Montague Island Lighthouse

Barunguba Montague Island Nature Reserve

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Montague Island Lighthouse on Barunguba Montague Island is the perfect place to get in touch with history while seeing dramatic views, amazing birds and marine wildlife.

Historic buildings/places

Guided tour fees apply

What to
Hat, sunscreen, drinking water
Please note
  • A minimum age of 5 years applies for all visitors to Barunguba Montague Island
  • Tours may be subject to late cancellation in the event of unfavourable weather and sea conditions
  • You can choose a longer morning tour (2.5hrs on the island) or a shorter afternoon tour (1hr on the island).
  • The island can be windy. A windproof jacket is a good idea at all times.

Let your inner history buff loose and explore Montague Island Lighthouse. The lighthouse, built way back in 1881, is impossible to miss – it’s an impressive granite structure that will have you reaching for your camera. Climb the winding staircase to the top – it’s a great vantage point for whale watching and the amazing 360 degree views will take your breath away.

Retaining most of its original form and features, little has changed from the time the lighthouse was constructed to what you will see today. Designed in 1873 and completed almost a decade later, it’s a testament to Victorian design and innovation. Taking a guided tour is a great way to learn more about the unique heritage of the lighthouse and surrounding wildlife.

Stay overnight at either Montague Island Head Lighthouse Keeper's Cottage or Montague Island Assistant Lighthouse Keeper’s Cottage. In the morning light explore the island along the Barunguba Montague Island walking track.

Take a virtual tour of Montague Island lighthouse captured with Google Street View Trekker.

For directions, safety and practical information, see visitor info


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Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Montague Island Lighthouse.

Getting there and parking

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    Montague Island Lighthouse is in Montague Island Nature Reserve. Montague Island is only accessible via one of NSW National Parks & Wildlife contracted commercial vessel tour operators. 

    Montague Island water transport charters include:

    Montague Island tours and overnight stays depart from:

    • Narooma wharf - Bluewater Drive, Narooma
    • Bermagui wharf - Bermagui Harbour, Bermagui

    A minimum age of 5 years applies for all visitors to Montague Island. Visitors need to be able to climb the island’s jetty ladder and the steep hill that follows.

    Road quality

    • Sealed roads

    Vehicle access

    • 2WD vehicles

    Weather restrictions

    • All weather


    Parking is available at Narooma and Bermagui wharves.

    Best times to visit

    There are lots of great things waiting for you on Montague Island Nature Reserve. Here are some of the highlights.


    New Zealand and Australian fur seals are at their peak on the island during spring, making this the perfect time for some seal-spotting. To tempt you even more, humpback whales can often be spotted along the coastline, and pods of dolphins come to play among the boats too – book a guided tour that includes whale watching for the best chance to spot this special sea mammal in its own environment From October huge numbers of shearwaters begin to arrive and nest on the island through the summer.


    Soak up the summer sun on a guided tour of Montague Island and provides some of the best weather for photographs.


    From late winter the seal colony on the island starts to grow. It can get quite chilly in winter so pack warm clothes.

    Weather, temperature and rainfall

    Summer temperature


    15°C and 25°C

    Highest recorded


    Winter temperature


    4°C and 16°C

    Lowest recorded



    Wettest month


    Driest month


    The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day


    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 Plus 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).



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


    NSW national parks are no smoking areas.

    Learn more

    Montague Island Lighthouse is in Barunguba Montague Island Nature Reserve. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

    A sacred place

    Rocky shoreline, Montague Island Nature Reserve. Photo: Stuart Cohen

    The Yuin people have had a long connection with Barunguba Montague Island, travelling to the island for traditional ceremonies and food, and using it as a men's teaching place. It would have been a dangerous trip - 9km each way by bark canoe. There are many Aboriginal artefacts and middens on the island. Barunguba is the eldest son of Gulaga (Mount Dromedary) and a brother to Najunuka (Little Dromedary). The older brother, Barunguba was allowed out to sea while Najunuka, the younger brother, had to stay close to his mother. To recognise its cultural significance to Yuin people, Barunguba was declared an Aboriginal Place under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 in June 2018.

    Colonial heritage

    Gravestones at cemetery below the lighthouse, on  Barunguba Montague Island Nature Reserve. Learn about Montague Island Nature Reserve's Aboriginal heritage, it's colonial history, and the island's remarkable plants and animals on a walking tour. Photo: Stuart Cohen/OEH

    Get in touch with Australia's colonial history - Captain James Cook spotted the island from his tall ship in 1770 but assumed it was part of the mainland. It wasn't until 1790 that the island was officially identified by European Settlers as an island, and named 'Montagu' after the Earl of Halifax George Montagu Dunk, by the master of the convict ship Surprise. The island received visits from several shipwrecked sailors, and during the goldrush seabird eggs were collected from the island to sell to miners.

    • Montague Island Lighthouse Montague Island Lighthouse on Barunguba Montague Island is the perfect place to get in touch with history while seeing dramatic views, amazing birds and marine wildlife.

    A sanctuary for seabirds, seals and whales

    A crested tern chick walks on a rock in front of its parent, Barunguba Montague Island Nature Reserve. Photo: Stuart Cohen/OEH

    The protected waters of Barunguba Montague Island are a playground for hundreds of seals who make the island their home, all year round. Between September and November you can also see humpback and southern right whales pass the island on their annual migration south. Watch for blowholes and spectacular displays from the island or on a combined whale watching and island tour. With more than 90 bird species seen on the island, and 15 species breeding there, you’ll be reaching for your binoculars – and camera – at every turn. Up to 8,000 penguins live on the island at any one time. Between September and March they are joined by three species of shearwaters, which can produce more than 12,000 chicks per year, and their colonies seem to be growing!

    • Barunguba Montague Island walking track This 1.5 km coastal walk around Barunguba Montague Island is short but challenging. It takes you past the historic lighthouse and precious penguin breeding boxes.
    • Montague Island Lighthouse Montague Island Lighthouse on Barunguba Montague Island is the perfect place to get in touch with history while seeing dramatic views, amazing birds and marine wildlife.

    Plants and animals protected in this park


    • Australian fur seals, Montague Island Nature Reserve. Photo: OEH

      Australian fur seal (Arctocephalus pusillus doriferus)

      The largest fur seal, Australian fur seals are found in isolated rocky outcrops and islands along the NSW coast. They come ashore to form breeding colonies and can often be seen at Barunguba Montague Island Nature Reserve.

    • Humpback whale breaching. Photo: Dan Burns

      Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae)

      The humpback whale has the longest migratory path of any mammal, travelling over 5000km from its summer feeding grounds in Antarctica to its breeding grounds in the subtropics. Its playful antics, such as body-rolling, breaching and pectoral slapping, are a spectacular sight for whale watchers in NSW national parks.

    • 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.

    Environments in this park

    Education resources (1)