The iconic Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse in Augusta is not only a must-visit for tourists, it’s also the dramatic staging point for two of Australia’s most spectacular outdoor adventure sport events.
Lighthouses are, it must be said, generally designed to keep people away from getting too close to the coast. And that’s still the case for the Cape Leeuwin lighthouse, one of Australia’s most historic coastal beacons still pulsing out a dazzling million-candela beam (one candela is equivalent to around a 200th of the brightness of a 50 watt light bulb) every 7.5 seconds.
Before the lighthouse was opened in 1896, the treacherous waters around Cape Leeuwin (named after the Dutch exploration ship Leeuwin, or lioness) had claimed 22 ships; just one met a watery grave after this time.
The lighthouse, operated by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, is now fully automated. Modern technology has superseded the original clockwork rotation mechanism and kerosene lantern.
Cape Leeuwin’s beam pierces the night for 25 nautical miles, plenty of warning for ships to steer clear of that savage shore.
But as well as being a working facility, the lighthouse now also plays an equally vital role in attracting people to the area – thousands of tourists each year.