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Hornby Lighthouse

“The lighthouse really stands out on the point; can you imagine what it would have been like to live in the lighthouse keepers cottages?”

Hornby Lighthouse stands tall at South Head, near Watsons Bay in Sydney Harbour National Park. The iconic red and white striped tower is surrounded by magnificent views: Sydney Harbour to the west, Middle Head and North Head to the north, and the expansive Pacific Ocean to the east. It’s a great spot for whale watching in winter.

The lighthouse was built in 1858 following the wrecking of the Dunbar at the foot of South Head. Designed by colonial architect Alexander Dawson, Hornby Lighthouse was the third lighthouse to be built in NSW.

Hornby Lighthouse is accessible via the South Head heritage trail – an easy walk that leaves from Camp Cove at Watsons Bay, taking you past historic gun emplacements before reaching Hornby Lighthouse.

Take a virtual tour of Hornby Lighthouse on Google Street View.


Getting there

Getting there:

Hornby Lighthouse is in the South Head precinct of Sydney Harbour National Park. To get there:

  • Drive along New South Head Road past Vaucluse to the end
  • Turn right into Robertson Road, then left into Military Road, which becomes Cliff Road.
  • Turn left into Short Street then right into Cove Street and right into Victoria Street
  • Continue to the end and leave the car at Camp Cove carpark
  • Follow South Head Heritage trail, which begins near Camp Cove Kiosk, to the lighthouse.

Alternatively, the Eastern Suburbs Ferry from Circular Quay, as well as buses 324, 325 and 380, stop a short walk from Camp Cove. Check out the Transport Info website for more information.

Get driving directions


Vehicle access:

Sealed road - 2WD vehicles - All weather


Parking is available at Camp Cove carpark, including several designated disabled spots.

Important info

You should know:

  • Please supervise children at all times due to rocky ledges, uneven pathways and surrounding harbour.
  • Toilet facilities are located along the South Head heritage trail near Lady Bay Beach. Please be aware that Lady Bay Beach is a nude bathing beach.
  • A current NSW recreational fishing licence is required when fishing in all waters

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Hornby lighthouse and South Head. Photo: David Finnegan