We never thought we would be lucky enough to score a campsite at the popular Trial Bay campground. I had already established that the camp sites were well and truly booked out months in advance and had put visions of pitching a tent on the edge of the ruins of an old prison out of my mind. Even so, we thought it was worth a look at the old gaol anyway as part of the road trip.
It was a surprise then to find that there was an overflow campground with several empty sites offering what we thought were even better views over the coastline than those booked out months earlier.
This is one of the most interesting campgrounds we have visited. The Trial Bay Gaol walls tower above us to the rear of our campsite looking forbidding against the clear blue sky, while big coffee coloured cliffs form a a jagged natural barrier to the sea.
We spend an hour scrambling over rocks and taking in the spectacular ocean views.
In the morning we make the short drive to the Smoky Cape Lighthouse. The path takes you past charming little cottages that once belonged to the lighthouse keeper and the keeper’s assistant. The cottages are now used as a B&B and no doubt have many guests captivated by the romanticism of living as a lighthouse keeper once did.
That afternoon we got a taste for life on the inside by touring the Trial Bay Gaol. The gaol was built purely to supply prisoner labour to the building of a breakwater in the 1880s but was later used to lock-up German internees during World War I.