headlands and the park’s sheltered beach is a great spot for swimming, snorkelling and paddling.
Don’t be surprised if you see dolphins frolicking in the calm waters and if you’re visiting around July or August, you might see whales on their annual migration.
Standing high on a narrow headland, Smoky Cape Lighthouse is surrounded by the stunning coastal scenery of Hat Head National Park. The lighthouse itself is as beautiful as the views – check out its winding staircase and octagonal tower.
Built in 1891, this heritage lighthouse is one of the last designed by the Colonial Architect, James Barnet. Smoky Cape headland was so named by Captain Cook after he saw Aboriginal fires burning there in 1770. Guided tours of the lighthouse are available if you would like to find out more.
Smoky Cape is a fantastic spot for whale watching, birdwatching and picnicking, and you can stay overnight at the lighthouse keepers’ cottage. Don’t miss the views at nearby Captain Cook’s lookout.