Barrenjoey Lighthouse

Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park

Overview

Barrenjoey Lighthouse stands at Barrenjoey Head at Palm Beach on Sydney's northern beaches. Built in 1881, this heritage lighthouse is an iconic Sydney attraction.

Type
Historic buildings/places
Where
Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park
Price
Free
What to
bring
Drinking water, hat, sunscreen, sturdy shoes, clothes for all weather conditions
Please note
  • Join us on a guided tour of Barrenjoey lighthouse (every Sunday).
  • The inside of the lighthouse is only accessible by guided tour but you can walk around the outside 
  • There are no toilets or drinking water at Barrenjoey lighthouse. The nearest available public toilets are at Governor Phillip Park.
  • There is no vehicle access to Barrenjoey lighthouse. Paid parking is available at Governor Phillip Park.
  • Please avoid visiting the lighthouse when the weather conditions forecast strong winds, heavy rain or extreme heat.

Barrenjoey Lighthouse sits at Sydney’s most northern point – Barrenjoey Head at Palm Beach. Positioned 91m above sea level, the lighthouse can be reached by a couple of walks and offers outstanding views. It's an easy day trip from Sydney and a great place to bring overseas visitors – they may recognise the lighthouse from Home and Away and will find Summer Bay Surf Club nearby. 

The lighthouse is one of the most iconic sights on Sydney's northern beaches and boasts a notable cultural heritage. Built in 1881 from sandstone quarried on site, the lighthouse, its oil room and keepers’ cottages remain unpainted in the original stone finish.

To get there, take an easy and picturesque walk along Barrenjoey track for 1km. The walk to the top requires moderate fitness and will take about 30 minutes each way from Governor Phillip parking area. You could choose to walk Smugglers track instead for a more challenging hike to the top. The name comes from customs officers who built the track to monitor smugglers bringing contraband into Broken Bay around 1850. Smugglers track offers a steeper and shorter trek up to the lighthouse, but it's well worth the effort.

Be sure to bring your binoculars for whale watching between the months of May and September. Or settle for capturing the panoramic views of Broken Bay, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park and the Central Coast with your camera.

Take a virtual tour of Barrenjoey Lighthouse captured with Google Street View Trekker.

For directions, safety and practical information, see visitor info

Current alerts in this area

There are no current alerts in this area.

Local alerts

For the latest updates on fires, closures and other alerts in this area, see http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/historic-buildings-places/barrenjoey-lighthouse/local-alerts

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Barrenjoey Lighthouse.

Getting there and parking

Get driving directions

Get directions

    It's not possible to drive right up to Barrenjoey Lighthouse. You'll need to walk about 1km to get there, using one of several walking tracks. Toilets and drinking water are located at the parking area.

    Park entry points

    Road quality

    • Sealed roads

    Vehicle access

    • 2WD vehicles

    Weather restrictions

    • All weather

    Parking

    Parking is available along Barrenjoey Road or at Govenor Phillip carpark (Pittwater Council). Please note that this is paid parking.

    By public transport

    Catch the L90 bus from Sydney CBD to Barrenjoey Head. The trip takes about 1hr 30min.

    Best times to visit

    Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park offers an exceptional visit all year round. You're sure to find a walk, tour, activity or attraction to appeal, regardless of the season.

    Spring

    If you're interested in wildflower displays, set aside a day in August or September to stroll through the park's blooming heathlands.

    Summer

    Bring your fishing gear and go camping at The Basin.

    Winter

    Barrenjoey Head (on the other side of Pittwater, but still in the park) is an excellent spot for whale watching. Take the Barrenjoey Lighthouse walk between May and August, celebrate International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend in August, or join a half hour guided tour of the lighthouse on Sundays.

    Maps and downloads

    Safety messages

    Beach safety

    Beaches in this park are not patrolled, and can sometimes have strong rips and currents. These beach safety tips will help you and your family stay safe in the water.

    Mobile safety

    Dial Triple Zero (000) in an emergency. Download the Emergency + app before you visit, it helps emergency services locate you using your smartphone's GPS. Please note there is limited mobile phone reception in this park and you’ll need mobile reception to call Triple Zero (000).

    Permitted

    Fishing

    A current NSW recreational fishing licence is required when fishing in all waters.

    Please note that spear guns and hand spears are not permitted in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. They may not be carried through the park and must not be used within 100m of a beach in the national park.

    Prohibited

    Gathering firewood

    Gathering firewood and the use of heat beads is not permitted.

    Pets

    Pets and domestic animals (other than certified assistance animals) are not permitted. Find out which regional parks allow dog walking and see the OEH pets in parks policy for more information.

    Smoking

    NSW national parks are no smoking areas.

    Visitor centre

    Learn more

    Barrenjoey Lighthouse is in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

    A great location to run, row or ride

    West Head lookout, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. Photo: David Finnegan

    Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park is situated within the Sydney Metropolitan Area, 20km north of the Sydney CBD. The park runs from St Ives to the shores of the Hawkesbury River at Brooklyn. The 14,882ha park also includes the stunning Barrenjoey Head, 1km across Pittwater at Palm Beach. Multiple entry points offer easy access – one of the many reasons this park is so popular with locals. With everything from jogging tracks to picnic areas and great places to whalewatch, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park is excellent for outdoor activity. Hire paddle boats from Bobbin Inn, walk the Gibberagong track, horse ride the Perimeter trail or cycle from Mt Colah to Pymble station.

