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Offshore island or stack at Red Rock, note the recumbent fold in the west face of the stack
Very contorted and folded rocks on the headland
Red jasper containing pebbles and glossy manganese oxide coating
Red jasper containing pebbles and glossy manganese oxide coating
Red Rock Headland

Red Rock Headland

Latitude -29.981163, Longitude 153.23194

Located in the Mid North Coast Region of NSW, nearest large town Coffs Harbour

Source: Bob and Nancy's Geological Tour Site

Link to Detailed Map

There is a very detailed self tour of Red Rock Headland located on the above website. The following is an overview of the site.

Red Rock headland is a significant place to the local Gumbaingirr people as it was a massacre site where members of their tribe were driven off the headland. The place is known to them as Blood Rock and many members of the tribe's descendants now avoid the area as a consequence.


The rocks that make up the headland at Red Rock are named the Redbank River beds. They comprise fine grained sedimentary rocks that were deposited in the ocean below wave and most current activity. Deposition possibly took place near an underwater volcanic vent.

The Redbank River beds are very strongly deformed. They are folded and faulted and have been forced into very contorted shapes.

These rocks are an enigma to geologists; they occur only at Red Rock Headland. We do not know if they are older or younger than the rocks that outcrop elsewhere in the Coffs Harbour district. Their age may range from Silurian to Carboniferous, spanning an interval from about 420 million years to 350 million years old.

Some geologists have concluded that the unique rock types and deformation features of the Redbank River beds at Red Rock Headland are so different from other nearby rocks in the Coffs Harbour district, that they must have been deposited and deformed elsewhere prior to emplacement in their current location. One possible explanation is that the Red Rock headland is a huge block of rock which was broken from its original site of deposition and deformation, and dropped into deeper water where it was engulfed by younger sediment. Another possibility is that these rocks may represent a small preserved portion of the older rocks which could occur below the surrounding rocks in the district.

North of Red Rock Headland there is an obvious change in the coastline character, in line with a change in geology, moving out of the New England Fold Belt. North of Red Rock Headland there are very few headland protrusions, and instead the coastline is of low relief and comprises long stretches of sandy beach and coastal dunes (Short, 2007).

Getting There

Red Rock is a small village located on the coast approximately 39km north of Coffs Harbour. To get to the headland, drive through the caravan park to the nearby parking area. There are tracks leading to the lower headland (be careful as heavy seas remove the sand at the base of the headland and can make it inaccessible).

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