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North Smoky Beach - Hat Head National Park

Home > Port Macquarie > Beaches | Escape the City | National Parks | Nature | Walks
by Postcards from Shayne (subscribe)
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Published January 15th 2018
Welcome to a beach paradise
A visit to Smoky Cape Lighthouse is essential when you are visiting the Hat Head National Park or nearby South West Rocks.

North Smoky Beach Hat Head National Park
View of North Smoky Beach from the lighthouse

At the lighthouse you will enjoy stunning views along the coastline, from Hat Head in the south to Green Island in the north. But it was a little beach to the north of the lighthouse which captured our attention. With its white sandy beach and inviting aquamarine coloured water we wondered how we could get down there for a closer look.

To our surprise we found it was actually quite simple. The stunning beach is named North Smoky Beach and it can be easily accessed via a short bush walking track.

North Smoky Beach Hat Head National Park
Your walk starts here

Access is via the Jack Perkins Walking Track, located within the park at Captain Cooks Lookout, near the entrance to the lighthouse.

The track is approximately 800 metres one way. At the start of the track is a sign to advise and warn you that this beach is not patrolled and may have strong currents, unexpected large waves, shallow water and / or a drop off.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service who maintain the track describe the walk as moderate (Grade 4) with bushwalking experience recommended.

We found it to be a very scenic walk which was fairly gentle and easy on the way down, but required a lot more energy on the way back up.

North Smoky Beach Hat Head National Park
The start of the Jack Perkins Walking Track

The vegetation along the track includes dry woodland and rainforest plants such as casuarinas (she-oaks), tropical cabbage tree palms, lush ferns and liana vines.

Parts of the track are open to the sunlight while in other sections you will be sheltered under the canopy in dappled light. However, there were a few spots along the way which allow you to glimpse the lighthouse above and the beach below.

If you are lucky you may see some wildlife on this walk, such as wallabies, birds or perhaps even a snake sunning itself on the track. Unfortunately the only wildlife we saw were plenty of spiders in their webs amongst the trees along the track. And there were also plenty of annoying mosquitoes (insect repellent is highly recommended for this walk).

Towards the end of the track there is a neat little boardwalk section offering tantalising glimpses of the beach between the foliage.

North Smoky Beach Hat Head National Park
Welcome to paradise

For me it's impossible not to be impressed with this picture perfect beach. With tropical cabbage tree palms lining the perimeter, fine white clean sand, sparkling water in gorgeous shades of aqua and blue, rocky headlands and the handsome lighthouse standing watch above you.

North Smoky Beach Hat Head National Park
North Smoky Beach - I'm impressed

We took a picnic lunch with us and found a shady spot on the beach sitting on some large rocks before going in to the water for a refreshing dip.

There are some rock pools to explore and you can even get around the rocks and explore the beach further along to the north. On the day we visited there were only a handful of other people around so there is every chance you will have the beach to yourself.

North Smoky Beach Hat Head National Park
Explore the rock pools

We didn't know it at the time, but I have since read online that North Smoky is a "clothing optional" beach. This would certainly explain the abandoned swimming costume we found draped across a branch on the beach.

We spent about an hour or so on the beach, enjoying the water, playing beach cricket and taking plenty of photos of this beautiful spot.

Our walk back up the track was not as much fun as the walk down and would probably be difficult for less mobile people, but this beach is definitely worth the effort.

What to take:
✔ Plenty of drinking water
✔ Sunscreen
✔ Insect repellent
✔ Hat
✔ Swimming costume (optional)

At Captain Cooks Lookout you will find a park with toilets, picnic tables and information signs.

For more information regarding the Jack Perkins Walking Track please click here.

Free parking is available at the Smoky Cape Lighthouse. For information about getting there please click here.

North Smoky Beach Hat Head National Park
Smoky Cape Lighthouse

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Why? Take a bush walk to a beach paradise
When: All year round
Where: Smoky Cape Lighthouse
Cost: Free
Your Comment
Putting this on my to do list for next visit south, thanks Postcard!
by Kate Blake (score: 3|1497) 1665 days ago
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