The Best Lighthouses In And Around Sydney

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Visiting a lighthouse ticks all the family fun day out boxes: lots of exercise, fresh air aplenty, beautiful views, low-cost entertainment and an interactive history lesson even too-cool-for-school kids will love! Want ideas for a lighthouse adventure worthy of an Enid Blyton tale? Check out these locations in and around Sydney.

Norah Head Lighthouse, Central Coast


Image Source: Norah Head Lighthouse

If you’re after an in-depth lighthouse experience that brings history to life, put Norah Head Lighthouse – located about an hour and a half away from Sydney – at the top of your list. The best part about visiting Norah Head Lighthouse is the kid-friendly 30-minute tour. Look at fascinating artifacts (such as giant light globes, a 700-lens optics prism and a lighthouse bell) and climb all the way up the spiral staircase to the very top, where you can enjoy a magnificent view of the central coast.

Location: 40 Bush St, Norah Head
For more information, visit the website.

Cape Bailey Light, Botany Bay

It may not be the biggest lighthouse in Sydney, but Cape Light in Botany Bay certainly serves a big role in lighting up the south head of Botany Bay. As one of the younger lighthouses in Sydney (it opened in the 1950s), Cape Bailey Light is completely solar-powered and still operational today. While you can actually go inside the lighthouse, the walk along the Cape Bailey Coast Walk makes for a great day out.

Location: Cape Baily Track, Kurnell
For more information, visit the website.   

Barrenjoey Lighthouse, Palm Beach

A trip to Barrenjoey Lighthouse is the perfect active activity for kids who don’t mind a bit of a climb. Once you enter the car park on the Pittwater side of the peninsula, you need to walk uphill for about 1.5km to the top, or for those who want a challenge, take the much steeper Smugglers track. Once you reach the lighthouse, you’ll be rewarded with a breathtaking 360-degree view of the Pacific Ocean, Hawkesbury River and Palm Beach. If you’d like to learn more about the history of this 138-year-old lighthouse and the nearby keeper’s cottage, guided tours are available every Sunday from 11-3pm, no bookings required.

Location: 1199D Barrenjoey Rd, Palm Beach
For more information, visit the website.

Hornby Lighthouse, Sydney Harbour National Park

It’s hard to miss this brightly striped lighthouse, glistening like a giant candy cane against the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean. Built in 1858 after the tragic shipwreck of the Dunbar at South Head, Hornby Lighthouse is a great place for imaginations to run wild, thanks to the historic gun emplacements at the historic keeper’s cottage. The lighthouse is accessible via the South Head Heritage Trail, which is a great scenic walk to do with the whole family. Bring your binoculars in winter and you may even spot a whale along the way!

Location: S Head Heritage Trail, Watsons Bay
For more information, visit the website.

Macquarie Lighthouse, Vaucluse

As Australia’s first and longest operating navigational light designed by famous convict architect Francis Greenway, Macquarie Lighthouse is an absolute must-see. Take the kid-friendly 20-minute tour and you’ll get to climb 100 steps up the spiral staircase to the lantern room, see the amazing Fresnel lens (known as ‘the invention that’s saved a million ships’) and enjoy panoramic views of Sydney from the balcony. Just make sure you plan in advance, as tours run every two months on a Sunday and pre-booking is essential.

Location: Old South Head Rd, Vaucluse
For more information, visit the website.

Kiama Lighthouse, Kiama

Got some time up your sleeve and fancy a longer lighthouse adventure down the South Coast? Then check out Kiama Lighthouse, situated in one of the most picturesque and tourist-friendly spots in NSW. Erected in 1887, Kiama Lighthouse is still operational and features a museum in the adjacent Keeper’s House. It’s also great to include in a day trip around the sights of Kiama, especially as it’s right next to the famous Kiama Blowhole, a sea-cliff cavern that spouts water up to 20 metres in the air!

Location: Blowhole Point Road, Kiama
For more information, visit the website.

Grotto Point Lighthouse, Balgowlah Heights

File this one under ‘Cute Hidden Gems’. As one of the smaller lighthouse structures in Sydney, Grotto Point Lighthouse in Balgowlah Heights is known charmingly as the Disney Castle, thanks to its fairy-tale-like appearance. You can access Grotto Point Lighthouse via a kid-friendly bushwalk along the Mania Scenic Walkway, or park 500-metres away along Cutler Road. Once you reach the lighthouse, you’ll be treated to scenic views out to the Tasman Sea and if you’re lucky, spot a cormorant or white-breasted sea eagle in the sky.

Location: Lighthouse Track, Balgowlah Heights
For more information, visit the website.

Flagstaff Hill Lighthouse, Wollongong

Another good road trip destination just outside of Sydney, Flagstaff Hill Lighthouse in Wollongong is an active lighthouse and icon of the Wollongong cityscape. Located in the Heritage-listed harbour precinct, the 12-metre high lighthouse has been in operation since the 1900s and was the first fully automatic electric lighthouse in Australia. Did you know that Wollongong actually has a second lighthouse? Located just a stone's throw north of Flagstaff Hill Lighthouse, Wollongong Breakwater Lighthouse (also known as Old Wollongong Lighthouse) was built in the 1800s and restored in 2002. 

If you’re visiting the lighthouses on the weekend, look out for the local ice cream vans that frequent the area to satisfy your sweet tooth! 

Location: Endeavour Dr, Wollongong
For more information, visit the website.

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