Not far from the more popular camping havens of Nelson Bay and Myall Lakes lie the postcard perfect beach town of Seal Rocks, in the mid coast of New South Wales, and 275 km north of Sydney. Having camped at Myall Lakes the night before, we couldn’t help bring ourselves to this beautiful gem of a place. Named apparently after a family of seals that perhaps lived here, Seal Rocks today is devoid of these furry critters, leaving the beach to practically yourself.
The Seal Rocks beach or the Boat Beach as the locals call it, is a crescent shaped beach in gold that easily steals your heart from miles afar, when you realize quite easily why this place was included in your to-do list in the first place. Sitting on a low hill with well trimmed grass carpets, overlooking this crescent shaped beauty, I had practically had one of my best Sunday morning coffees ever! But before I could actually get down on those sands and hug the turquoise waters, there was one more thing to check – the Seal Rocks Lighthouse or the Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse. For those insane record-keepers, it is Australia’s second most easterly lighthouse after the legendary one at Byron Bay. And boy, was I glad to tick it off!
The Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse
Yes, another pretty awesome feature that I keep finding along the marvelous coastline of Australia is its string of old lighthouses, still freshly painted and standing tall against the tide of both sea and time. This one was completed in 1875 and at the current rate, looks like it can keep blinking for a few more centuries. The walk to the Lighthouse from the Seal Rocks beach through dense forests, is a terrific one. As we wound up the hill to reach the lighthouse at the summit, we came across a rocky wall that descended to the sea – with a shaft formed by decades of wind and water erosion, practically behaving like a blowhole carved onto the vertical wall. (You would almost wish for the seas to lash onto the wall just to see the blowhole come to life)
We walked on, and soon enough, the mighty Lighthouse Beach uncovered to the right – it was one spectacular line of a beach, and would have been more of a magnet for surfers, but on a lazy Sunday, the people, I guess, preferred the sedentary calming waters of the Seal Rocks beach on the other side. With magnificent views that we couldn’t get enough of – and that always reminds me of this primeval land, we kept walking up to the Lighthouse.
The rolling hill was carpeted in green, with wild tomatoes growing in the hedges while a blue sky seemed spangled with white clouds. The walk was surprisingly refreshing even as the steep walk tired us out. At the top, the whitewashed walls of the lighthouse sparkling in the morning sun and contrasted against the deep blue waters of the Pacific felt so reminiscent of the Greek isles like Santorini. As Einstein once said, ‘Logic will get you from A to B, imagination will take you everywhere!’ Thank you Einstein, I was transported from the Pacific to the Mediterranean in no time.
The panoramic views from the lighthouse was breathtaking. I have greedily savored such splendid sights far south in the Jervis Bay and closer in the Palm Beach – a highway of lights indeed along the coast. What a life for these white sentinels, standing all alone and yet, what beacons of hope they must be giving out to the beleaguered sailors of the sea. As if to reinforce just these thoughts, there were these beautiful lines hanging on a wall inside the lighthouse:
‘Sail on!’ it says,’ Sail on, yeh Stately Ships
And your floating bridge the Ocean span,
Be mine to guard this light from all eclipse,
Be yours to bring man nearer unto man!’
If these lighthouses would be sentient beings (imagine a Studio Ghibli movie), what stories would they have? Standing tall and compassionate like the Bodhisattvas, redeeming all those who sailed close to the horizon!
The Seal Rocks Beach
The slightly sweaty hike up and down to the lighthouse was reason enough to take a dip in the aquamarine waters of the Seal Rocks Beach. The formation of the nearby bay was such that it shielded all the choppy waters of the waves, leaving placid waters glittering in the morning sun, looking too inviting to deny a swim. We splashed about for a good hour and with clouds playing hide and seek with the sun, the skies just added to the brilliant ambiance. Such should be a Sunday indeed!
Swimming in those clear waters and looking out at the hills reminded me again of the beautiful tropical beaches in Thailand, but I gave my imagination a much needed break and got back to my swimming frenzy. We rested awhile on the beach, then headed back on a grassy hill to take in more views until we were saturated with this gem of a beach. Well, it did whet my appetite for more lazy beaches and pearly white lighthouses. So what next? Byron Bay? Maybe, some other Sunday 😉