Norah Head Lighthouse

Norah Head Lighthouse


Posted 2023-11-26 by Ashleigh Meiklefollow
Norah Head Lighthouse

The Australian coastline is vast – over 37,600 kilometres of coastline (according to the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney), with waves smashing on cliffs and rocks, which led to many shipwrecks. These shipwrecks have led to a long history of lighthouses along the coastline, and there are about 350 lighthouses. One of these is Norah Head Lighthouse on the Central Coast, which celebrated its 120th anniversary on the 15th of November 2023.


Norah Head Lighthouse was built along a jagged coastline, and after many losses along this coastline, maritime officials decided that they could construct a lighthouse at Norah Head in 1884, after the loss of the Gwydir. Fast-forward nineteen years, and the lighthouse was open, along with a lighthouse keeper’s cottage. It is still operational today and has seen the way its light operates change over the past 120 years from a kerosene burner in the early days to a full automated light today. For those keen to visit, the lighthouse is open every day for tours except Christmas Day and Anzac Day, however, you can look around the grounds on your own.

Since its construction, three ships have been lost along this coastline:

- The Nerong, a 219-tonne collier in 1917
- The Nimbin, a Dutch vessel which sank after hitting a German mine in 1940
- BHP Vessel, Iron Chieftain, which sank after it was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in 1942.

These days, the lighthouse is a significant part of the history of the Central Coast, and a popular place to visit for locals and tourists. The site includes the Light Tower, which is 27 metres high with 96 steps. There are other buildings there as well, such as a Flag Locker Building which is where over 40 communication flags were kept and used to communicate with ships passing the lighthouse during the day and are the international maritime code flags. Norah Head also has a weather station, and the lighthouse keeper’s cottage, a heritage-listed place that gives visitors a glimpse and taste of history, but these days you can stay in these buildings and explore the Central Coast. It is part of the history of the region, and to get insight into the shipwrecks nearby this is a great place to start – and also one of the best places to see whales during whale watching season.

Sea view

Spend weekends or holidays with family or friends here, where during whale watching season - September to November, you might be lucky enough to see whales along the coastline. When it comes to booking your accommodation, you can stay in the Head Lightkeeper’s Quarters, or the Assistant Lightkeeper’s Quarters.

The Head Lightkeeper’s Quarters

The Head Lightkeeper’s Quarters has room for nine guests across three bedrooms, with a fully equipped kitchen so you can cook for yourself, and has a dining room and sitting room, and all of this comes with majestic views of the coast. The Assistant Lightkeeper’s Quarters has similar accommodation, but for eight people rather than nine. If you are staying there, here are the property features to be aware of:

• Beachfront
• Complimentary in-room coffee or tea
• DVD Player
• Events Allowed
• Food and beverage outlets
• Hair Dryer
• Internet access
• Laundry facilities
• Dinner delivery service from local
• Managers reception
• Non-smoking
• Outdoor parking
• Television
• Baggage hold
• Coffee/tea
• Cooking facilities
• Fire safety compliant
• Free parking
• Heating
• Ironing board
• Luggage Storage
• No Pets
• Oceanfront
• Parking

You can also have your wedding here – a unique location that has a wonderful backdrop for the wedding, and you can get more information if you contact the Reserve Manager.

Entry to the reserve is free, and you can walk around with ease, though if you want to tour the lighthouse, you will have to go on a tour. The tours operate from 10am until 3pm, with the last tour at 2.30pm – and you don’t need to book for this. As with many lighthouse tours throughout Australia, the tours are dependent on weather – rain or wind might see the tours close.

If you have a group of ten or more people, call the Reserve to make arrangements – check the website for all contact details. When you go on these tours, you will step back in time and find out what it was like to be a Lighthouse Keeper at Norah Head Lighthouse. You’ll climb the 96 stairs so you can enjoy the 360-degree views from the balcony, looking out over the beautiful coastline of the Central Coast. Plus, you can check out the optics prism, and imagine yourself polishing the lenses – there are 700! Imagine doing that all the time! And then you can learn about the role of the Lighthouse Keeper, and how the light was operated when the lighthouse first opened compared to today, as well as the stories of shipwrecks along the coast.

All tours come at a cost – and the prices are $10 for adults. $5 for children aged 6-17 years old, and $28 for a family – 2 adults and 2 children, and you can pay cash, EFTPOS, Visa, and Mastercard.


271294 - 2023-11-25 01:32:17


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