Beacon of light – latitude 028° 38.4' S, longitude 153° 38.1' E
As the sun rises or sets on a beautiful day in Byron Bay you can’t help but feel truly blessed if you’re watching it from the historic Cape Byron Lighthouse at Australia’s most easterly point.
One of Byron Bay’s oldest and most iconic citizens is The Lighthouse. Built in 1901, The Cape Byron Lighthouse (which was named by Captain Cook) alerted passing ships to the dangers of this rugged coastline for almost a century. It is perched majestically 94 metres above sea level, stands 18 metres tall and is set against stunning backdrops of dramatic cliff faces, beautiful beachscapes and rolling hinterland.
Did you know The Lighthouse lens weighs 8 tonnes and is one of the most powerful in the southern hemisphere? It’s a dioptric first-order bivalve, double flashing optical lens that contains 760 individual pieces of polished prismatic glass – ahoy me hearties, let there be light!
The Cape Byron Lighthouse is a must-see for all visitors to Byron Bay – specially guided info-tours by National Parks staff are available and what’s more, you can even stay in the heritage-listed Assistant Lighthouse Keepers Cottages and experience the many different day and night moods of life on the cape for yourself. National Parks and Wildlife Services have opened up the doors to these unique cottages and five more well-appointed beachfront cottages scattered from The Pass to Clarkes Beach, but you had better book in advance as they are in very high demand, phone 6620 9300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for tour and accommodation bookings and enquiries.
It is unanimous amongst locals and tourists alike that the most beautiful attribute of the Lighthouse is the 5km scenic walk and varied surf breaks along the way. Nestled to the south of the cape is ‘cosy corner’, a great place to go if you ride a short board or a body board. In the protective waters of the bay to the north you have the iconic surfing beaches of Wategos and The Pass where you can catch some of the worlds best long boarders doing what they do best on the crisp, clean waves.
To take in the whole Cape Byron State Conversation Area experience there is no better way than on foot. From town, walk along Lawson Street east-bound towards The Lighthouse until it becomes Lighthouse Road. Opposite the Captain Cook car park and lookout turn right into Lee Lane from there you will find the entry to the walking track through littoral rainforest and visit special places, such as Palm Valley along the way. Indigenous Australians camped here for more than 1,000 years and it is the oldest midden in the region. You will emerge at the hang-gliders' launching platform where there’s spectacular views of the east coast along Tallows beach.
Continue along the path towards the peak, past the Assistant Lighthouse Keepers Cottages to The Lighthouse. From this vantage point you can take in stunning views over Cape Byron Marine Park of Julian Rocks, playful dolphins, the occasional whale, surfers, kayakers and even the Hot Air Balloons over the hinterland or maybe even the wallabies and the legendary lone mountain goat that inhabit the Cape. Should an organic coffee, ice cream or delicious scone be your reward for the walk or if you decide to drive to The Lighthouse for breakfast or lunch, the Lighthouse Café is the perfect spot to relax, unwind and enjoy everything that is Byron Bay from above.
From The Lighthouse you can wind your way down the northern side towards Little Watego's, where there is another picturesque lookout at the lower headland, then rejoin the walking trail back to Watego’s, The Pass and along Clarkes and Main beaches to the humble township of Byron Bay.