Cape Otway Lightstation

Cape Otway Lightstation: Hours, Address, Cape Otway Lightstation Reviews: 3.5/5

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Cape Otway Lightstation

Cape Otway Lightstation
Military Museums • Speciality Museums • Points of Interest & Landmarks • History Museums
Temporarily closedClosed until further notice
Open for pre-booked tours and accommodation only. Climb to the top of the tower and enjoy amazing views 90 metres above the ocean. Built in 1848 the Lighthouse is the oldest remaining lighthouse on mainland Australia. Discover the important role of the Telegraph Station built in 1859. Learn of the role of the Radar Bunker protecting this coast in WWII. A range of accommodation suiting couples, families/groups is also available.
Suggested duration
1-2 hours
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1,029 reviews
Very good

melbourne6,001 contributions
Much more than the iconic lighthouse
Jun. 2021
The Cape Otway Lightstation is easy to find. There is a big sign along The Great Ocean Road about 15 - 20 minutes drive out of Apollo Bay as you wind your way through the rainforest if you are heading westward. It is only a few hundred metres past Mait's Rest. The road is sealed all the way to a large car park. I'd say it's about another 15 - 20 minutes to get there. The road passes through a dead forest after it exits the rainforest. On either side as far as they eye can see stand the trunks and big branches of dead trees.

There are gates on the road adjacent to the ticketing office and gift shop. The building is decorated with some signs that tell a little about the lighthouse. Inside there is a map with the layout and suggested walking route through the facility. The lady behind the counter gave a brief explanation of the what's and where's to the fellow in front of me. She asked me if I'd heard it all. I had, enough of it anyway.

There is an entry fee of $19.50 (per adult, there are concessions for children and seniors). They only accept electronic payments. I don't know if this is always the case or if it's specifically covid related. She didn't acknowledge my joke about the payments accepted in 1950. Maybe she's heard it before. Maybe she hears it every day, several times.

The WWII radar station was closed at the time I visited, as was the Indigenous Story area. There are accommodation facilities there, too, which I obviously couldn't explore as I wasn't staying there.

The first stop is the Dinosaur Shed. The walls are lined with informative posters, there's about a half a dozen display cases, and there is a big screen tv at the far wall showing documentary videos with a good number of chairs to sit and watch. I didn't count them but I'd say ten, maybe a dozen. I'm interested in dinosaurs, paleontology, and archeaology, so this was right up my alley.

I began reading the posters but I'd barely got through the first couple when the looping video finished so I took a seat to watch from the start. The video was fascinating. There is a very significant paleontological site at the base of the cliffs where the lighthouse is situated. The documentary contained both general information about dinosaurs and the ancient landscape that was once part of the supercontinent, Gondwana. I learned a lot.

When the documentary finished another one started. As I'd been sitting there for quite some time I decided I'd skip the second video. I had much to do that day and it was the day after the Winter Solstice, so daylight hours were short. I returned to my reading of the posters and looking at the display cases. There is a lot to read and see there, if you are interested in dinosaurs. I was only a little past the halfway point in the room when not only had the second documentary finished, but the first one had played through again. I sat down again and watched the second documentary.

The second documentary is much shorter than the first one, and it goes into much more detail about the dig at Dinosaur Cove and the fossils they found there. When that finished I returned to the posters and display cases. I read and looked at everything. I was in there for at least an hour, I think, probably more. Many people popped their heads in while I was there. I didn't retain all of the information but I still learned a lot.

The next stop is the Telegraph Station. There were a few people there so I went to the lookout nearby first, instead. Social distancing, you know. The lookout is for whale spotting and a plaque had some information about the types of whales that may be seen in the region. I didn't see any whales.

I went back to the Telegraph Station a few minutes later. The walls are covered in information and there is a working telegraph (by working I mean moving, it's recieving a message on loop, there's no-one at the other end sending anything new). Each room has information on the walls and items on display. I found the Battery Room interesting. After I'd explored about half a dozen rooms my interest waned, the clock was ticking, my tummy was starting to rumble, and I merely popped my head into the remaining rooms.

I followed the path and the next thing I came to was the Cape Otway Weather Station. This is a real, live weather station which is used to make weather forecast for the region. I've seen weather stations before but I've never stood 1 metre away from one before. I'd actually checked the weather forecast that morning and this was the station that had provided the information it was based on. When I checked the weather forecasts on subsequent days I felt a kind of connection to that little piece of machinery. I called it Ottie.

The path then leads towards another building which has been converted into a cafe. To the left the path leads to the lighthouse, and to the right it leads to other buildings and, eventually, back to the admin/gift shop building and the car park. There is a sculpture of a kangaroo at the intersection of the paths, constructed from pieces of machinery. I thought it was worthy of a photo.

The path down to the lighthouse is very familiar to me. I'd never been there before but I've seen pictures of it many times, definitely on postcards, and probably in books, on the internet, and probably on tv, too. It is a famous landmark, the squiggly path with white timber rails leading down to lighthouse. I felt obliged to take a couple of photos as I made my way down.

I had to wait for a few minutes to enter the lighthouse, numbers are restricted due to the pandemic. I didn't mind. I didn't have to wait long, I'd planned the whole trip to coincide with a quiet time with no international tourists, before the school holidays, during winter.

The interior of the lighthouse and the staircase leading up to the apparatus itself and the balcony is lined with information about the lighthouse, signalling, and ship wrecks. I reflected that I'm not sure where the Surf Coast ends and the Ship Wreck Coast starts but I must surely have been on the Ship Wreck Coast now.

