The Cape Otway Lighthouse is the oldest lighthouse in mainland Australia. Built in 1848, this lighthouse on the Great Ocean Road is one of the most popular Victoria tourist attractions.
I read a few online reviews saying that it wasn’t worth the money when you can get much the same views for free along the Great Ocean Road.
I have to say I disagree. There is so much more to the Cape Otway Lightstation than the views and I definitely recommend it as a detour from the main Great Ocean Road. For us it is one of the most interesting places to visit along the Great Ocean Road.
We found the history behind the place really interesting and we found learning about the history of Australia’s ‘shipwreck coast’ here fascinating.
There are thought to be approximately 700 shipwrecks along this coast that runs from here to Port Fairy, all run aground due to strong winds, rocky outcrops and disastrous human error.
For many thousands of migrants who arrived in Australia from Europe, Asia and North America, Cape Otway was their first glimpse of land after months at sea.
Climbing the lighthouse is the main attraction here, mainly for its fantastic views over the coastline from its 90-metre cliff top vantage point.
It was also here we learned the fate of the many ships that were shipwrecked off the coast here, including the famous Loch Ard that we would learn more about as we continued our journey along the Great Ocean Road.
In the telegraph station we learned about the how to signal using maritime signal flags, and the kids had a go at deciphering morse code messages. We also learned about the submarine telegraph cable that was laid from here to Tasmania in 1859. This was a major feat in technology in its day, even if it did only last six months before it failed.
If you visit Cape Otway Lighthouse between May and October, you have a good chance of spotting migrating whales off the coast here. Visit the Whale Interpretive Centre to learn how to distinguish the 25 different species of whale that migrate past the lighthouse.
Daily history talks take place at this Apollo Bay lighthouse at 11am, 2pm and 4pm and you can also learn about aboriginal culture and the medicinal uses of local plants during the Bush Tucker talks held at 12 noon and 3pm.
- The onsite café is housed in the former assistant lighthouse keeper’s cottage and is open from 9am – 4pm.
- Cape Otway Lighthouse opening hours are 9am-5pm (last entry 4.30pm) every day except Christmas Day.
- The Cape Otway Lighthouse prices are $19.50 per adult, $7.50 per child or a family ticket for $49.50
- Cape Otway Lighthouse accommodation is provided in the former Lightkeeper’s Cottage, sleeping up to 8 guests. Click here to find out more.
Bonus! This is also one of the best places to see koalas on the Great Ocean Road. Keep a look out for the Cape Otway koalas in the trees on the Cape Otway Lighthouse road. We saw several including a very cute baby one!
To get from Apollo Bay to Cape Otway Lighthouse takes around 45 minutes. The turn off from the Great Ocean Road is about 30-minutes past Apollo Bay. The drive from the turn off to the Lighthouse is about 15 minutes.
Note that you cannot see the actual lighthouse without paying to enter, so don’t bother driving all the way down here if you don’t intend to go in.
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