Our lighthouse obsession continues with a Sunday adventure planned to climb yet another. This week our plans took us to Macquarie Lighthouse (also known as South Head Upper Light) at Dunbar Head, Vaucluse which is Australia’s first and longest operating navigational light.
The current lighthouse was built in 1881, although a navigational aid has been at the site since 1791 – within a year of the First Fleet arriving. Originally designed by famous convict architect Francis Greenway, the first Macquarie Lighthouse was constructed in 1818. Greenway was concerned about the quality of the original sandstone, and as he predicted it started to rapidly deteriorate with large stones falling from as early as 1823. By 1878 the state of the lighthouse was terrible and the NSW Government realised they needed to rebuild. Macquarie Lighthouse was rebuilt in 1881 from a design by James Barnet using Greenway’s original plans but making it stronger and with a crown built larger to accommodate a large lantern room and the larger apparatus.
The lighthouse was fully automated in 1976. The keepers were eventually withdrawn in 1989 although two of the original keeper’s cottages to each side of the lighthouse.
So….our adventures. We arrived at around 10.30 ready to climb. We found a parking space right out front and walked the 10 metres to the front door. Quite a different walk compared to the Barrenjoey Lighthouse walk! There were a lot of people mulling around the front with a tour guide. Gosh no! we thought. Looks like we missed the first tour. So we entered one of the exhibit rooms and looked at all the different lights on display.
Once the crowd dispersed we made our way to the ticket room (take the left door when you get there) only to discover that you need to book at least two months in advance to actually get a chance at a tour. A month! How could this be! We have since learned that there are tours every two months and bookings are essential. You can book here if you are interested. Well that will teach us to research our destination!
I’m forever looking for the silver lining in every setback. We had a little tour of the grounds right down to the cliff face before hoping on our phone to check out what else was in the area – and oh what a delight we found. Watch out for that post coming soon 😉
Interested in reading about our other Lighthouse experiences? Click your preference below: