The coastal walk along Fingal Head where the lighthouse sits, has to be one of my favourite! With minimal crowds, picture perfect views and plenty of spots to sit and relax, this is a great family friendly coastal walk. Points of attraction here include the Fingal Head Lighthouse, built in 1872, and Australia’s very own Giants Causeway.
Now first up, let’s be clear here – this is not a walk to take if you need a pram, and definitely not if you have a runner – wait til they’re older and you’re able to enjoy the walk without any stress! The walk itself is about 500m each way, so short enough for those who aren’t confident walkers. However, there is a lengthy staircase to navigate (as pictured), so be prepared to carry little ones or have patience as they tackle the stairs! There are also no safety fences at the top – the path is set a fair distance back from the edge, but it is a clear drop straight off the edge so children need to understand the importance of staying on the path.
As you reach the top of the walk, you’ll start to see some information signs with details about when and why the lighthouse was built and how it operated. The ruins of the lightkeepers cottage is also along the way. Once you reach the top, you’ll first see the lighthouse. It’s not the biggest or fanciest lighthouse, but makes for some nice pictures and is interesting to learn about. Then follow the paved pathway and you’ll come to the coastal walk. With views out to Cook Island, it’s a great spot for whale watching or simply staring out into the ocean. When we visited the weather was absolutely perfect and not even a breeze blew by making it really pleasant to stay for a while. On windy days I imagine it would be rather intimidating as there is no protection from the wind.
The path has a few breaks in it, where you’ll navigate some uneven ground but nothing too difficult. It then reaches the most easterly point and here is where you’ll get a glimpse at Australia’s very own Giant’s Causeway. Just like the larger and well known version in Ireland, this small causeway features hexagonal columns believed to have formed when lava from the prehistoric volcano Mount Warning erupted millions of years ago. It’s pretty fascinating to look at, and it runs under water all the way over to Cook Island.
Dreamtime Beach is accessible from the track to the lighthouse, however this beach is unpatrolled so swimming is not encouraged. Once you’re back at the carpark, you’re only a short, 2 minute drive to the patrolled Fingal Head Beach.
Need to know
- Cost: Free
- Location: a carpark is available at the end of Lighthouse Parade, Fingal Head. Follow the signs for a 500m walk up to the lighthouse.
- Facilities: There is a beach shower at the end of the walk, however no toilets are available in the area. Nearest toilets are 2 min away at Fingal Head Beach.