A Stay At The Historic Seal Rocks Lighthouse Cottages, NSW [Review]

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I have always wanted to stay in a lighthouse, so when I saw I could make this dream a reality at the Lighthouse Cottages in Seal Rock, I jumped at the chance.

Being perched high on a cliff overlooking a rugged coastline seemed exhilarating to me. I also liked the idea of getting nice and cozy inside whilst the wild weather did its thing outside.

As we drove towards our lighthouse accommodation in NSW, I conjured up images of passing ships and distant encounters with migrating wildlife. 

people standing on a front porch

We came close to experiencing a lighthouse stay many times whilst living in Ireland back in 2002, but never quite got there.

Now was our chance.

But did it live up to the expectations? What does staying in a lighthouse cottage really feel like? In this guide, we share our experience staying at the Seal Rock Lighthouse cottages in New South Wales.

Where Is Seal Rocks Lighthouse Cottages?

girl on path heading up to a lighthouse

Seal Rocks Lighthouse cottages is 3 hours north of Sydney and 2 hours south of Port Macquarie on the mid north coast of New South Wales.

They are located on the grounds of the Myall Lakes and Walling National Parks on Worimi Land, and are surrounded by beautiful lakes, beaches, rivers and rock pools.

They are located in the heart of the fishing and surf village of Seal Rocks NSW.

The nearest airport is Taree Airport, which is located 88.5 km from Seal Rocks. The nearest supermarket is in Smith Lakes, a 25-minute from the property and you will have to bring groceries with you.

There is a general store, butcher and bakery in Smith Lakes, but not in Seal Rocks.

About Lighthouse Cottages Seal Rock

The Lighthouse Cottages at Seal Rock are historically significant buildings, built as the Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse keeper and his assistant’s home.

They were designed by colonial architect James Barnet, who is famous for designing several other iconic buildings in Australia, such as the Sydney General Post Office, the New South Wales Museum and Callan Park Lunatic Asylum.

They were built in 1875 at the time the lighthouse was built, and the lighthouse still operates to this day, but it has been automated by electricity since 1987.

The light tower, while not part of the holiday accommodation, is one of only two light towers in Australia that has an external stairway.


a front porch of a house

Each cottage comes kitted out with all the facilities you need for a comfortable stay. They have all the bed and bath linen and toiletries, and a few cooking utensils, but you will need to bring your own food for cooking.

All comfortable cottages offer exquisite garden or sea views, a flat-screen TV and Blu-ray player, and even a washing machine.

If you enjoy a BBQ, there is a grill available for guests to use. They also have a small minibar with a little collection of local wines and beer.

Accommodation Options

There are three cottages at Seal Rocks Lighthouse Cottages that guests can choose from.

Each of the cottages are self-contained and have a kitchen and large dining area, a living area, a sweeping verandah to enjoy the expansive views of the rugged coastline from, and a bedroom.

Note: you do not stay in a part of an operational lighthouse, you just stay in. thelighthouse precinct.

The three cottages are the Head Keeper’s Cottage, which is the largest of the three properties. This charming cottage can only be let for 4 nights on a weekday, or 3 nights on a weekend (Friday – Monday).

The Head Keeper’s Cottage has 3 bedrooms and can sleep up to 8 people. Each room has a queen bed and two rooms have an additional single bed. This is the best option for large groups.

a sign on a picket fence

Then there are the Assistant Keeper’s Cottage South and Assistant Keeper’s Cottage North which are duplicates of each other. Both of these cottages can be let for 3 nights on weekends (Friday to Monday) or 2 or 4 nights on weekdays (either Monday and Tuesday or Wednesday and Thursday).

Both Assistant Keepers’ Cottages have two bedrooms and can sleep up to 6 people. Both rooms have a queen bed and one room has a single trundle bed. There is also a sofa bed in the living area.

If you are looking for a place to stay for up to twelve people, you can rent both north and south cottage and open them up with an adjoining door between them.

Our Experience Staying at Sugar Loaf Point Lighthouse

a man and children standing next to a door

We had been in serious need of a timeless getaway and to spend a relaxing few days together. Just the four of us hanging out, cooking some nice food and enjoying a slice of nature was long overdue.

So when the unique opportunity came up to go and spend a few nights at Sugar Loaf Point Lighthouse in Seal Rocks we jumped at it.