The view from the balcony is great but I didn't stay long. I looked, took a couple of photos, including a couple looking up into the apparatus, but it was almost anti-climactic. I had a chat to the, I don't know what his title was, let's call him the Lighthouse Keeper, and then headed back down. There were other people waiting and I'd achieved my objectives, plus a lot more that I hadn't planned. I recognised the people waiting to come up next, I'd seen them the previous evening at Marriner's Lookout.

There are public toilets behind the cafe. There was a very feisty and curious little bird there, which I later learned was probably a White-browed Scrubwren. I've seen them before but I've never seen them act the way this one did. It stood there chirping at me. This was a tiny bird, about the size of a chicken's egg, and not a large egg either. I mean, I am enormous compared to that bird, more enormous than an African Elephant is to me. Anyway, it chirp, chirp, chirped at me and then bit my boot. Told you it was feisty. Then, when some Crimson Rosellas flew past chirping their own chirp, it backed away and sheltered under a shrub near the fence. When they'd gone it came out and chirped at me again.

I squatted down and held out my finger to it. It bit my finger. It didn't hurt. It had some kind of wound or growth on it's face, on the left, between its eye and its beak. I'm not sure if its strange behaviour was due to its exposure to humans or due to the thing on its face. I may never know. I apologised for not being able to help it and took its picture.

After that I followed the path back down to the exit. I think I probably walked past the WWII radar station on the way.
Written 25 July 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

189 contributions
nice stop along great ocean road
Apr. 2021
great stop along great ocean road, LOVELY homemade scones at the cafe (highly recommend). nice walk around, short diversion from great ocean road and nice to drive through the bit of forest back to the tip of the penninsula. we even saw koalas along the road on the drive back to the lighthouse.
Written 13 June 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

New Orleans, LA22 contributions
Rip Off!!
May 2021 • Couples
Amazing one has to drive the long narrow road to find a Commonwealth owned lighthouse with an almost $20 entry fee per adult for a self-guided tour. Probably the land around owned byVic State Parks. We fear the GOR will be next.
Written 7 May 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Cedric S
Narooma, Australia2 contributions
Educational, engaging, entertaing and meaningful
Apr. 2021
Dale's talk on bush tucker was outstanding. Given sincerely from the heart as well as being historicaly and botanically accurate, it was most educational and deligtfully entertaining. to our environmental uni stdent roup. It was , however, heart rendering to hear that we were hearing his last talk. Apparently his services were terminated without notice as his employer was closing their operation having not renewed their lease. We wish Dale out the best in his future. He is an outstanding, sincere, knowlegable and engaging teacher of the local aboriginal heritage.

He brought the past right into the present like were were actually there three hundred years ago .
Written 1 May 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Ettalong Beach, Australia61 contributions
Great Ocean Walk
Apr. 2021 • Friends
Guided tour which was very informative....the lighthouse cafe was lovely particularly after climbing to the top of the lighthouse
Written 26 April 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Melbourne, Australia18 contributions
Extremely interesting & well done
Mar. 2021 • Friends
I must do visit if you are in the area. Great history and views of the ocean. Lighthouse history is fascinating and I was very surprised about what occurred in the area in WW2. Also great cafe for a Devonshire tea.
Written 28 March 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
We are delighted to hear that you enjoyed exploring the Cape and discovering our secret history!
Written 4 April 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Chris K
Ocean Grove, Australia192 contributions
A Wonderful Look at History
Mar. 2021 • Couples
Really enjoyed our visit here
Lady at the lighthouse was awesome and knew lots
Dale at the Aboriginal Centre was fantastic and had terrific knowledge of his people and their culture
Loved the info boards and the displays!!
It is fascinating that we were being attacked in WWII but it was being kept from the Australian public to protect moral!!
How times have changed
Well worth a visit 😊😊
Written 11 March 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you so much for your review and we are glad that you had an enjoyable visit with us!
Written 4 April 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Melbourne, Australia97 contributions
A walk to he lighthouse
Feb. 2021 • Couples
Had a lovely walk to the lighthouse at CapeOtway.
It has been in operation since 1848.
You can climb to the top 90 metres above the shore, it has great views but a little windy .
There is also a whale viewing platform, and lots of history to
investigate with children .
There is a cafe which serves light lunches, and gigantic scones ,
which were yummy.
Worth a visit with the family.
Written 3 February 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you for your review, we are delighted that you enjoyed your visit with us!
Written 11 February 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

9 contributions
Spectacular Views
Dec. 2020
This light house faces the Southern Ocean so the views were spectacular. I did not take the light house tour as there was a long queue to get in and due to covid limitations only 8 people were allowed inside the light house at a time.
But there is a cafe right opposite to the light house which serves amazing scones and pies. Apart from the light house there are other things to explore in the area like the dinosaur museum, telegraph station, WWII radar bunker and a souvenir shop. There is an entry fee of $20 pp which includes all of the above. If you are a history buff you will definitely enjoy it - but this trip is also worth for its spectacular view.
Written 25 December 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Melbourne, Australia315 contributions
Great glimpse into history
Dec. 2020 • Family
A great little trip into history. The lighthouse is suitable for kids, our youngest was 6. The views were spectacular.
The historical references were very interesting and educational. We did not stay overnight, not sure if it would be worth it.
Otherwise all other aspects is a must.
Written 20 December 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Cape Otway Lightstation is open:
  • Sun - Sat 9:00 am - 4:30 pm
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