Justine de Jonge is a Melbourne freelance travel writer and blogger who loves travelling the vegan road. She also loves blogging about her vegan travels at www.fireandtea.com .
Published April 28th 2013
Windswept seascapes and convict history
Surrounded by windswept seascapes steeped in history, Point Lonsdale Pier and Lighthouse offers visitors captivating views of Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park and Bass Strait.
Point Lonsdale is located south-east on The Bellarine Peninsula, only about an hour or so from Melbourne's CBD. This area was originally inhabited by the Wathaurong tribe, which extended from the peninsula to as far west as Aireys Inlet and as far north as Werribee and Ballarat.
Looking out to Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park and Bass Strait
Famous convict William Buckley escaped imprisonment in Sorrento, travelled to The Bellarine Peninsula and lived with the Wathaurong people for 32 years. It was thought that Buckley lived in a cave located beneath where the lighthouse now stands before his return to white settlement in 1835.
Now, Point Lonsdale is a sleepy and quaint town that offers a main strip for shopping and dining, while the coastline gives visitors an up-and-close encounter with the town's lighthouse and pier. Fresh sea air is aplenty here, as well as choppy, azure waves, lush flora and opportunities for native wildlife-spotting.
Point Lonsdale Lighthouse has been operating from this position since the late 1800s. The lighthouse structure that exists today was built in 1902 and is positioned 37 metres above sea level, aiding the way for shore-nearing seafarers. Originally powered by kerosene, the lighthouse now operates by electricity and has been doing so since the mid-1930s. It's a vital piece of equipment for Point Lonsdale as it leads many captains through The Rip which can be, at times, tricky to master. The Rip is where Port Phillip meets Bass Strait.
Point Lonsdale Lighthouse prides itself on being one of the last remaining lighthouses to be manned on a 24-hour schedule. Its white-washed height against a backdrop of beachside shrubbery makes for an endearing view for those travelling to Point Lonsdale.
Walking paths and tracks surround the lighthouse, giving visitors ample access to the grounds as well as neighbouring parkland and Point Lonsdale Pier. The pier was built in the 1890s and was used to rescue people if their boats were wrecked while entering The Rip. Nowadays, Port Lonsdale Pier offers a less stressful opportunity for visitors who want to walk out and take in the sights of the rocky coastline and lighthouse. The pier also provides a chance for keen fishermen to drop in a hook and try their luck.
If visitors want to learn more about the area, then Queenscliff Maritime Museum offers tours of Point Lonsdale Lighthouse every Sunday from 9.30am to 1pm. Group sizes are limited to eight people at a time. Adults $6, concession $5, children five years or over $4. For bookings, call 0419 513 007.