International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend (August 17-18) is almost upon us, so we encourage you to organise a rental car in Sydney and pay a visit to as many of these majestic structures as you possibly can.
There are a lot to choose from – according to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), the country's coastal areas are peppered with over 350 lighthouses.
"Lighthouses have been used as an aid to navigation for hundreds of years and are a unique part of Australia’s history and coastline," said Graham Peachey, chief executive officer of the AMSA.
The following are just a few of those located in New South Wales. So make sure you get that lighthouse fanatic in your life into a rental car at the Sydney airport and out to the cliff tops!
This gleaming white structure was the first lighthouse ever to be erected in Australia. It is located at Dunbar Head, which is very close to the entrance of Sydney Harbour.
Macquarie Lighthouse was originally designed by a convict architect called Francis Greenway, and has been welcoming ships to the shores of New South Wales for almost 200 years.
Mr Peachey said that the lighthouse first became operational way back in 1818, but underwent significant construction work in 1883.
You can enjoy the grounds surrounding the lighthouse anytime you like, but the building itself is only open to visitors once every two months. The AMSA says that the next tours of Macquarie Lighthouse will be held on August 25.
These tours will be running between 10am and 4pm, and cost $5 for adults, $3 for children and $13 for a whole family to attend. During the tour, you will learn all about the lighthouse's long and unique history, and will even be given the opportunity to climb all the way to its top!
This involves making your way up approximately 100 stairs – so make sure you've got your walking shoes on, and don't forget to stretch! At its top, you'll not only be greeted by the lighthouse's truly massive lantern, but also an absolutely stunning view of Sydney Harbour and well beyond.
The tours take about 20 minutes to complete, and bookings are absolutely essential – so don't delay!
Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse
While you're in New South Wales, you should also make sure you swing by the Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse. This has also been a guiding light for many a seafarer since the nineteenth century. It was completed in 1875, and has stood at Seal Rocks ever since.
The AMSA reveals that this beautiful lighthouse, which is an impressive 15 metres tall, was last opened to visitors back in 2011. This weekend (August 17-18) it will once again be welcoming eager locals and tourists alike, and free tours up and down it are available to those who book!
The tours will be taking place between 9am and 4pm. They will cover the fascinating history of the building's light, which saw dramatic changes as technology improved.
Originally powered by kerosene, the lamp was given an alternative fuel source – acetylene gas – in 1923. Lighthouses of Australia Inc. reveals that this was replaced by electricity in 1966, and the light became automated in 1987.
The AMSA has announced that lighthouses located at Cape Byron, Montague Island (which can only be accessed by boat) and Byron Bay will also be open during International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend.
In addition to this, you can take tours of the Smoky Cape Lighthouse, which is located at South West Rocks. These are organised on demand – so get demanding!