4th October 2015
I had always wanted to go back up to Barrenjoey Lighthouse having gone there only once about 18 years before. I wanted to go up on a Sunday because that is the only day the lighthouse is open to the public, between 10am ~ 4pm.
The day started warm and got to around 35C by the time I started walking up the path at 10:30am. I had been sick for weeks with a horrid bug so it was not the best thing to do to my body but as I was due to go into hospital for a hernia op the following week, I knew it was my only chance because the recuperation period would inhibit any excursion back up there any time soon. I needed the photos for a calendar I was making for friends and family overseas and here.
The road up to the Northern Beaches and Palm Beach is frustrating at any time but especially when the sun shines, it is warm and in Summer. I managed to get one of about 4 car park places left when I arrived at nearly 10am also, it is all pay parking everywhere up there.
I thought I would be able to park my car then walk up a gentle slope straight from the car park. Mmmmmmm…….. When I saw the long walk across the sand and the bushy entrance to the path at the end, I felt the collywobbles in my already tender stomach. Being a Kiwi, I do not have an affinity with anything that does not have fur on it. Creepy crawlies and reptiles ie:snakes!!! send my blood cold, all of my Australian friends just laugh at me.
It is close to an hour’s drive from my place on the Lower North Shore to Palm Beach so I was not going to turn around and go home. I reached the start of the walk and stood for a few moments, Grade 3 right side steps~10 mins or Grade 2 left side pathway ~15mins.
I decided it would be easier to take the steps back down so I made my decision and started walking. The 15 min walk up took me 25 mins and I arrived at the lighthouse dripping from the heat and the left over bug still in my system. There is not a lot of shade up there and the heat was relentless.
Looking back down the stairs from the top inside the lighthouse
Looking up at the huge light
I booked in for a tour at 12 noon which gave me a little time to look around the inside quarters at the base of the lighthouse. The history is amazing, it was finished in 1881 and became a national park in 1997. It is well worth the walk up there to learn about it but the views from the top of the lighthouse are just superb. The tours last approximately 30 mins although ours went closer to 45mins. You must allow plenty of time for the walk there and back plus the tour so keep this in mind when you put your money into the parking meters.The time limit is 5 hours but I only put enough in for 2 and should have put at least another 1/2 hr in just for comfort.
It is such a wonderful place to take anyone visiting this city, you just need to start off early especially during the summer, to avoid the inevitable carpark type traffic that always happens as you get closer to Palm Beach. The one road up there is totally, totally gridlocked for kilometres. That is not fun if you have a car full of young children just dying to get to the beach.
There are also some fabulous restaurants up that way.