Hat Head National Park

Exploring cultural heritage in the park

Cultural sites

Smoky Cape Lighthouse

Smoky Cape Lighthouse in Hat Head National Park (Image: M. van Ewijk/DECC)Standing high on a narrow headland, Smoky Cape Lighthouse is surrounded by the stunning coastal scenery of Hat Head National Park. The lighthouse itself is as beautiful as the views – check out its winding staircase and octagonal tower.

Built in 1891, this heritage lighthouse is one of the last designed by the Colonial Architect, James Barnet. Smoky Cape headland was so named by Captain Cook after he saw Aboriginal fires burning there in 1770. Guided tours of the lighthouse are available if you would like to find out more.

Smoky Cape is a fantastic spot for whale watching, birdwatching and picnicking, and you can stay overnight at the lighthouse keepers’ cottage. Don’t miss the views at nearby Captain Cook’s lookout.

Activities: whale watching, birdwatching, picnicking, playing and socialising

Location:  shown on Smoky Cape map

Getting there: Smoky Cape lighthouse is in the Smoky Cape precinct of Hat Head National Park. To get there:

  • Take Arakoon Road from South West Rocks
  • Turn into Lighthouse Road and follow the signs to Smoky Cape Lighthouse

Road access: Sealed road - 2WD vehicles.

Bookings: Guided lighthouse tours are available on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 1pm – contact (02) 6566 6301.

Smoky Cape Lighthouse Keepers' Cottages (2 bedrooms, up to 6 people)

Wheelchair access: medium

Assistance may be required to access this area.

Smoky Cape Lighthouse in Hat Head National Park (Image: M. van Ewijk/DECC)Just 5km from the bustle of South West Rocks, Smoky Cape Lighthouse Keepers’ Cottages are a historic landmark with a twist. Not only can you visit for lighthouse tours, but a bed and breakfast offering means you can also stay in the lighthouse keeper’s cottage, where two comfortable rooms offer a relaxing escape right near the beach. For larger groups, two additional self-contained cottages offer accommodation for six people each — perfect for family get-togethers or wedding parties.

Indulge in a mini getaway or settle in for a week-long holiday full of swimming, long walks, and tours around the local region. Situated high above Smoky Beach, the lighthouse also offers superb whale watching during the winter, meaning this is a compelling destination at any time of year. The cottages are close enough to civilization to offer easy access to cafes and shops, but far enough to offer privacy.

Activities: walking, swimming, whale watching, fishing, surfing

Getting there: Smoky Cape Lighthouse Keepers’ Cottages are located in Hat Head National Park. To get there:

From the south:

  • Take Pacific Highway and exit at Kempsey, following the road to South West Rocks. 
  • Follow the signs to Smoky Cape Lighthouse

From the north:

  • Take Pacific Highway and exit south of Clybucca Service Station, following the road to South West Rocks. 
  • Follow the signs to Smoky Cape Lighthouse

Road access: Sealed road - 2WD vehicles.

Facilities: accommodation

Accommodation fees:

  • Off-peak: Assistant Lighthouse Keepers Cottages: $500 (2 weeknights) Head Keepers Cottages: $220 (couple weeknight), $150 (single). Includes breakfast.
  • Peak: Assistant Lighthouse Keepers Cottages: $1,850 (7 nights) Head Keepers Cottages: $250 (couple weekend), $175 (single). Includes breakfast.

Bookings: For bookings, please call 02 6566 6301, email smokycapelighthouse@bigpond.com, or visit the website.