Cape Otway Lighthouse

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Only 14 km from the Great Ocean Road, this extensive complex includes the oldest surviving officially built lighthouse on the Australian mainland.

Due to concern over shipwrecks on the Bass Strait coast and King Island, pressure was exerted on the government to build a lighthouse at Cape Otway. Completed in 1848 and constructed of sandstone, it was only the second lighthouse constructed on mainland Australia.

In 1859, one of the earliest telegraph stations in Australia was added to the facility, soon connecting Tasmania to the mainland through Cape Otway and Melbourne.

First whale oil, then kerosene, was used to keep the light burning. Later changes included diesel generators, electricity, radio and global positioning satellites. In 1994, the introduction of satellite navigation systems caused the 'old light' to be turned off and replaced with a small solar powered beacon.

At the beginning of 1997, the Lightstation was leased to a local company, to operate for tours and accommodation. The Lightkeeper's house accommodates a maximum of 16 guests, with four bedrooms and a twelve seat dining room. Studio accommodation is also available sleeping two people.

 

Accessibility information

Access to the lighthouse precinct

Access to the lighthouse precinct is via a short sealed path leading from the carpark. Visitor entry is through the souvenir shop. The entrance to the souvenir shop has double doors, making it accessible for wheelchairs and strollers.

cape otway lighthouse - lighthouse entrance via souvenir shop 

The exit to the precinct area from the shop is narrow at approximately 760mm wide. There are gates for service vehicle entrance to the precinct which can be opened for wheelchair access if required.  

The path leading to the historic buildings and other attractions is not consistently accessible. Visitors with mobility limitations can get special permission to take their vehicle into the precinct using the service road. Permitted vehicles are then able to take visitors to the lighthouse accommodation, close to Telegraph Station and Lighthouse Café. 

cape otway lighthouse - access to lighthouse 

Once outside the café, visitors with mobility limitations can access the sealed path approximately 900mm wide leading down to the Lighthouse beacon. This path has a gradient of approximately 1:14 and allows visitors to get to the bottom of the lighthouse tower and to view the rugged coastline.

cape otway lighthouse - footpath to lighthouse   cape otway lighthouse - lighthouse doorway 

Café

The café building, due to its age, has narrow entrances and limited room inside for manoeuvrability. There are a few small steps but a mobile ramp is available on request.

cape otway lighthouse - inside cafe 

There are tables outside the café which are more accessible for wheelchairs and strollers, weather permitting.

cape otway lighthouse - outside cafe 

Telegraph Station

The Telegraph Station can be accessed from the main visitor entrance by following a path part of the way, then continuing over a grassed area for several hundred metres. The ground is quite solid but there are some small hills that may make it difficult for manual wheelchairs and strollers.

cape otway lighthouse - telegraph station 

Once at the telegraph station building, there is a small ramp making it possible for wheelchairs and strollers to access the veranda.

cape otway lighthouse - ramp at telegraph station 

There is adequate space on the verandah for manoeuvring right around the outside of the building. The main entrance to the building is approximately 800mm wide and there is adequate room for manoeuvrability throughout the rooms in the building.

Accommodation

The original lighthouse accommodation and more recently built accommodation is not accessible to wheelchairs.

The Manager's house built in the 1970s is the most accessible accommodation on site but does not have a fully accessible bathroom for wheelchairs.

cape otway lighthouse - living area of accommodation 

cape otway lighthouse - bathroom of accommodation 

Other attractions in precinct

The other visitor attractions located on the precinct are not accessible for wheelchairs.

Visitor experiences