A visit to The Mornington Peninsula won’t be complete if you don’t visit the famous Cape Schanck Lighthouse. Located at the tip of the peninsula fronting the Bass Strait, the lighthouse still stands tall and proud since its construction way back in 1859.
The Cape Schanck Lightstation has a fully functional beacon and it offers visitors a unique glimpse of the past as the historic buildings around it are still kept true to their original condition. On the Lightstation grounds are 3 cottages which have been residences of the lighthouse keepers.
On the day we arrived at the Lightstation, it was late afternoon and the sky was a bit downcast. Even before we reached the main gates, we could see the magnificent white and red lighthouse etched against the grey sky. Prior instructions were given to us on how to enter the property as we arrived after 4pm (the closing time of their reception). There’s a sense of mystery and excitement as we retrieved the key from a secret place and we followed the instructions explicitly.
The Headkeeper’s White Cottage
The Museum Cottage
Upon entering the grounds, I couldn’t help feeling that the scene before us was like something out of an Enid Blyton’s story, something along the lines of “The Famous Five and the Mystery of the Flickering Lighthouse”. Except that there were only four of us and the lighthouse wasn’t flickering… so, no mystery there!
The Red Cottage
The Red Cottage assigned to us is surrounded by a white picket fence. This red brick cottage was built in 1929. There are 3 large bedrooms with 2 double beds and 4 single beds. There’s a lounge with an open fireplace and full kitchen with modern facilities. The furnishings retain their 1920’s quaintness and charm. The cottage is not luxurious but all basic amenities are available and really, the main attraction is the experience of being in this heritage site.
We took a walk along the trail to view the ocean from cliffs that rise 80m above the ocean – the lighthouse rises another 21m. There’s a maritime museum to check out, daily guided tours of the working lighthouse and several spectacular coastal bush walk trails to discover. This is a great place for nature lovers. Meals and picnic baskets can be arranged on request and the surrounding bays are ideal for trekking and picnics. Depending on the time of the year, whales are often sighted in the ocean surrounding this area.
At night it’s very dark and quiet and all that can be heard is the sound of waves crashing on the jagged coast. Across the vast lawn, the other cottages stand, enveloped in their own privacy. Due to its remoteness, wifi or mobile reception is very weak and at times, practically nil. It’s good to be cut-off from civilization once in a while – that’s the whole idea of enjoying this “wilderness”.
The Cape Schanck Resort & Golf Course is merely 5-10 minutes’ drive away from the lightstation. Once the sun sets, the road from the lightstation, ie Cape Schanck Road, leading out to intersect with Boneo Road (where the golf resort is located) is pitch dark – there are no streetlights along that road and the only illumination of the road comes from the car’s headlights. The Restaurant at the golf resort serves pretty decent food, as we discovered when we had dinner there.
Prawns on the Barbie – typically Aussie!
Smoked Duck Breast
A stay at Cape Schanck Lighthouse’s Red Cottage is certainly something very memorable as it’s a totally unique experience, in a remote and “wild” location, far from crowds and modern-day disruptions. If you have a taste for adventure in a quaint old-world environment, enveloped in Mother Nature’s raw awesomeness, then do check this out! We promise you it will be a stay like no other.
Cape Schanck Lightstation
420 Cape Schanck Road
Tel: 03 59886184
Fax: 03 59886251
Website - Cape Schanck Lighthouse
For more information on what to do when visiting The Mornington Peninsula, check out this Official site.