Just moments from the holiday park is South Smokey Beach, or as the locals know it, Hat Head Beach. It is a great spot for recreational surfers or those looking to learn, with the waves breaking softly and a long right-hand break beside the headland. The pristine water, long stretches of sand and sheltered location make it perfect to just sit back and relax while taking in the sunshine all year round. South Smoky Beach stretches north for 15km and can be accessed by 4-wheel drive with a beach-driving permit. The park is also lucky enough to back onto the Korogoro Creek, which offers great snorkelling and swimming.
If you’re looking to cast a line while in town, Hat Head and its surrounding areas offer great fishing locations both on and offshore. For land-basing fishing make sure to head to Bird Rock or Spinning Ledge, both providing the chance to catch spanish mackerel, cobia, marlin, tuna and kingfish. Beach fishing can be found directly in front of the park and from the rocky outcrops with the classics such as bream, whiting and tailor all an easy catch. For the more experienced and enthusiastic anglers, as Australia’s closest point to the continental shelf, the offshore fishing provides an excellent opportunity to snag a few big catches.
There is an endless number of bushwalking tracks and trails, ranging in grade throughout the Hat Head National Park. The Korogoro Track is the most notable, with access directly from the park. The trail winds through the lush forest before running along the headland of Hat Head National Park, offering spectacular coastal views before moving back into the rainforest. The Smokey Cape Walking Track is also favourite in the area. Wander through the dense coastal forest while keeping an eye out for the abundance of wildlife, including swallow-tailed butterflies, swamp wallabies and red-necked wallabies. Great picnic spots are also available along the way.
A must-do while in the area is a visit to the Smokey Cape Lighthouse. One of the oldest and tallest lighthouses in Australia, its beautiful 360-degree views provide an ideal spot for whale watching between May and November. The historic Trial Bay Gaol is also found nearby, offering a glimpse into Australian history. The hauntingly beautiful location originally opened in 1886 and was home to prison labourers before becoming an internment camp during World War I. Spend the day stepping back in history by exploring the ruins and old cells while learning about how the gaol shaped the Macleay Valley Coasts future.