Cape Byron Lighthouse

Posted on 20 Jun 2016


Sitting stoically on mainland Australia’s most easterly point, 118-metres above sea level is Cape Byron Lighthouse, which is as famous as Byron itself. It really is a “must see” experience for guests staying at Elements, not only due to the stunning 360-degree panoramic views it provides but also the fascinating historical tale it tells. 

According to its custodian, Cape Byron Trust, Charles Harding built the lighthouse in 1901 using prefabricated, white concrete blocks. The first-order optical lens, which weighs eight-tonnes, was made by French physicist and engineer Augustin-Jean Fresnel, who pioneered his famous ‘large aperture and short focal length’ lens design especially for lighthouses.

“In 1956, the light became Australia’s most powerful, at 2,200,00 cd when it was converted to mains electricity,” the Trust explains. “At the same time the clock mechanism was replaced by an electric motor. An auxiliary fixed red light is also exhibited from the tower to cover Juan and Julian Rocks to the north-east.”

Attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors each year – either on foot via the Cape Byron Walking Track, or by car – the lighthouse provides sweeping coastal and hinterland views, and a birds-eye view of the township of Byron. Most days you can see the resident pods of dolphins swimming in the azure Cape Byron Marine Park waters below and migrating whales between the months of June and October.

Open between 9am and 5pm, the newly renovated Lighthouse Café now features a cantilevered timber deck where you can bask in the picturesque ocean views while indulging in a coffee, cake or ice cream.

There are numerous ways to reach the lighthouse and one of them is the leisurely walk that starts in front of the Byron Bay Surf Club, passes Captain Cook Lookout, before winding through The Pass and Wategos Beach. The walk covers about 3.5=kilometres and takes around 90 mins, depending on your level of fitness. (There is a shorter route that bypasses The Pass and Wategos.)

Be sure to look out for local wildlife – on land and in the ocean – including wallabies, bush turkeys, snakes, sea birds, dolphins and turtles.

To get a better insight into the lighthouse’s history, and the keepers who once cared for it, the Trust offers a range of tours that take you right up to the very top. There is a shorter, gold coin donation tour run by volunteers, or a longer, guided walk that ends up at beautiful Wategos Beach.

Either way, you’re bound to leave with a greater appreciation of our iconic lighthouse – and some stunning photos.

Take a virtual tour of Cape Byron with imagery captured by the Google Street View Trekker.




Location: Latitude 028° 38.4′ S. Longitude 153° 38.1′ E

Operator: Australian Maritime Safety Authority

Exhibited: 1901

Construction: Concrete Blocks

Character: Flash white every 15.00 seconds

Light Source: 1000W 120 Volt tungsten halogen

Power Source: Mains Power

Intensity: 2,200,000 cd

Elevation: 118 metres

Range: 27 nautical miles (50 kilometres)

Height: 18 metres

Custodian: Cape Byron Trust



Byron Headland

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