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Rocky Beach

Welcome to the Port Macquarie Coastal Geotrail. Here you will find rare and amazing rocks that tell the story of plate tectonics - how Earth’s crust is formed and how it moves. On this trail you can travel the equivalent of up to 6000 km across the Pacific Ocean of today in just 4 km, from Shelly Beach to Rocky Beach! You’ll see rocks made by volcanoes, by microscopic marine creatures, and by underwater gravity currents. Some of these rocks formed at high pressures and temperatures over 100 km below Earth’s surface, and were later brought to the surface by faulting.

To follow the Geotrail, you can travel in the same direction as the oceanic plate was moving (northwards, from Shelley Beach towards Town Beach), or you can do it in reverse. By foot, it's 4 km one way along the Geotrail. You can also drive to the stops, which have nearby car parks, or catch a bus to/from Sea Acres. Please note that dogs aren't allowed at Sea Acres Nature Reserve and four of the beaches. Fines apply.

Download the  free self-guided NSW GeoTours app onto your phone, with key sites geotagged stop-by-stop along the walk. Access the Port Macquarie Coastal Geotrail tour by downloading the NSWGeoTours app (Android and Apple).

We start the Geotrail by examining the theory of plate tectonics, the most important underlying concept in geology. A  technical resource3MB pdf(PDF, 3MB) is also available looking into what geology is and how the Geotrail was formed - a great resource for school research. Scroll past the map below for more information. 

If you experience any issues with viewing the map below you can click to open the application in a new window.


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You can walk or drive between stops. The 322 bus travels to/from Sea Acres Rainforest Centre. 

The southern entry to the geotrail is at the Sea Acres Rainforest Centre, near the entry to Sea Acres National Park.

To get there: From Port Macquarie head south for about 4 km along Pacific Drive. Sea Acres Rainforest Centre is on the left just after Shelly Beach Road. 

The northern entry to the geotrail is at the southern end of Town Beach.

To get there: From Port Macquarie head east along William Street, turn left into Stewart Street. Car parking can be found along the beach.

You can also drive to the stops, which have nearby car parks.

 

Sea Acres/Shelly Beach

  • Car parking (including accessible)
  • Toilets
  • Picnic tables
  • BBQ facilities
  • Water bottle refilling

John Downes Park

  • Car parking
  • Toilets
  • Picnic tables
  • BBQ facilities
  • Playground

Flynns Beach

  • Car parking
  • Picnic tables
  • BBQ facilities
  • Water bottle refilling

Rocky Beach lookout

  • Car parking
  • Picnic tables
  • Water bottle refilling

Windmill Hill Reserve

  • Picnic tables

Oxley Beach

  1. Picnic tables
  2. BBQ facilities
  3. Water bottle refilling

Town Beach

  • Car parking (including accessible)
  • Toilets (including accessible)
  • Picnic tables
  • Water bottle refilling
  • Playground

 

MyTour_Stop1_1536x864.jpg At the southern end of Shelly Beach is a sign about the geotrail. From this sign you can walk 100 m southeast (Stop 1A), where you will find basalt as pillows and dykes. A further 80 m to the southeast (Stop 1B) there's basalt with large crystals.

GPS locations are only accurate to around 10 to 20 m, so you might have to hunt around to find the geological features!

Basalt at Shelly Beach Basalt pillows Basalt dykes Fine-grained dark basalt Dyke Chilled dyke

MyTour_Stop2_1536x864.jpg At the southern end of Shelly Beach there's a sign about the geotrail. From this sign, walk about 120 m north to Stop 2A, where you will see chert, contacts between chert and basalt, and tight folds within the chert. Walk another 120 m north to Stop 2B and you will see more outcrops of banded and folded chert.

Contact between basalt & chert Tiny skeletons Basalt & chert layers Folded chert Conodont fossils Chert beds

MyTour_Stop3_1536x864.jpg From the car park, the walking trail leads down about 80 metres to the southern tip of the beach, where the rocks of interest are exposed.

Ocean trench fill Thin beds of mudstone & siltstonel Zig-zag folds Thin turbidites Siltstone under the microscope Contact between sediments

MyTour_Stop4_1536x864.jpg From the car park at the southern end of Flynns Beach, walk south about 160 m to the small headland at the southern end of the beach.

 

Serpentinite Serpentinite under the microscope Find a phacoid Serpentinite and mantle rock Rocks under stress

MyTour_Stop5_1536x864.jpg From Windmill Hill Reserve you can look down to the southeast towards rock exposures on Rocky Beach. Note that access to Rocky Beach is difficult and dangerous. There are plans to construct a viewing platform on Windmill Hill to allow a better view of these special rocks!

 

Blue and green boulders Rocky Beach overview Eclogite under the microscope Subduction and rocks from depth Blueschist with phengite Blueschist under the microscope Eclogite

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More Information

To make your walk safe and enjoyable:

  • Take plenty of water and sun protection (sunscreen and hats)
  • Do not leave valuables in the car
  • Keep to the track, beware of traffic and keep away from cliff edges
  • Please take your rubbish or use bins provided

How to get there

You can walk or drive between stops. The 322 bus travels to/from Sea Acres Rainforest Centre. 

The southern entry to the geotrail is at the Sea Acres Rainforest Centre, near the entry to Sea Acres National Park.

     To get there: From Port Macquarie head south for about 4 km along Pacific Drive. Sea Acres Rainforest Centre is on the left just after Shelly Beach Road.

 The northern entry to the geotrail is at the southern end of Town Beach.

     To get there: From Port Macquarie head east along William Street, turn left into Stewart Street. Car parking can be found along the beach.

You can also drive to the stops, which have nearby car parks.

 

This page was last updated on: 30 April 2018