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Macquarie Lighthouse

  • Attractions
  • Vaucluse
Macquarie Lightstation with a blue sky background.
Photograph: Supplied

Time Out says

Meet a historic nautical wayfinder on your next coastal walk

Australia’s longest standing, operational navigation light was built on the precipice of Dunbar Head in Vaucluse in 1818. The original structure was designed by convict architect Francis Greenway with a clockwork-powered mechanism that shot a beam 35 kilometres out to sea. As Greenway predicted, the low-quality sandstone foundations deteriorated quickly, and a new lighthouse resembling the much-admired design was built on the site in 1883 (so maybe that ‘oldest lighthouse’ title is a bit of a stretch), along with the lighthouse keeper’s and assistant’s residence that stand today. You can wander around the structures that make up Macquarie Lightstation any day of the week, or join a tour for $3-$5 on selected Sundays. You’ll get to climb the 100 steps to the now electronic lantern room to see the Fresnel lens that still guides ships today, and look out to sea and back towards the hazy city skyline.

Getting there from the CBD: Take the ferry from Circular Quay to Watsons Bay and walk the 1.5km up to the site, or otherwise brave the traffic on the 20-minute drive. 

Olivia Gee
Written by
Olivia Gee


Old South Head Road
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