To get to the lighthouse you have to cross the spit by foot, or go by boat or kayak, the lighthouse is not always accessible.
The spit is a very dangerous piece of sand, it has claimed 15 lives since the lighthouse was built. It is a stretch of sand that joins the mainland to Fingal Island. This stretch of land is covered by water as the tides come in and go out. So, if you decide to cross the spit at the wrong time, your chance of get caught in the strong currents and channels and swell is high. The spit can be very dangerous and quite unpredictable and care should be taken if you intend to cross it.
I finally crossed the spit after many years of apprehension. I wanted to explore the old relics of yesteryear, Point Stephens lighthouse and old homestead of the light keeper. Once on the island the walk is easy and straight forward. There are a few tracks to explore on the island.
Point Stephens Lighthouse on Fingal Island.
Fingal lighthouse is also referred to as the outer light as there are two lighthouses in Port Stephens, the inner lighthouse is positioned at the end of Shoal Bay beach in the harbour. The outer lighthouse was built in the 1860’s and is made of sandstone that was quarried from the Hawkesbury River and brought up by sailing ships, put onto punts and take ashore to be dragged by bullocks across the spit and up to where the lighthouse stands today. This must have been a massive task back then, 1860’s. The lighthouse was powered by a lantern and many years later a generator provided electricity, then in 1989 solar was introduced to power the lighthouse.
The Keeper’s Residence
The keeper’s residence housed 3 families. The kids (11) went to school in the lighthouse. It must have been hard work for the mums watching the kids, as there was water everywhere, rocky outcrops, snakes in the bush and ticks. Let alone the weather as it would have been a very windy place to live and at times extremely cold. Also, it is quite isolated and a long way from any help in an emergency.
The coastal views from the island are pretty amazing. You see for miles north and south and east. There are spectacular rocky outcrops and rock pools and small beaches to visit.