Located upon rugged cliffs in the sleepy fishing village of Seal Rocks, just three hours drive from Sydney, Sugar Loaf Point Lighthouse is heritage listed having been built in 1875.

Whilst we wouldn’t actually be sleeping inside the awe-inspiring lighthouse, the historic lighthouse keeper’s cottages was the next best thing.

Its secluded location was everything we had been looking for with pristine beaches, coastal walks, rockpools, and the opportunity to see migrating whales all on offer.

The road leading up to the lighthouse immediately gave us a feeling of tranquillity as it cut its way through the magnificent trees that boarded the driveway.

car on a narrow road in the forest

Our Accommodation: The Assistant Keeper’s Cottage South

Just below the lighthouse perched high on the cliff are the fully self-contained and historic keeper’s cottages, which are beautifully restored and full of character and warmth.

a lighthouse keeper's white cottage
a porch on a cottage

You have the option of 3 cottages with the head keeper’s cottage containing 3 queen bedrooms and all cottages come with a modern, fully-equipped chef’s kitchen and full of all the conveniences and charm you could wish for. 

Perfect for a family holiday, or grab a group of friends.

We opted for the smaller, but still spacious accommodation, Assistant Keeper’s Cottage South, which easily fit our family of four, but can sleep up to six people.

The decor is comfortable and simple, and there was plenty of space to move around in.

A living room filled with furniture and a window

The cottage had two bedrooms, both with a queen-size bed. They will also provide a crib on request at no extra charge. The cribs are large enough for ages 0-2, and if you want an extra bed there is an additional fee.

A bedroom

The cottage also comes with its own private bathroom with a separate shower and bathtub. It was a great spot to sit with a glass of wine and soak the stresses away after the kids had gone to bed.

A dining room table

The kitchen and dining area was simple and spacious, but would only be suitable for one or two people cooking at the same time.

We managed it with two small children, but if you are a party of adults you might find the space a bit cramped.

It also came with all the cooking amenities you would need such as a kettle, microwave, and pots, pans and cooking utensils.

a woman and a little girl cooking food

For families, they also include high chairs for guests to use.

a man and a baby touching foreheads
plates of food and wine glasses on a table

The garden was our favourite part of the cottage. The South Cottage has incredible views overlooking the ocean, plus a small lawn area for our girls to run around on.

There was also a porch area where we could sit and enjoy the views from.

people playing in a backyard

The living room, like the rest of the cottage, was homely and cosy. There was ample entertaining areas for our kids to enjoy playing with their toys.

The property also comes with boardgames, puzzles and games for kids.

There were some decorative pieces that made it feel homely, and there was enough room for us to spread out.

a man working on a computer while a child holds onto his leg

The highlight of a stay at Sugar loaf Point would have to be the expansive views over Lighthouse Beach. Either sit on your front porch or grab a book (or your laptop) and a coffee and admire the view from your interior sun room.

a beach
a woman working on a computer

Overall, it was a very comfortable stay and provided everything we needed to travel with two small children. The location was quiet and the views were unbeatable.

If you’re looking for an easy place to stay in Seal Rocks as a family, then this isn’t just a convenient stay, but a memorable one.

Best Time to Visit Seal Rocks Lighthouse Cottages

a window with view of beach

Because of the letting hours, you do need to do a bit of planning about when you want to stay. The best time of year to visit is between June to October which is whale season.

This time of year it’s possible to see humpback whales and their newborn calves on their annual migration.

Another popular time to visit is during the beach season, November – May. At this time of year, the ocean is warm and great for swimming. You’ll also find rock pools at Sugarloaf Point and pods of dolphins playing in the bays of Lighthouse Beach.

FAQs About Staying at Seal Rocks Lighthouse Cottage

a beach with lighthouse on hill

What are the Check-In/Check-Out Times?

You can check in from 3pm, and the check out time is 10am.

Do the cottages have parking?

You can drive your car up to the cottages to unload your things, but you must park your car at the onsite guest parking lot, which are a short walk from the cottages.

What is the Wi-Fi like at Seal Rocks Lighthouse Cottages?

There is WiFi service in all cottages, but it runs at “rural speed” which is fine for catching up on emails or Instagramming, but don’t expect fast loading speed for watching Netflix.

Are dogs allowed at the cottages?

