There is something romantic and enchanting about lighthouses that keep us fascinated and sentimental. These beautiful beacons that shed light to guide ships to safe harbours have withstood the ravages of time, through the darkness, treacherous waters, storms, gales and snow. Perched on dramatic and soaring cliffs, these sentinels, oftentimes in remote settings are surrounded with tragic historic tales.

 

Today, modern GPS has replaced lighthouses for navigation. However, they have become major tourist attractions. Some have been turned into hotels, houses, restaurants and museums. One thing is certain though, lighthouses still brighten up the shores with their splendour and beauty.

 

Here, we give you some of the most breathtakingly beautiful lighthouses in Australia.

 

1.     CAPE OTWAY LIGHTSTATION, CAPE OTWAY, VICTORIA

 

Cape Otway LightstationPhoto: Pharus

 

Located a short drive off the Great Ocean Road, Cape Otway Lighthouse is Australia’s oldest working lighthouse, first lit in 1848 and then decommissioned in 1994. It sits on sea cliffs 90 metres above Bass Strait. Today, it is operated as a private business. You can go on a guided tour and hear its history with stories of shipwrecks. Step out onto the balcony for spectacular views and some whale watching. Or Have an afternoon tea at the café. You can even stay overnight in the historic lightkeeper’s accommodation.

 

 

2.  CAPE WICKHAM, KING ISLAND, TASMANIA

 

Cape Wickham Lighthouse

 

Cape Wickham Lighthouse made from enormous stone blocks is the tallest lighthouse in Australia, towering 48 metres. This beautiful beacon well worth visiting was built in 1861 in response to the sinking of the Cataraqui sixteen years earlier. A small cemetery and memorial nearby gives a great inside into the harshness of the environment and is dedicated to those lives lost in various shipwrecks on the north end of King Island, many belonging to those who were shipwrecked in the area after the lighthouse was built.

 

 

3.  CAPE BYRON BAY LIGHTHOUSE, NEW SOUTH WALES

 

Cape Byon LighthousePhoto: Ilya Genkin

 

If you think getting to Australia’s most easterly point is bucketlist-worthy, then go ahead and visit the beautiful Cape Byron Bay Lighthouse. Built in 1899, the lighthouse has become an icon for Byron Bay and has become a must if visiting the area. Take an early morning walk and enjoy the spectacular views of the surrounding beaches, sea cliffs and rainforest. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot dolphins, turtles or even humpback whales. You can also visit the Maritime Museum or take a guided tour and learn about shipwrecks and stories from the sea.

 

 

4.  MACQUARIE LIGHTHOUSE, NEW SOUTH WALES

 

MacquariePhoto: Ilya Genkin

  

If you want to view the oldest lighthouse in Australia with its wonderful light beaming out of it at night, then head over to the beautiful Macquarie Lighthouse on Dunbar Head north of Bondi, near the entrance of the Sydney Harbour. Designed by a convict who was eventually pardoned for a job well-done, it was constructed in 1818 and was rebuilt in 1883. It is also the longest-operating lighthouse in the country. You can explore and visit the grounds year-round, but the lighthouse itself is only open on selected weekends throughout the year.  Grab the chance to go on a guided tour and get rewarded of great views south down the coast, north to Manly, Sydney Harbour, Sydney CBD skyline and harbour bridge.

 

5.  MAATSUYKER ISLAND LIGHTHOUSE, TASMANIA

 

Maatsuyker LighthousePhoto: theaustralian.com.au

 

Located near the south west tip of Maatsuyker Island, atop weather-beaten cliffs, the spectacular Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse in Tasmania is Australia's most southerly lighthouse and the last one to be officially manned by lightkeepers. It was built in 1891 to warn ships coming from west, of the Roaring Forties or strong westerly winds from the Southern Ocean. But in 1996, an automated, solar-powered lighthouse was placed uphill from it to warn over the dangerous Needle Rocks. Today, volunteer caretakers live on the remote Maatsuyker Island to become “keepers of the flame”.

 

 

6.  BUNBURY LIGHTHOUSE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA

 

Bunbury LighthousePhoto: lighthousehotel.com.au

 

With its black and white chequered pattern, this beautiful lighthouse at Point Casuarina in Bunbury is definitely one of Australia’s most unusual looking lighthouse. The design was recommended by a local Scottish sailor who loved Black & White whisky and Scottish terriers. This 27-metre lighthouse adds a certain charm to the town of Bunbury.  Well worth the visit, it has spectacular cityscape and coastal views during the day. At night, the city lights sparkle like stars.  

 

 

7.  SMOKY CAPE LIGHTHOUSE, SOUTH WEST ROCKS, NEW SOUTH WALES

 

Smoky Cape LighthousePhoto: lateralmovements.com

 

Located within the Hat Head National Park in New South Wales and surrounded by spectacular coastal scenery, the Smoky Cape Lighthouse sits on a narrow headland and leads boats towards the entrance to the Macleay River. Built in 1891, this beautiful lighthouse stands higher than any other east coast lighthouse at 140 metres above the sea. The place is a great spot for whale watching, birdwatching and picnicking.  Accommodation is also available at the lighthouse keepers’ cottage.

 

 

8.  CAPE WILLOUGHBY LIGHTSTATION, KANGAROO ISLAND, SOUTH AUSTRALIA

 

Cape Willoughby LightstationPhoto: Steve Parish

 

Built in 1852, the spectacular Cape Willoughby Lighthouse was the first lighthouse built in South Australia. Located at the eastern end of Kangaroo Island, it lights the Backstairs Passage between the mainland and Kangaroo Island. You’ll find sheep-dotted hills as you travel along the winding road leading to this beautiful lighthouse. Go on a guided tour or Heritage Hike and learn Cape Willoughby’s rich maritime history. Atop the lighthouse, you’ll find breathtaking views of the Great Australian Bight. You can also visit the centres museum or even stay in one of the old Light Keeper’s cottages.

 

9.  WILSONS PROMONTORY LIGHTSTATION, SOUTH EAST POINT, VICTORIA

 

WILSONS PROMONTORY LIGHTHOUSEPhoto: daynaa2000.wordpress.com

 

Wilsons Promontory Lighthouse is the southernmost lighthouse on mainland Australia. Located in Wilsons Promontory, Victoria, the beautiful lighthouse guides ships passing through Bass Straight. It was built with the use of convict labour in 1853. Travel light as the walk leading to this beautiful lighthouse is 19 kilometres long. But upon reaching the lighthouse, you’ll be amazed by the spectacular views of the Bass Straight. Today, visitors can stay at cottages next to the lighthouse with fully-equipped kitchen and bathrooms.

 

10.   POINT MALCOLM LIGHTHOUSE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA

 

Point MalcolmPhoto: Emma Simmons

 

The only freshwater inland lighthouse in the Southern Hemisphere, Point Malcolm Lighthouse is on the on the eastern side of the Narrows between Lake Alexandrina and Lake Albert. It is also Australia’s smallest, only 7 metres tall. Lit in 1878, it was used to guide paddle-steamers travelling the River Murray. It was turned off though in 1931, due to dwindling lake traffic. Today, the station is no longer open to visitors.