I Believe We Don’t Know Everything
Smoky Cape is situated on the east coast of Australia about halfway between Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie, almost a 5-hour drive from our home in Brisbane. The little coastal town of South West Rocks is a ten-minute drive along Lighthouse Road. Yes, there’s a lighthouse atop the headland that is Smoky Cape.
Apart from the lighthouse itself, there are a B&B and two self-contained cottages. The B&B was originally the head lighthouse keeper’s cottage and the two cottages were for the assistant lighthouse keepers. Built in 1891, the cottages and lighthouse are heritage listed. The lighthouse became automated in 1988. I’ve always wanted to live in a lighthouse and when I was younger, there were still several lighthouses that needed a real lighthouse keeper on site. No special qualifications were necessary.
So when I found you could book to stay in one of these cottages, I jumped at the chance. The first time we visited we stayed for a week in cottage number one. It was attached to cottage number two but there was a thick stone wall between them — at least 12 inches thick. Actually, all of the walls were built of stone even the internal ones. They weren’t going to blow down any time soon.
At night the lighthouse light swung around in a circle catching the mountain behind the cottage. My husband would joke with the kids and say it was a ghost because it appeared so regularly. I don’t think any of them believed him. It was all just fun. We spent the whole week there and had a wonderful time. We walked up to the lighthouse every day and watched for whales and dolphins.
We visited the ruins of Trial Bay Gaol at South West Rocks. I loved the history of this convict gaol used as an internment camp for Australians who were related to Germans during the First World War. Very sad! The miniseries Always Afternoon told the fictional story of some of those internees.
We went four-wheel-driving on the beach. We sat around and played board games, read, fed the kookaburras, and had cheese platters with wine…