    • Akuna Bay Boating enthusiasts love Akuna Bay. Use the public barbecue and enjoy a picnic at Akuna Bay Marina. It's the ideal spot to recharge after you've been out sailing.
    • Bobbin Head Visit Bobbin Head picnic area in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park and enjoy a barbecue or a spot of fishing. Go canoeing or hire a paddle boat for a great daytrip from Sydney.

    A rich Aboriginal heritage

    Aboriginal engravings in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. Photo: David Finnegan

    The Guringai Aboriginal people originally inhabited the area, and the park showcases their rich cultural heritage. More than 350 Aboriginal sites have been recorded in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. They include rock engravings, burial sites, axe grinding grooves and places that show evidence of Aboriginal occupation. For many visitors, these sites and other relics are the most visible reminders of the area's rich, living Aboriginal culture.

    • Aboriginal Heritage walk Take the fascinating Aboriginal Heritage walk highlighting rock art and engravings of the Guringai people of West Head in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.
    • The Basin track and Mackerel track The Basin track and Mackerel track offer stunning ocean views, as well as one of Sydney's best Aboriginal Art sites. You can also enjoy a picnic and swim, or catch a ferry to other scenic spots on Pittwater.

    Brilliant for birdwatchers

    Wildflowers in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. Photo: David Finnegan

    Over 160 bird species have been recorded in the park so bring those binoculars to see wood ducks, crimson rosellas, wedge-tailed eagles and pelicans. The Basin campground is home to some confident kookaburras, so keep a tight hold on your lunch.

    • Waratah walking track The long, yet gentle, Waratah walking track takes in wildflowers and scenic water views over Akuna and Yeomens Bay in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.
    • WilderQuest keep your cool Don't mind getting wet these school holidays? Head to Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park to join this WilderQuest adventure, and discover the tricks of wildlife for staying cool in summer.

    Wonderful waterways

    Views from Barrenjoey headland, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. Photo: David Finnegan

    Protecting a major part of northern Sydney’s waterways, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park is the ideal place to make a splash. The park includes much of the Hawkesbury River, Pittwater and Cowan Water, plus numerous creeks and coves. You’ll find good facilities at Empire Marina, amazing sea views at Barrenjoey Head and several good spots for a waterfront picnic.

    • Gibberagong track mangrove and woodland walk Set out on this 1hr walk along Gibberagong track in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. You'll follow a boardwalk through mangroves and woodlands that overlook a scenic waterhole. 
    • The Basin track and Mackerel track The Basin track and Mackerel track offer stunning ocean views, as well as one of Sydney's best Aboriginal Art sites. You can also enjoy a picnic and swim, or catch a ferry to other scenic spots on Pittwater.
    • West Head lookout Enjoy incredible views from West Head lookout, regarded as one of Sydney's best in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. Photograph Pittwater and Barrenjoey Head, or take a short walk from here.

    Plants and animals you may see

    Animals

    • Long-nosed bandicoot, Sydney Harbour National Park. Photo: Narelle King

      Long-nosed bandicoot (Perameles nasuta)

      A nocturnal marsupial and one of the smaller Australian native animals, the long-nosed bandicoot is found across eastern Australia. Populations in the Sydney region have dwindled since European settlement, leaving only endangered colonies in inner western Sydney and at North Head, near Manly. The long-nosed bandicoot has grey-brown fur and a pointed snout which it uses to forage for worms and insects.

    • White-bellied sea eagle. Photo: John Turbill

      White-bellied sea eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster)

      White-bellied sea eagles can be easily identified by their white tail and dark grey wings. These raptors are often spotted cruising the coastal breezes throughout Australia, and make for some scenic bird watching. Powerful Australian birds of prey, they are known to mate for life, and return each year to the same nest to breed.

    Plants

    • Old man banksia, Moreton National Park. Photo: John Yurasek

      Old man banksia (Banksia serrata)

      Hardy Australian native plants, old man banksias can be found along the coast, and in the dry sclerophyll forests and sandstone mountain ranges of NSW. With roughened bark and gnarled limbs, they produce a distinctive cylindrical yellow-green banksia flower which blossoms from summer to early autumn.

    • Grass trees, Sugarloaf State Conservation Area. Photo: Michael Van Ewijk

      Grass tree (Xanthorrea spp.)

      An iconic part of the Australian landscape, the grass tree is widespread across eastern NSW. These Australian native plants have a thick fire-blackened trunk and long spiked leaves. They are found in heath and open forests across eastern NSW. The grass tree grows 1-5m in height and produces striking white-flowered spikes which grow up to 1m long.

    • Scribbly gum. Photo: Rosie Nicolai

      Scribbly gum (Eucalyptus haemastoma)

      Easily identifiable Australian native plants, scribbly gum trees are found throughout NSW coastal plains and hills in the Sydney region. The most distinctive features of this eucalypt are the ‘scribbles’ made by moth larva as it tunnels between the layers of bark.

    • Grey mangrove. Photo: Shane Rumming

      Grey mangrove (Avicennia marina)

      Grey mangrove is the most common and widespread mangrove found within intertidal zones across Australia, and throughout the world. Growing to a height of 3-10m, they thrive best in estuaries with a mix of fresh and salt water. They excrete excess salt through their long thick leaves, and absorb oxygen through their aerial root system.

    Environments in this park

    Education resources (1)

    People standing on a rock looking out to the point. Photo:David Finnegan