As my boyfriend is working away we decided to meet somewhere in the middle to avoid flying with the high prices. We decided on South West Rocks. It is about five hours north of Sydney and a hour and a half south of Coffs. We had our new camping gear to test out as well. We bought everything for camping from Kmart . Everything we bought was brilliant everything worked well I would recommend it to anyone getting into camping.
We stayed at Trial Bay Gaol Campsite which has a over flow part. It was one of very few campsites which did not have a weeks minimum stay. My boyfriend got there first and set up the tent as I traveled up with the rest of the gear and food. Worked out very well as the tent was all set up when I arrived. Our spot was surround by high rocks and the sea just at the other side of it. As soon as the air bed was up and the table and chairs set up we had a walk around the campsite. The bathroom was just behind us but we had a short walk to the showers with hot water. We did a quick trip to IGA and then returned o start to cook diner. We had a small gas stove (Kmart) to cook our tea on and we made chicken and pesto pasta. I didn’t do the cooking I was more the assistance passing things to him and getting a beer. After food he went up on to the rocks and had a look I stayed down on the ground cos I get bad jelly legs with heights. It was a early night for us after a bottle of red because we had a day of diving ahead.
I had been recommended South West Rocks by a friend because it is suppose to be one of the best diving spots in New South Wales. We booked our diving with ‘South West Rocks Diving Centre‘. It would be my first dive after my Open Water course and it would be my boyfriends 16th/17th dive but he hadn’t dived for a few years. We arrived at the shop at 10:30AM filled in the paper work and got our equipment sorted. We grabbed a coffee and met the dive crew at the jetty. We met the people on our trip and we got on the boat. Two very friendly dolphins appeared next to the boat. I don’t think I have ever seen a dolphin in the wild so close!
The boat ride was 40 mins out to Fish Rock. We left the river and hit the ocean then the water became very rough. The boat ride was a lot of fun, had to hang on a bit when we hit the waves. Once we had anchored at Fish Rock we got split into groups of five. The first dive was down to the gutter where the Nurse Sharks lived. The dive brief was given then we got our equipment on and I did my first boat dive. We descended down the mooring and swam over to the gutter. We stayed on the edge of the gutter holding on to rocks so the current didn’t drag us. There was three grey nurse sharks swimming around along with school of fish. When we were swimming back to the mooring we swam over a massive Wobbegong shark. We ascended to the surface doing our safety stops and then had our break on the boat. I got extremely sea sick on the boat when had our break. Luckily someone had sea sick pills on the boat and let me have one which helped a lot.
After our break it was time to do the cave dive, which I was nervous about. We had our dive brief where we found out there was a ridge of reef we would have to drag ourselves up and over and pull ourselves down due to strong currents. We could only go in a small way into the cave because the swell at the other side was to big. Once we had our equipment back on with our flash lights we were going down again. This dive was very intense gripping on to the reef so you were not sucked up to the surface. The ridge was tough everyone was flying into each other and hanging on trying to avoid sea urchins. I made it to the cave and the current dropped a little it was pitch black inside. Flash lights where on. In the cave I saw bright pink fish, eels and more Wobbegong sharks. After the cave was done it was back to hanging on the reef and battling the current over the ridge. When we were back on the boat I got a fist pump from our dive instructor as he knew that was only my second dive. My boyfriend even said to me that was one of the toughest dives he has ever done….so I was pretty chuffed with myself.
That night we met up with the people from our dive trip the Sea Breeze. It was the only pub open in South West Rocks over Easter. Its a lovely pub with a nice area to sit outside and have dinner. The only down side was the line for food was a hour then we had a hour wait on top of that. Safe to say we were ready for dinner when it arrived.
Easter Sunday we went to Smokey Cape Light House after a lovely breakfast at The Heritage Cafe. The views from up there are beautiful. We walked up to the light house and could see Fish Rock from the top. After the light house we headed to check out the Prison ruins Trial Bay Gaol prison near our campsite. The prisons ruins were interesting and they had kangaroos in the grounds. The beach on the campsite was were we spent the afternoon dozing and going for a paddle. We drove into the town to catch the last bit of sun walking around the beaches and had a cheeky drink in the Sea Breeze.
We decided to not cook that night and headed to the local Indian ‘The Royal Tandoori Indian‘. The food was good but the service was very slow and painful to say there was only us and another couple in there. If your looking for a quick tea I wouldn’t recommend this place. That night we spent drinking wine and talking outside the tent listening to the sea.
On the last morning we had breakfast guests. Our friends where driving back from Byron Bay and they called in for breakfast. My boyfriend made a amazing breakfast with our very little bit of food we had left. The tent came down and we packed up our cars. Before heading off back to Coffs and Sydney we decided to grab a coffee at ‘The Smokey Cape Guest House‘ which was a lovely little cafe hidden away. We shared a cake and I had a tea and he had a milk shake. Once refueled we said see you later and hit the road.
My five hour drive back to Sydney turned into a seven hour drive back, but made it back in one piece and at a decent hour. I have to admit it has taken until this weekend to clean all the camping equipment and pack it up. Going to do two extra blogs about what we took/should have taken, and what we ate.