Discovering a quiet, low key, beachside town is becoming rare these days and there is something so relaxing about spending time in one. Red Rock is such a place, located forty kilometres north of Coffs Harbour on the New South Wales Mid North Coast and surrounded by National Parks. It is the kind of place that forces you to unwind, which is what my family did recently.
With Yuraygir National Park stretching sixty kilometres to the north and Solitary Islands Marine Park stretching away to the south, Red Rock is tucked between the two in its own pristine little world. You can stay in basic cabins or tents at the riverfront caravan park and visit Red Wok Chinese Restaurant (at the bowling club) for meals.
The Red Rock itself is a twenty metre high headland composed of 300 million year old jasper, a form of red quartz. It is very fun to wander around this ancient rock formation, especially the rockpools on the headland which are great to explore. The kids were truly amazed by how red the rocks really were and enjoyed playing in a "mermaid cave" they found there.
Just next to the headland is Little Beach, which is great for swimming (just beware of the rip currents) and has a row of shady Pandanus palms to shelter beneath. Just over the headland lies Main Beach which stretches 5 kilometres to the south. This headland was unfortunately the site where many Aboriginal people were driven off the cliff in the past, so please take a moment to honour them as you pass by. You can visit Yarrawarra Aboriginal Cultural Centre to find out more, visit the art gallery and eat lunch in the bush tucker food cafe.
We spent a pleasant morning wandering along the 800 metre Corindi Creek Mangrove Boardwalk, which has some excellent swimming spots and unique views across the mangrove swamps - just don't forget to cover yourself in mosquito repellent before you go. It is a popular kayaking spot, as you can float along the river on the incoming or outgoing tide. There is also a boat launching ramp available and plenty of fish for anglers to catch. The islands in the middle of the river are home to endangered migratory shorebirds, so take your binoculars if you want to spot them too.
Red Rock is definitely a place to come to unwind, slow down and reconnect with nature. It takes around 4 - 5 hours to drive from Brisbane and 6 - 7 hours to drive from Sydney, but once you're there you'll find it difficult to leave.