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Captain Cook's lookout

Hat Head National Park


Captain Cook's lookout is located beneath the Smoky Cape lighthouse near Kempsey on the north coast of NSW. A great spot for picnics and amazing South West Rocks scenic views.

Hat Head National Park
Entry fees
Park entry fees apply

For a scenic treat, make your way to Captain Cook’s lookout at the base of Smoky Cape lighthouse. Pause to feel the salty breeze as you gaze out over the Tasman Sea and Hat Head National Park.

Visit between May and July to see southern right and humpback whales swimming past the headland. Or catch them on their return trip between August and October. Playful dolphins can be seen in the area, too.

As well as being an ideal spot for whale - watchers, Captain Cook’s lookout is great for birdwatchers, too. Although you don’t even have to watch anything at all if you’d prefer – just sit back, enjoy the clifftop picnic area and feel on top of the world. If you feel like something more energetic, try Jack Perkins walking track or the longer Little Bay to Smoky Cape.

For directions, safety and practical information, see visitor info


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Edward River canoe and kayak trail, Murray Valley National Park. Photo: David Finnegan.

Conservation program:

Saving our Species conservation program

Saving our Species is a innovative conservation program in NSW. It aims to halt and reverse the growing numbers of Australian animals and plants facing extinction. This program aims to secure as many threatened species that can be secured in the wild as possible, for the next 100 years. 

Mountain pygmy possum (Burramys parvus). Photo: Cate Aitken

Park info

See more visitor info
The view along the coast and out to sea. Photo:Debby McGerty