It’s one of Byron Bay’s most iconic images, a must-do tourist attraction and a great whale watching spot, but the Byron Bay Lighthouse is also a working wonder and the brightest lighthouse of its kind in the southern hemisphere. Be ‘illuminated’ by our celebration, tribute and guide to visiting Australia’s most eastern, and arguably, most beautiful lighthouse.
The Byron Bay Lighthouse is a marvellous place for seeing the humpback whales on their annual migration, so it’s no coincidence that one of the original lighthouse precinct buildings is also home to the Southern Cross University Whale Research Centre. The official whale watching season is May to late October and the Cape Byron headland is the place to view these majestic creatures as they surface, breach and glide on past. Humpback whales like to travel close to the shoreline, and from late winter onwards it’s not uncommon to watch baby humpback calves and their mothers playing in the water – a memory you will keep to the end of your days!
Tip: Also keep an eye out for turtles and dolphins, which can be spotted playing in the waves around the base of the Cape Byron Headland.
When you’re staying in Byron Bay you can’t leave without having done at least one leg, if the not the entire Cape Byron Loop Walk. With the Byron Bay Lighthouse at its peak, meander your way around this 3.7km of walking tracks, boardwalks, resting points and beach paths that all have one thing in common – postcard views of the coastline around the bay. The Pass Cafe is a great place to kick-start your walk with a light breakfast and a coffee (or two) before you hit the track. On your return, reward yourself with a swim at The Pass beach – one of Byron’s most beautiful beaches.
Tip: On your walk, keep a look out for wallabies, bush turkeys and a vast variety of sea birds that all call the Cape Byron Headland home.
You’re welcome to visit the lighthouse 364 days of the year and if you’ve ever been curious about how it feels to be a lighthouse keeper then why not find out! For a small gold coin donation you can be taken on an insider’s tour of the lighthouse and wind your way up the spiral staircase to enjoy the 360 degree views from the top. Operating between 10am and 3pm, tours leave every 20 minutes each day (except Christmas Day) from the Cape Byron Information Centre located a few meters from the lighthouse itself. You’ll also find a kiosk serving great local coffee and snacks along with public facilities and information boards about Cape Byron and the lighthouse. To get there, drive up along Lighthouse Road or go by foot using the Cape Byron Loop Walk.
Tip: If you’re planning on driving, please be aware there is a $7 parking fee.
Once a Danger Now Safe
Look above the cedar doorway of the Byron Bay Lighthouse and you’ll see the Latin phrase Olim periculum-nunc salus which translated means “Once a danger now safe” and is a permanent testament to the important task the lighthouse has performed since the beginning of the 20th century. This phrase is also carved onto Cape Byron’s sister lighthouse The Norah Head Lighthouse on the NSW Central Coast. Popular with onlookers from the first lighting on 1st December 1901, there are now over 500,000 visitors each year to the Cape Byron Lighthouse precinct.
5 Interesting Facts about Byron Bay Lighthouse
- The lighthouse lens is 2 meters in diameter, weighs 8 tonnes and contains 760 pieces of prismatic glass
- The light flashes every 15 seconds and continually revolves even throughout the day when the light itself is out
- Standing tall, the lighthouse is 23 meters to the top of the lantern
- The very last lighthouse keeper was retired in 1989 when the lighthouse became fully automated
- A herd of mountain goats once inhabited the cliffs around the lighthouse, but were relocated in the 1990’s to protect the fragile coastal cliffs (except for the infamous ‘Wategoat’ – a lone female goat who has been on the run ever since.)
If you’re longing to visit Byron Bay and its iconic Byron Bay Lighthouse then the accommodation options here at Suffolk Beachfront Holiday Park are a great starting point for your exploration and we’re always on hand to give you any extra information you may need. We look forward to welcoming you soon.