School excursion

Signal on the shore: Australian colonies

Stage 3 (Years 5-6), History, Cape Byron State Conservation Area

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Join us as we explore the iconic Cape Byron Lighthouse on this Stage 3 history excursion. You'll learn about the lighthouse keepers and their families, and discover how these people helped shape the development of Australia’s history.

Read more about Signal on the shore: Australian colonies

Share in historic tales of shipwrecks and storms and learn about life as a lighthouse keeper a century ago on this school excursion in Cape Byron State Conservation Area.

Students will learn how the colony of NSW formed and how the Byron Bay region was settled over time. They'll discover the role that lightkeepers played in supporting the growth and development of Australia's coastal colonies. We’ll play traditional games and tour the lighthouse up to the lantern room where you'll learn why this is the most powerful lighthouse in Australia.

This program meets the Stage 3 history focus Australian Colonies and incorporates a variety of age appropriate skills of historical inquiry and communication.

For program outline, safety and practical information about this excursion, see info for teachers

Stage Stage 3 (Years 5-6)
Learning area History
Student outcomes

HT3-1. Describes and explains the significance of people, groups, places and events to the development of Australia

HT3-2. Describes and explains different experiences of people living in Australia over time

HT3-5. Applies a variety of skills of historical inquiry and communication


Students will:

  • Learn how the colony of NSW formed and developed over time
  • Learn how the NSW North Coast evolved and changed as a result of colonisation
  • Learn how lighthouse keepers and their families played a significant role in shaping the development of Australia’s coastal colonies
  • Learn more about the lives of lightkeepers and their families in Australia’s colonial past
  • Take part in a guided climb of Cape Byron Lighthouse

Excursion details

Guided. Available on request. Weekdays during school term.
Cape Byron Lighthouse, Cape Byron State Conservation Area
2hrs 30min
Easy. Guided activities in a national park, on formed and uneven bushwalking tracks and on a grassed picnic area. The track from the lighthouse to Wategos Beach is approximately 1km.

$10.50 per person (includes GST). Minimum fee of $210.00. Teachers and other staff are free.

Meeting point
Cape Byron Lighthouse precinct at the end of Lighthouse Road, Byron Bay. Meet on the verandah of the northern side of the Lighthouse Keepers’ Cottage (Cape Byron Information Centre).
If you would like to organise a NPWS school excursion please get in touch with local staff or use the 'Enquire' link for the online form.
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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

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Park info

  • in Cape Byron State Conservation Area in the North Coast region
    • Cape Byron State Conservation Area is open all hours, but may have to close at times due to poor weather or fire danger.
    • Cape Byron Lighthouse precinct is open 8am to sunset.
    • The Maritime Museum in the former Lighthouse Keeper’s office at the base of the lighthouse is open 10am to 4pm daily.
    • Opening before 8am for events or disabled access can be arranged by prior notice – contact NPWS Byron Bay office during business hours 02 6639 8300.
  • Park entry fees:

    Cape Byron Lighthouse precinct and Information Centre: $8 per vehicle per hour/$4 per hour motorcycles. Maximum 1 hour per vehicle per calendar day, including all NPWS annual passholders.

    Captain Cook lookout, Cosy Corner, and The Pass: $4 per vehicle/motorcycle per hour. Pay and display machines - cash and credit cards accepted.

    Coach entry: $29 per coach up to 30 seats; $55 per coach 31 to 43 seats; $91 per coach 44 seats and over.

    Buy annual pass (//
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Info for teachers

All the practical information you need to know about Signal on the shore: Australian colonies.

Program outline

  • Welcome, introductions, acknowledgement of Country and safety talk
  • Activity 1 for all students: Setting the scene, the colony of NSW (20mins)
  • Activity 2: Round robin activity (3 groups of 30min rotations)
    • Group 1: Lives of people in colonial past, what was life like for the lighthouse keepers and their families?
    • Group 2: Lives of people in colonial past, children’s games in colonial times (teacher-led)
    • Group 3: Lighthouse tour. Now and then, continuity and change – some things change over time and others remain the same.
  • Summary and debrief

Getting there and parking

To get to Cape Byron Lighthouse, take Lawson Street (which becomes Lighthouse Road) and follow it to the lighthouse.

Road quality

  • Sealed roads

Vehicle access

  • 2WD vehicles

Weather restrictions

  • All weather


Bus parking is located at the lighthouse precinct. Buses transporting students on approved programs are free. Additional vehicles are required to pay appropriate fees.

Parking is limited at excursion venues. An $8 car entry fee applies at the lighthouse. Those with NPWS Park passes are exempt. Annual passes can be purchased online or from certain NPWS offices.

What to bring

Hat, sunscreen, adequate food and drinking water and sturdy walking shoes. There are water bubblers at the Cape and Wategos Beach. Please bring gear in a backpack, not in plastic bags. Schools are encouraged to arrive early for their program to allow time for morning tea and a toilet break.

Maps and downloads

Safety messages

Pre activity briefing: participants will be briefed at the start of the activity/day.

Safety equipment: NPWS staff carry radios and first aid kits, hold current first aid certificates and are aware of emergency procedures.

Staff accreditation: NPWS staff have current Senior First Aid accreditation. They are experienced in working with groups of students in the natural environment and have excellent knowledge of the specific areas they are visiting including potential hazards. NPWS is committed to a Child Safe and Friendly Environment. Our staff have been screened for child-related employment and have completed a Working with Children Check.

Emergencies: NPWS staff are trained to deal with emergencies and emergency procedures are in place. Ongoing supervision of a student following first aid treatment will be the responsibility of the visiting school.

Risk assessment and risk benefits

Our rangers and guides have the technical skill and experience to assess the risks and the benefits of a variety of activities delivered as part of our learning programs.

We believe in including opportunities that allow students to learn and experience for themselves through exploration in the natural environment.

Please make your own risk assessment based on the information provided. Detailed potential risks and controls are provided for the site to assist teachers in risk management planning. Teachers and carers should be aware of, and consider the needs, abilities and medical conditions of students when visiting this site. The supervision of students remains the responsibility of the teacher. The school must ensure an adequate number of adult supervisors are present.


Disability access level - hard

Wheelchairs can access this area with some difficulty. Wheelchair facilities are available. Please let us know in advance if you are bringing someone with special needs so that we can plan accordingly.