Cape Otway Lighthouse

Cape Otway Lightstation, Australia's most important lighthouse, was established in 1848 and is located on towering sea cliffs 90 meters above where Bass Strait and the Southern Ocean meet.

Great Ocean Road

Travel through Great Otway National Park to Cape Otway, the southernmost point of the Great Ocean Road region. See some of Victoria's most remote and beautiful rainforests, coastal landscapes and the oldest lighthouse on the Australian mainland.

You can explore this attraction by joining us at Great Ocean Road Tours.


The 84-kilometre gap between Cape Wickham on King Island and Cape Otway is known as the "Eye of the Needle" and the Western entrance to the Bass Strait. Sea captains often hugged the Victorian coast to avoid being driven into King Island during bad weather, leading to numerous shipwrecks.

Access issues initially impeded the establishment of the lighthouse at Cape, but after three attempts, it was successfully reached by land. A suitable site was chosen, and a road was eventually constructed despite challenges. Construction commenced in 1846, and the light was first illuminated in August 1848, becoming the second lighthouse erected on the mainland coast.

The materials were sourced from the Parker River quarry, 5 kilometres away.

The lighthouse's first keeper was let go after three months for tampering with the light. Henry Bayles Ford, a former sea captain who maintained the light for three decades, succeeded him. George Ford, his son, rode on horseback to Camperdown to seek assistance when the Loch Ard shipwrecked close by in 1878.

The lighthouse was remote, with minimal contact with the outside world. Supplies were transported to Parker River on a semi-annual basis via overland routes. The only people around were a few nearby farmers and occasional official visitors. A road was eventually built to Colac, but it wasn't suitable for cars until the mid-1930s.

A red light was installed in 1881, and its power was increased in 1891, 1905, and 1939.

The light at Point Lonsdale in Australia was decommissioned in January 1994, making it the most extended continuously operating light on the Australian mainland. A low-powered solar light in front of the original tower has since replaced it. A ceremony was held with over 3,000 attendees to mark the turning off of the light.

Great Ocean Road Tours

Cape Otway marked its 150th anniversary in August 1998.

Cape Otway Lighthouse Stay

Visit Cape Otway Lighthouse for a peaceful getaway with breathtaking views of the Southern Ocean. Choose from various accommodation options suitable for couples, families, and groups. A morning climb up the lighthouse is included in your stay.

The historic hotel, constructed in 1859 for Cape Otway Lighthouse Keepers, offers a unique experience with its rugged sandstone construction, thick walls, and original windows. The old-world charm allows for relaxation and rejuvenation, with limited mobile phone reception and no TV reception available.

Visitors can experience breathtaking views of the sunset and sunrise over the lighthouse when the gates close for the night. A walk around the Lightstation Heritage Area offers opportunities to observe wildlife emerging after visitors have left.

Visitors to Cape Otway can choose from accommodations, such as the Lightkeepers Cottage and Lighthouse Lodge, offering bed and breakfast options for couples or small groups.

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