The Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse Precinct encloses the endmost promontory of Cape Leeuwin where the lighthouse stands tall, the ocean waves roll in from three sides and the wind whips across barren grass and low heath.
I’ll share with you here some photos I took on my most recent visit to Cape Leeuwin that I hope will inspire you to visit for yourself, along with tips and visitor information so you know what to expect and get the most out of it when you do!
Go for a wander around the historic lighthouse precinct…
- Discover the history of the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse and the treacherous seas it watches over
- Walk on the rocks and view dramatic coastal scenery
- Take a look at the lighthouse up close, and climb its spiral staircase on a tour up to the balcony near the top
- In winter watch for whales, and experience the forces of nature that buffet the lonely and exposed cape as squalls, storms and massive swells roll in from the ocean
Visiting the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse Precinct: Fees and Opening Hours
Entrance Fees and Tickets
Entry to the precinct is through the museum and gift shop cottage, a reconverted historic lighthouse keeper’s cottage. Here you can purchase a ticket to explore the grounds with an audiotour radio thing included ($8 for an adult). For an extra cost ($12/adult) you can also join a tour of the lighthouse. These tours leave frequently throughout the day, twice every hour. Concession discounts apply for both the precinct ticket and the lighthouse tour ticket.
Is it really worth the money?
Visiting Cape Leeuwin is not exactly cheap, so if you have no interest in lighthouses maybe give it a miss and visit another one of the many dramatically beautiful places on the Cape to Cape coast. But for most people Cape Leeuwin is a highlight of their time in the Margaret River Region, so the entrance fee to the lighthouse precinct ends up being worth it. If you’re wondering whether it’s worthwhile paying for the lighthouse tour, well in my opinion it would be a shame not see the views from the top of the lighthouse while you’re there, even if it does raise the total cost to $20/adult. The views definitely make it worth the money, for me at least 😉 !
It’s worth noting that the Lighthouse Precinct is managed as a non profit heritage-listed tourist attraction, without any government funding. So all money made from the entrance and lighthouse tour fees all goes back into the maintenance of the lighthouse and its grounds.
The lighthouse precinct opens each morning at 9am, and the last lot of people are let in at 4:30pm. The last lighthouse tour leaves at 4:20pm.
Exploring the Lighthouse Precinct: Points of Interest
1. Walk Out to the Lighthouse Past the Cottages, And Follow Along With the Audio Tour
When you pay for your ticket you will be given a remote control gadget through which you can hear information about the history of Cape Leeuwin and the lighthouse keepers who lived out there. Press the button corresponding to the sign or information plaque you are standing near, and listen to detailed info about the topic…
Follow the audio tour sequentially, or just wander about the lighthouse precinct at whim. Either way, you’ll be sure to happen upon most of the other points of interest described below!
2. See the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse Up Close – And Climb the Spiral Staircase to the Very Top!
The lighthouse stands tall near the very end of the lighthouse precinct peninsula, where the waves crash on the rocks on three sides. The stark white lighthouse structure is a spectacular sight up close, especially when you look up at it against a bright blue sky.
To actually go inside the lighthouse, you need to book yourself onto the $12 tour at the time of purchasing your entrance to the lighthouse precinct. The tour goes for about half an hour, led by friendly guides who tell you all about the history of the lighthouse, shipping off Cape Leeuwin and what life was like for the lighthouse keepers back in the day. In my opinion the Cape Leeuwin lighthouse tour is worth the money.
The panoramic views from the top of the lighthouse are stunningly beautiful, and you learn a lot of interesting facts and historical details on the way up!
3. Lookouts, Board Walks and Monuments
After walking out to the lighthouse, take a walk along the board walks and staircases through coastal scrub vegetation to viewing platforms with built-in binoculars, information plaques detailing the nature and history of the area, and some monuments and memorials.
4. Explore, or Go Fishing From, the Cape Leeuwin Rocks
Wander off the paths and board walks and experience the most magnificent nature and scenery at Cape Leeuwin, down by the water. The rocks are interesting to explore, and the views sublime. Just be careful of king waves – stay well back from the water line at all times.
5. Watch for Whales!
If you visit Cape Leeuwin at the right time of year between May/June and August/September you have a good chance of spotting whales in the ocean surrounding the Cape. The relatively sheltered Flinders Bay (the eastern side of the Cape) is one of resting places for Humpback and Southern Right whales on their long journey from Antarctica north to tropical waters, and they sometimes come in quite close to shore.
You’ll have the best chance of seeing whales if you climb to the top of the lighthouse, but you could also see them from the coastal rocks. Bring binoculars!
6. The Cafe, and a Little History Museum
The building through which you enter the Lighthouse Precinct and pay the entrance fee is the only one of the historic lighthouse cottages at Cape Leeuwin that’s open to go inside and have a look around. Its rooms have been converted into a cafe, visitor centre and a tiny historical museum where you can learn a bit more about Cape Leeuwin and the lighthouse’s history.
The cafe is small and cosy with an enclosed veranda overlooking the Lighthouse Precinct. It is a pleasant place to sit and relax with a coffee, especially in winter after braving the elements down on the coastal rocks and up the lighthouse!
The cafe and visitor centre museum are free to visit, but there’s not much point if you’re not going to also explore the Lighthouse Precinct.
Where to from here?
Cape Leeuwin and the coastline nearby is such a special place that you could spend all day there if you had time! Here are just a few ideas of things to see and do beyond the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse Precinct:
- Check out the Old Waterwheel
- Swim, snorkel or just admire the scenery at nearby Quarry Bay
- Photograph the Cape and Lighthouse from the vantage point of the Matthew Flinders Lookout
- Do the scenic drive following Skippy Rock Road, looping back up the hill then down to Leeuwin Road
- Swim, snorkel or catch some fish at Skippy Rock
- Walk a section of the Cape to Cape Track, heading north from Cape Leeuwin
- Drive Leeuwin Road slowly, and stop off at Storm Bay and Granny Pool, Dead Finish, check out the progress on the new marina development, and admire the views of the lighthouse from Point Matthew – among other beaches and lookout points along the coast of Flinders Bay. Keep a close eye out for whales during the season!
Last Updated: 22nd June, 2014.
First posted on 2nd March, 2014 by Bonny.
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