No, there are no dogs allowed. This is because the cottages are in Myall Lakes National Park and dogs are not allowed in this national park.

a pathway next to bushes

Things To Do In Seal Rock

Seal Rock is a small town and has only a handful of attractions. The main draw to visiting Seal Rock is the beach, and the peace and quiet.

For those living in big cities like Sydney, you’ll find Seal Rock is the perfect escape from the noise and chaos, and transports you to somewhere where time seems to stand still, and just enjoy being around nature.

It’s an easy stroll into the village of Seal Rocks, which as a very peaceful fishing village, offers only a few boutique shops, restaurants and cafes.

There’s also clear bays for swimming, snorkelling, boating and fishing. Or, you can simply take a nature walk and enjoy the fresh air.

Some of the most unmissable sites you must see are…

The Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse

people standing in front of a lighthouse

As mentioned earlier, Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse is one of the few lighthouses in Australia with an external staircase.

You can walk to the top of the lighthouse by climbing up the stairs, which offer incredible 360 degree views from the top.

a sign on a wall

This is one of the best places to go during whale season, as you can see further out into the ocean where it’s possible to see whales breaching in the distance.

Do be careful when climbing the staircase with small children, as it can get windy on the steps.

Take a Beach Walk

a rocky beach

There are a few lovely nature walks that take you to the fine, white sand beaches of Lighthouse Beach, Boat Beach, and Treachery Headland.

Lighthouse Beach is only a few steps down from the Seal Rocks Lighthouse Cottages and is beautiful but not the best beach for swimming. It has southerly winds which make the waves quite strong and powerful.

Still, there is nothing like listening to the sound of high energy waves pounding the shore.

You can wander the length of this 2km beach and onto Boat Beach, which is protected from the wind. It takes about 15-minutes to walk there from Sugarloaf Point, and passes two craggy gorges with epic rock formations that tower up to 40 meters high.

a woman pushing a stroller through a forest pathway

The walk to Boat Beach passes through the National Park bush land and along a shaded road.

If you keep going from Lighthouse Beach over the national park, you’ll reach Treachery Headland which has amazing views back towards Sugarloaf Point.

The short walk passes through the national park’s coastal rainforest with giant fig trees and native plants and fauna.

You can take a sidetrack down a steep path to Treachery Beach, which is usually secluded and is a great place to spot dolphins playing in the waters.

a beach with wildflowers on the hill in the foreground

Final Thoughts on Staying at Seal Rock Lighthouse Cottages

So there you have it, this is what it’s like to stay at Seal Rock Lighthouse Cottages and to explore Seal Rock.

As you can see, the accommodation is ideal for families, but it’s also a memorable place to stay.

Did it satisfy my dreams of staying in a lighthouse? Yep, it definitely did. Would I stay there again? Maybe. I love Seal Rock for it’s quiet and laid-back vibe, but now that our kids are a little older, I don’t know how much they would enjoy the solitude.

Either way, for those looking for a peaceful and unique coastal escape to nature and simply enjoy being surrounded by ocean, it’s the perfect spot.

a man and children standing on a beach
a beach
a rocky beach

More Travel Ideas for NSW

Can you picture yourself here? Let us know in the comments!

12 thoughts on “A Stay At The Historic Seal Rocks Lighthouse Cottages, NSW [Review]”

  1. How gorgeous does the lighthouse look? And those Cottages…stunning!
    Can imagine sitting there, looking out from the sun room and never wanting to leave again.
    Thanks for sharing your magical stay, hope you all feel so much better for it 🙂

  2. Beautiful! I was just recently talking about the lighthouse at Byron Bay and someone mentioned that I should check out the area around Seal Rocks. After seeing these photos, I see that they were right. I would definitely love to check this place out.

  3. The fact that it took 10 years to get to visit this place, I am sure it was well worth the wait! This place is simply delightful and charming! This would be the perfect place to read or write a book! Please take me with next time! 🙂 I don’t mind babysitting for my keep! lol

    How much are the per/night rates to start in the cottages?

    Sally Stretton

  4. Awesome! I always forget that there are so many amazing places to visit just a few hours drive from Sydney (and for you foreigners reading, that’s close!!). This one will definitely have to go on the list.

  5. Hi Craig, this place looks awesome, thanks for the great write-up. I’m heading up that way next weekend to camp at Treachery Beach, but after reading this am now already planning in my head the next trip – a winter weekend in the lighthouse cottage!

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