Point Stephens Lighthouse and Fingal Island

Tomaree National Park

Affected by closures, check current alerts 

Overview

Take a boat or kayak to Fingal Island and explore Point Stephens Lighthouse and historic ruins.

Type
Historic buildings/places
Where
Tomaree National Park
Price
Free
Please note
  • It's not safe to walk or drive the 2km across Fingal sand spit to the lighthouse. Sea water covering the sand spit, combined with deep channels and ocean swell, have made the crossing extremely unpredictable and hazardous.
  • If travelling by kayak or boat, remember to check the tides before crossing and allow sufficient time for your return journey.
  • Remember to take your binoculars if you want to go whale watching.

Point Stephens Lighthouse stands tall and elegant on Fingal Island with a view over the rocks of Fingal Bay. The coastal views from the island back to the mainland are worth the effort to get there. 

Built in 1862, Point Stephens Lighthouse features a swept tower base and first floor entrance that give a flared appearance. This construction, along with the terrace of Lighthouse Keepers’ quarters within the lighthouse precinct makes Point Stephens unique among Australian lighthouses.

It is not safe to reach the lighthouse by walking or 4WDing across the spit so it’s best to get to a boat and then walk along the track to the lighthouse. 

For directions, safety and practical information, see visitor info

Also see

  • Young couple on Fort Tomaree walk in Tomaree National Park. Photo: J Spencer/OEH

    Fort Tomaree walk

    Fort Tomaree walk is an easy walk that runs just below Tomaree Head Summit walk and takes you to the World War II gun emplacements, used in the defence of east coast Australia during World War II.

  • Coastal view from Tomaree Head summit walk. Photo: John Spencer/OEH

    Tomaree Head Summit walk

    Take a guided tour along Tomaree Head Summit walk, absorbing views of Port Stephens and the north coast. When you reach the summit, enjoy a relaxing lunch on the bench by the lookout.

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 https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/historic-buildings-places/point-stephens-lighthouse-and-fingal-island/local-alerts

General enquiries

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Point Stephens Lighthouse and Fingal Island.

Getting there and parking

Get driving directions

Get directions

    Fingal Island and Point Stephens Lighthouse are in Tomaree National Park, just off the coast of the Fingal Bay township in Port Stephens.

    Views over Fingal Island and Point Stephens Lighthouse can be enjoyed from Tomaree Head Summit walk. Alternatively, the island can be viewed from Fingal Bay Beach. To get to Fingal Bay Beach:

    • Turn onto Government Road from Shoal Bay Road, Shoal Bay.
    • Continue on Marine Drive towards Fingal Bay
    • As you enter town, park at the Surf Live Saving Club on the left.

    Please note the Fingal sand spit across to Fingal Island and Point Stephens Lighthouse is currently impassable, and access to Fingal Island is currently by boat only. Seawater covering the sand spit, combined with deep channels and ocean swell, have made the crossing extremely unpredictable and hazardous. For your own safety, please do not attempt to walk across the spit in any direction. Access to Fingal Island is by boat only, until further notice.

    Park entry points

    Road quality

    • Sealed roads

    Vehicle access

    • 2WD vehicles

    Weather restrictions

    • All weather

    Parking

    Parking is available at Fingal Beach Surf Life Saving Club.

    Best times to visit

    There are lots of great things waiting for you in Tomaree National Park. Here are some of the highlights.

    Spring

    A fabulous time to experience Tomaree's wildflowers display.

    Summer

    Cool off with a dip at Shoal Bay or Box beach, or try snorkelling at Zenith beach; a gorgeous and protected marine sanctuary.


    Winter

    Fishermans Bay and Boat Harbour are the best places to spot humpback whales as they migrate north between May and July or you can take a guided tour.

    Weather, temperature and rainfall

    Summer temperature

    Average

    17°C and 27°C

    Highest recorded

    41.5°C

    Winter temperature

    Average

    8°C and 19°C

    Lowest recorded

    1.1°C

    Rainfall

    Wettest month

    May and June

    Driest month

    October and November

    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.

    Strong rips and currents may be present at this beach – take care in the water and please supervise children at all times.

    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).

    Water activities

    For safety, do not attempt to walk across the spit in any direction. Access to Fingal Island is by boat only until further notice.

    Prohibited

    It's not safe to walk or drive the 2km across Fingal sand spit to the lighthouse. Sea water covering the sand spit, combined with deep channels and ocean swell, have made the crossing extremely unpredictable and hazardous. 

    Access to Fingal island is by boat or kayak only.

    Camping

    Whether you're pitching your tent on the coast or up on the mountains, there are many things to consider when camping in NSW national parks. Find out how to stay safe when camping.

    Camping is not permitted on Fingal Island.

    Drones

    Pets

    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.

    Smoking

    NSW national parks are no smoking areas.

