Who doesn’t love a lighthouse? They recall the romance of ages past and simpler times. Some people enjoy the remoteness, others like the scenic locations.
The idea of lighting coastlines and harbors by fire to assist mariners dates back millennium. One of the early lighthouses is credited to Themistocles, c. 524–459 BCE, an Athenian politician and general, who established a lighthouse, which was a small stone column with a fire beacon at the harbor in Piraeus connected to Athens in the fifth century BCE.
In this day of GPS and satellites, the iconic symbol of the sea seems mostly relegated to the past. One estimate states that there are still more than 18,600 lighthouses worldwide, not all still in use and many are museums.
A rare rocky promontory on a sand island is home to one such lighthouse. Cape Moreton Lighthouse on the island of Moreton was the first lighthouse to be built in Queensland. It was constructed as a New South Wales light in 1857 before Queensland became a separate colony. It was built because of the increasing traffic to the northern coast. For a long time was the only light on 3,236 miles of coastline.
The entrance into Moreton Bay, near the island, is scattered with wrecks that attest the notoriousness of the bay. The tower was built using sandstone quarried on the island. The tower was added to in 1928. The original light source was oil wick, but it was converted in 1930 to pressurized acetylene gas. That was followed seven years later by a conversion to 240v electricity. Solar conversion took place in 1993.
The lighthouse sits on the northern point of Moreton Island. On the west side of the island is Tangalooma, which was the location of Queensland’s first and only whaling station from 1952 to 1962. Today, it serves as a small resort that serves mainly day trippers from Brisbane.
During our President’s Picks: Australia Down Under Canvas, you have the opportunity to take a ferry to Moreton Island to enjoy dolphin feeding or join in a 4WD tour of the island, which includes the lighthouse. You can also try sand tobogganing or simply relax at Tangalooma Resort.
Other happenings in this program include leisurely touring by bike of Brisbane, one of Australia’s oldest cities. It features more than 17 miles of scenic bicycle pathways surrounding the Brisbane River and city center. Explore Bamurru Plains, an extraordinary wilderness nestled on the coastal floodplains of the Mary River Delta just west of Kakadu National Park in Australia’s Northern Territory. Learn about Margaret River wine region as well as savoring a smorgasbord of great foods, boutique breweries and colorful arts and crafts galleries. In Bouddi National Park, take in an Indigenous Didgeridoo Smoking Ceremony and relish a guided tour hosted by traditional Aboriginal Elder.
Quite simply, the 15-day President’s Picks: Australia Down Under Canvas features enough activities from private cooking classes to a gourmet wine tour of the Hunter Valley Region, to kayaking and paddle boarding, to please almost any traveler to Australia.
P.S…. After one canceled flight, one schedule change and a forced over, Big Five’s pres is in LA, still trying to get to Australia. Maybe tonight, Ashish? Stay tuned for more of the big guy’s travel adventures.