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The lighthouse at Cape Byron stands atop the rugged cliffs near Australia's most easterly point, in New South Wales. The stark white lighthouse with its ornate crown was constructed in 1901.
It contains two lights to warn vessels approaching the rocky coastline at night. The main light at the top of the tower shines its light 27 nautical miles (40 kilometres) from the coast. A smaller red auxiliary light warns ships approaching reefs, rocks and seamounts to the north-east of the lighthouse near Byron Bay . The light is visible 8 nautical miles (14.8 kilometers) from the mainland. The operation of the lighthouse is fully automated.
The lookouts along the cliff tops offer uninterrupted views of the Pacific Ocean. The area is a popular spot for whale watching.
The entrance to the lighthouse still has the original wooden doors with brass fittings and frosted glass panels. The glass panels in the door carry the insignia of the state of New South Wales (NSW). Inside, a small museum with artifacts from the area is open to the public.
A glimpse of the stairs that lead to the top of the tower can be seen in the glass panel above an interior door as you enter the foyer. The museum is to the right of the foyer.
A bulb from the red auxiliary light forms the center of the display in the middle of the museum. The room is lined with historic documents and mementos.
The path beyond the lighthouse winds along the cliff tops to a small beach and rocky outcrop that mark the eastern tip of the Australian coastline.
Enjoy the feeling of the cool southerly breeze against skin as you walk along the sunny path. The air has the fresh smell of ocean salt. The cliff tops are a popular place for spotting whales that pass close to the coastline.
The path down to the beach and the rocks is a little steep. It is well worth making the effort to climb down the steps. Feel the spray of the sea on your face as the waves pound against the rocky cliffs.
Take off your shoes and enjoy walking on the soft white beach. Dip your toes in the icy cold water of the Pacific and feel the waves gently wash away the sand beneath your feet as they roll back to the ocean.
The nearest airports to Byron Bay are in Brisbane and the Gold Coast. The best way to explore the region is to hire a car.