    Nearby towns

    Forster (46 km)

    Dominated by water sports Forster is the centre of the Great Lakes area.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Newcastle (15 km)

    Newcastle is a harbour city surrounded by amazing surf beaches that are linked by a great coastal walk, the Bathers Way. The walk from Nobbys Beach to Merewether Beach takes about three hours and is a great way to explore the city.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Learn more

    Point Stephens Lighthouse and Fingal Island is in Tomaree National Park. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

    Aboriginal heritage

    Big Rocky walk, Tomaree National Park. Photo: John Spencer

    Tomaree National Park is the traditional land of Worimi People and provided a range of resources, including food, medicines and shelter. The ancient landscape of the park is part of the cultural knowledge and 'Dreaming' stories of the Worimi People and remains an important Aboriginal place today. A walk along the beaches of Tomaree National Park are a walk along ancient travel routes used by Worimi to travel north and south through their Country.

    Birdlife and koala country

    Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus), Tomaree National Park. Photo: John Turbil

    The park's beaches and rocks support sooty oystercatchers and the swamps support active populations of wallum froglet populations of migratory shore birds including the eastern curlew and red-necked stint. See if you can spot the passing bar-tailed godwit - this long-beaked bird holds the record for the longest non-stop flight; 11,000km without a break. Visit in winter to see colourful lorikeets and honeyeaters feeding on wildflowers in the coastal heathland and in summer you'll see migratory tropical species including cuckoos and rainforest pigeons. Look close at the surrounding shoreline and you may find green turtles and dugongs. Tomaree National Park also offers the opportunity to see one of Australia's iconic animals up close. See koalas feasting on swamp mahogany in and around the park, or in the trees around One Mile Beach carpark.

    • Big Rocky to Samurai wetlands adventure walk Journey through changing landscapes on this 3hr walk with Tomaree Coastal Adventures near Port Stephens. Your guides will lead you through sand dunes, forest and shoreline in Tomaree National Park.
    • Tomaree 4WD tag-along and passenger tours Explore the fabulous sand dunes of Tomaree National Park safely with experienced guides from 4WD Tag-Along and Passenger Tours, near Nelson Bay and Port Stephens.
    • Wreck Beach walk The short walk to Wreck Beach offers a private alternative to the beaches of Port Stephens, with opportunities for picnicking and whale watching.

    Ancient landscape

    The northern section of Tomaree National Park has 4 peaks, the largest being Tomaree Head at 162m high. Overall, the landscape is the residual surface of a peneplain uplifted during the tertiary period (65 to 1.8 million years ago) and subsequently eroded, leaving the more resistant volcanic rocks as small hills. Port Stephens is a flooded river valley. The western sections of the park are sand deposits of fluvial and estuarine origin.

    • Big Rocky to Samurai wetlands adventure walk Journey through changing landscapes on this 3hr walk with Tomaree Coastal Adventures near Port Stephens. Your guides will lead you through sand dunes, forest and shoreline in Tomaree National Park.
    • Tomaree 4WD tag-along and passenger tours Explore the fabulous sand dunes of Tomaree National Park safely with experienced guides from 4WD Tag-Along and Passenger Tours, near Nelson Bay and Port Stephens.
    • Tomaree Head Summit walk Take a guided tour along Tomaree Head Summit walk, absorbing views of Port Stephens and the north coast. When you reach the summit, enjoy a relaxing lunch on the bench by the lookout.
    • Wreck Beach walk The short walk to Wreck Beach offers a private alternative to the beaches of Port Stephens, with opportunities for picnicking and whale watching.

    Military history

    Tomaree Head gun enplacements, Tomaree National Park. Photo: John Spencer

    Follow in the footsteps of Australian soldiers on the trail to Tomaree Head. The historic Fort Tomaree played an important role in the defence of Port Stephens during World War II, including Tomaree Head that was solidly armed with gun emplacements. You can take a guided Discovery tour of the gun emplacements to find out more about this historic site.

    • Fingal Island historical lighthouse tour Take a step back in time with this tour of Point Stephens Lighthouse and Fingal Island in Tomaree National Park. Hear fascinating stories of the island's history from a passionate local guide on this engaging outing with Moonshadow-TQC Cruises, near Nelson Bay.
    • Fort Tomaree walk Fort Tomaree walk is an easy walk that runs just below Tomaree Head Summit walk and takes you to the World War II gun emplacements, used in the defence of east coast Australia during World War II.
    • Point Stephens Lighthouse and Fingal Island Take a boat or kayak to Fingal Island and explore Point Stephens Lighthouse and historic ruins.
    • World War II gun emplacements Discover the military history of Port Stephens on a guided tour of the historic gun emplacements at Tomaree Head in Tomaree National Park on the north coast of NSW.

    Plants and animals you may see

    Animals

    • Koala. Photo: Lucy Morrell

      Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus)

      One of the most renowned Australian animals, the tree-dwelling marsupial koala can be found in gum tree forests and woodlands across eastern NSW, Victoria and Queensland, as well as in isolated regions in South Australia. With a vice-like grip, this perhaps most iconic but endangered Australian animal lives in tall eucalypts within a home range of several hectares.

    • 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.

    • Smooth-barked apple. Photo: Jaime Plaza

      Smooth-barked apple (Angophora costata)

      Smooth-barked apple gums, also known as Sydney red gum or rusty gum trees, are Australian native plants found along the NSW coast, and in the Sydney basin and parts of Queensland. Growing to heights of 15-30m, the russet-coloured angophoras shed their bark in spring to reveal spectacular new salmon-coloured bark.

    • 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.

    Environments in this park

    Education resources (1)

    School excursions (1)