Point Cartwright Headland

Most mornings – and at least a couple of afternoons a week – I walk around to the end of the rock wall at Mooloolaba. It’s a great walk – with one teeny weeny issue: you don’t really see the sunrise from here. Pt Cartwright is the place for that. I’ve heard it said that it’s the best place for the sunrise on the coast…I’ll test that theory some day.

It’s also the place for some incredible views. From up here you can see in all directions. Straight down the coast to Caloundra…

in the other direction, up the coast across to Mooloolaba and as far as Mt Coolum. That little lump on the horizon in the pic below is Mt Coolum.

Apparently this headland point is also a good spot to watch the whales as they migrate north (and south) each year. They’re due to come through over the next month as they head north to the Barrier Reef.

Of course there’s a lighthouse – which I didn’t take a picture of because it’s one of those modern lighthouses that really is nothing to look at.

The story of it is interesting though – if you’re into lighthouse history, that is. From the late 1800s, the Caloundra Lighthouse was the beacon that guided sailors safely down the coast. By the time they got to Caloundra, they knew that the port of Brisbane wasn’t that far away. The problem was that as Caloundra grew from a fishing town into a tourist town and high rises started to be built, the light from the Caloundra Lighthouse was competing with a lot of other lights for prominence. In 1978 a new lighthouse was built at Point Cartwright. An automated light, it’s never been manned.

Another thing to check out up here is the mural on the water reservoir.

It features the type of sea life that migrates through here – or that can be seen in the skies above and the waters below. From the rock wall at Mooloolaba it looks like a blue blob, but up close, it’s fabulous.

Getting there

We parked at La Balsa Park, Buddina, and walked around to the Headland, climbing the short track to the lighthouse. This path follows the Mooloolah River and looks across to fisheries at Mooloolaba and then the rock wall. In the shallows we watched an eagle (or was it a kite? I’ve never been great at the technicalities) washing himself, his partner flying back and forward to check on him.

From here you round the point to the Headland Beach. Again the views are fabulous, but it also feels as though you have the whole place to yourself – especially on a Friday afternoon in June.

From the beach you head through the pandanus, past the picnic area, to a fork in the path. One way is paved, the other is little bush track. Both lead you (after a short climb – about 100m or so) to the Lighthouse.

If you don’t feel like walking, there’s a carpark at the end of Pacific Boulevard.

Dog friendly?

Yes. Check out the signs for when (and where) you can have your pooch off the leash…and don’t forget to take a plastic bag with you to pick up after them.

Difficulty and accessibility?

Easy. This little walk is flat and paved the whole way – with exception of the last 100m or so to the Lighthouse – it’s paved, but not flat.

There are plenty of places to sit and check out the view – both along the path and up at the Lighthouse.



Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

4 thoughts on “Point Cartwright Headland”

  1. Pingback: It’s a Wrap…
  2. I don’t know that area at all. (I don’t know the Sunny Coast particularly well. I booked a week’s holiday at Coolum once in the early 2000s and was horrified to discover it was all of the way in the north end of the Coast!)

    I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a lighthouse. I’ve been to Byron and know there’s one there, but can’t remember if it’s visible from town. I wonder if there was ever one on the Fraser Coast? Probably not… too shallow perhaps? No treacherous waters to navigate? And the mural looks great too. Sometimes they can be a bit of an eyesore if they don’t blend in but that looks like it does!


  3. The Byron Bay lighthouse is what all lighthouses should aspire to be like. These days they’re tall concrete towers with high fences, automatic lights & not at all romantic. The views, though, remain amazing. I think that part goes with the territory.


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