Smoky Cape has a history stretching back to the time of early European exploration, when Captain James Cook first set sight on the rocky outcrop on Sunday, May 13, 1770. Eleven years after Cooks history-making journey, convicts would build the first manned light in the country on the south head of Sydney Harbour. Almost a century would pass before the proposal to build another light at Smoky Cape on the mid-north New South Wales coastline was put up by member for West Sydney Alexander Kethel in 1886. Colonial architect James Barnet was summoned to design and build the lighthouse. Cecil W Darley – Engineer in Chief – would take over from Barnet after a change in administration. The completed lighthouse was exhibited on April 15, 1891. The lighthouse and ancillary buildings cost a total 1600 pounds to build. The original lens and lantern remain in operation. But the clockwork weight driven machinery and kerosene lamp was removed when the light was converted to electric in 1962.
Guided tours of the inside of the lighthouse are conducted on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 1pm. The short walk to the lighthouse takes you to an observation deck providing stunning views over the coastline and small islands just off the mainland. There is also a small shed on approach to the lighthouse containing information displays on the building of the lighthouse, life as a lighthouse keeper and the Aborigines who called the area home. The Lighthouse Keeper Cottage and Assistant Lighthouse Keepers Cottages now operate as a B&B.
- Sealed road, 2WD access
- Parking available at Captain Cook Lookout carpark
- Short walk to Smoky Cape Lighthouse from Captain Cook Lookout
- Guided tours of the lighthouse conducted Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 1pm. Phone (02) 6566 6301
- Humpback and Southern Right Whale spotting from the lookout depending on the season.