This place has truly got Catriona stumped. It's gob-smackingly beautiful!
The Macleay Valley on the mid-north coast of New South Wales combines a variety of wonderful beaches and superb scenery. Kempsey, the main town between Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour, serves the farms of the valley and holidaymakers stop there to stock up on supplies.
Crescent Head, Hat Head, South West Rocks, Trial Bay and Smoky Cape are popular places where generations of families return year after year to fish, enjoy the clear waters and white sands, surf, dive and explore caves, reefs and bays.
There are lots of places to stay hotels, motels and camping grounds but certainly one of the more unusual places is Smoky Cape Lighthouse.
Smoky Cape was named in 1770 by Captain James Cook after he saw a great amount of smoke coming from Aboriginal burn-off fires on the headland.
The lighthouse, first proposed in 1886 to ensure safety for increasing coastal traffic, was opened in 1891. It has an unusual octagonal tower and is divided into two stories which have iron floors and staircases. The balcony has an ornate gunmetal railing stamped with Queen Victoria's mark. It was automated in 1988 and de-manned in 1996.
The heritage-listed Head Lighthouse Keeper's House has been turned into a B&B. It has two queen bedrooms with four-poster beds and is a solidly-constructed seven-room house, protected from the weather by solid concrete walls. It is a very comfortable place with brightly-painted walls and locally-made furniture. There are televisions, guest sitting room and a three-course country breakfast each morning.
The assistant lighthouse keeper's homes are two fully self-contained, semi-detached cottages, simply furnished with antique timber, television, video, microwave, CD player, gas barbecue, outdoor furniture and a verandah running around the buildings.
One cottage has three bedrooms, the other two, and both sleep six.
Trial Bay Tourist Park is an interesting place to visit. The old gaol was built in the 19th century and is a grim reminder of days when prison cells were like gloomy crypts and life was a living hell, despite the magnificent location and views.
Built as a public works prison, it was used as an internment camp for Germans during WWI. Inmates could swim, fish and play tennis. It is quite a startling sight from the serene seaside setting of the Arakoon State Recreation Area.