Get ready to shine a light on some of the southern hemisphere’s most fascinating lighthouses, where maritime history defies the elements and the breathtaking coastline stretches in either direction. These lighthouses in Australia and New Zealand have long stood guard over dramatic antipodean waters, and today they also provide the perfect opportunity to explore storied pasts and stunning coastal surroundings.

Tacking Point Lighthouse 

Come visit Tacking Point Lighthouse at sunset. Image from Tourism Australia.

Situated on the beautiful Mid North Coast of NSW, the Tacking Point Port Macquarie Lighthouse is an iconic landmark that commands breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. Built in 1879, it stands as one of the oldest lighthouses in Australia. This vantage point also offers a great spot for whale-watching and coastal trail walks that explore the surrounding reserve. Take a leisurely stroll along the scenic coastal walk or visit the nearby hinterland Lighthouse Beach, where you can enjoy camel safaris, fishing or a Four Wheel Drive adventure.

Where to stay

Situated on the banks of the beautiful Hastings River, Comfort Resort Waters Edge offers quality Port Macquarie accommodation and is one of the few waterfront accommodation locations in the area.

Cape Otway Lighthouse 

Check out the views along the Great Ocean Road and stop by the Cape Otway Lighthouse. Image from Visit Victoria.

Further south on Victoria’s dramatic Great Ocean Road, the impressive Cape Otway Lighthouse stands at 90 metres over the Southern Ocean. Perched on towering cliffs, this significant monument dates back to 1848 – making it Australia’s oldest surviving mainland lighthouse. The area is packed with history, from the telegraph station cottage to the WW2 radio station and bunker that still survive. Climb the lighthouse steps for a mesmerising view before exploring the attractions on the Cape Otway Lighthouse Walk.

Where to stay

The Comfort Inn The International is centrally located in the picture seaside town of Apollo Bay. This is a popular stop along the Great Ocean Road, and close to the historic Cape Otway Lighthouse.

Wollongong Head Lighthouse 

The Wollongong Flagstaff Hill Lighthouse stands proudly on Flagstaff Hill, where first-class views of Wollongong’s famous surfing beaches greet you from every side. Dating back to 1936, this distinctive tower is an iconic landmark and was the first fully automatic electric lighthouse in Australia. Enjoy an invigorating walk along the foreshore, where you’ll also find the famous breakwater Breakwater Lighthouse. In fact, Wollongong is the only point on the eastern coast of Australia with two lighthouses.

Where to stay

Stay close to Wollongong’s attractions by checking out accommodation options where beautiful beaches, parks, outdoor activities – and a couple of the most well-known lighthouses in NSW – are on your doorstep. 

Nugget Point Lighthouse 

Nugget Point Lighthouse. Image from Graeme Murray.

Crossing the Tasman Sea, you’ll find Nugget Point Tokata Lighthouse is one of New Zealand’s oldest lighthouses and a commanding presence on a dramatic Catlins Coast. Built on the promontory in 1869, above rocks named by Captain Cook after their golden appearance, this area is a spectacular spot to witness wildlife up close. Enjoy the easy walk to the penguin haven of Roaring Bay, and pass seals, sea lions and thriving seabird communities along the way. 

Waipapa Point Lighthouse 

See the Sea Lions at the Waipapa Point Lighthouse. Image from Southland NZ.

First lit on 1 January 1884, the sturdy red-doored Waipapa Point Lighthouse stands in a photographer’s dream setting. Set against a backdrop of windswept dunes and expansive beaches, it’s also a testament to New Zealand’s maritime heritage – this sturdy sentinel was built in response to the dangerous nearby waters that claimed a passenger steamer in 1881. There’s also plenty of sealife thriving around the point, including seals and sea lions. Take in the surroundings and activity by enjoying a picnic on the point or exploring one of the nearby trails.  

Where to stay

Take a day to explore these two famous lighthouses in New Zealand by staying at the Comfort Inn Tayesta – ideally located and a three-minute drive to Invercargill’s CBD and a scenic and memorable drive to two of the best lighthouses to visit in New Zealand.  

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