Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Arakoon State Conservation Area

Trial Bay Gaol (1886), which is on the Register of the National Estate, is surrounded by rocky foreshores and pleasant sandy beaches. Wander through the museum, explore the ruins or relax on the beach.

This park is near...
  • South West Rocks (3 km)
Best access routes
Arakoon State Conservation Area is on the mid-north coast of NSW, approximately midway between Sydney and Brisbane. It's 3 kilometres east of South West Rocks, on Laggers Point. Turn off the Pacific Highway at Kempsey if you're coming from the south, or 1 kilometre past Clybucca on to Plummers Lane from the north. Both roads follow the Macleay River to South West Rocks, where signposting will lead the way to the park.
Road quality: paved

Native plant communities

Eucalypt forests
Wet Eucalypt forests grow in sheltered creeks and gullies and dense stands of paperbarks ocur along creek edges where the soil has become waterlogged.
Exposed areas, such as the north and west faces of Monument Hill, provide a dramatic contrast with the wetter areas and are covered in low stunted scrub consisting of Casuarina, Banksia, geebung and dogwood species. The notable dagger hakea, with its unusual woody fruits and spiky leaves, is also present. The extreme exposure to the salt and wind takes its toll on this vegetation.

The rocky coastal fringe is dominated by pandanus palm, horsetail she oak and the succulent herb known as pigface.

Native animals
Walking tracks around Monument Hill and Little Bay meander through various vegetation communities where swamp wallabies and echidnas are often seen. During September and October you can often see humpback whales just offshore on their return journey to Antarctica.

Threatened mammals in the park include brush-tailed phascogales and squirrel gliders.

During the spring, when the she-oaks fruit, glossy black cockatoos come in to feed on the ripe seeds. Despite its small size, Arakoon harbours several threatened species, including the osprey and glossy black cockatoo.

Geology & landscape

The state conservation area stands on geological formations made up mainly of a type of granite known as Smokey Cape adamellite. This granite was quarried to build the gaol and the breakwater


Author: M.H. Monroe
Last Updated 04/01/2015
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