There is something timeless about lighthouses, something enchanting, beautiful and mysterious. Is it their remote location overlooking a wild, wild sea? Or their strange, solitary forms against the backdrop of a vast sky? Perhaps it is the history of maritime adventures that inspire us?
Whatever the reason, lighthouses have long been a symbol of fascination shared by people all over the world. In fact, the first lighthouse was said to be built by the Egyptians around 280BC (in Australia, Sydney claims the honor with a lighthouse that was built in 1818).
While many lighthouses in Australia have been automated in modern times, they continue to capture the imaginations of many in their new capacity as tourist attractions. The great news is you can immerse yourself in the lighthouse experience by staying overnight in one of these magical historic buildings.
The lighthouse accommodation trail is a truly special way of tasting Australia – and the richness of the nation’s maritime history.
Smoky Cape Lighthouse
Unlike its peers, this lighthouse in New South Wales has an unusual octagonal shape. Perched in the scenic Hat Head National Park amid untouched bushland, Smoky Cape is the most elevated lighthouse on the east coast so guests are treated to the most spectacular of coastal views. Visitors can choose from the privacy of bed and breakfast accommodation at the historic and lovingly restored Head Lighthouse Keepers Cottage or self-catered family accommodation at the Assistant Lighthouse Keepers Cottages. Both options offer all the modern conveniences and comforts. They provide an ideal spot for unwinding, water activities, bushwalking or whale watching.
Point Hicks Lighthouse
Rumor has it that the ghost of a former keeper lives on in this 19th century Victorian lighthouse. If you’re not easily spooked by haunted lighthouses, you’ll be rewarded with an unforgettable experience. For starters, Point Hicks is in the heart of the remote Croajingolong National Park, towards the border of New South Wales. Combine the park’s breathtaking beauty, diverse landscapes and range of recreational activities with the splendor of the lighthouse for a truly remarkable adventure. Accommodation is available for largish groups in a lighthouse cottage or for couples in a bungalow. Guests are expected to bring their own food and linen. Point Hicks is literally a ‘blast to the past’. There are no phones or television, so there’s plenty of time to indulge in board games, conversation or solitude. If you’re lucky, you might even hear the footsteps of the resident ghost.
Lighthouses on Kangaroo Island
One of Australia’s most renowned nature islands, Kangaroo Island is also home to a bounty of historic lighthouses, with accommodation offered at most of them. Your itinerary should include the charming Cape Borda Lightstation within the Flinders Chase National Park (highlights include a restored signal cannon which fires once a day, lovely rock garden and museum) and Cape Willoughby, where you can still see shipwrecks in nearby areas. To get the most out of your visit, take a guided tour and hear more about the remote conditions endured by the early lighthouse keepers. Other must-dos are the square-shaped Cape Borda Lighthouse, the Troubridge Island Lighthouse, the Lowly Point Lighthouse and the Cape du Couedic Lighthouse, all of which offer accommodation for large groups and families. At Cape du Couedic, you’ll be able to see the site where historically ‘the building materials and other supplies were hauled by flying fox to the top of the cliffs’. Nature lovers will enjoy taking in the prime sea views and seeing the abundance of wildlife.