Sunny side up at South Head

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence - SU­SAN KURO­SAWA

,MY doc­tor says I have chronic vi­ta­min D de­fi­ciency and has or­dered “sun­shine walks” and bright yel­low cap­sules that look like golden orbs and so it feels, a bit, like swal­low­ing mea­sured doses of the sun.

On one such ther­a­peu­tic prom­e­nade last week, af­ter an ap­point­ment in east Syd­ney’s har­bour­side Wat­sons Bay, I huffed and puffed up a hill and what a glo­ri­ous re­ward was in store on Old South Head Road.

I have driven past this gleam­ing white light­house on many oc­ca­sions but never paused to read the sign or study the build­ing’s per­fect sym­me­try.

Mac­quarie Light Sta­tion, which be­gan op­er­at­ing on Novem­ber 30, 1818 and was re­built in 1883, was Australia’s first light­house and its fit­ting me­mo­rial is sim­plic­ity it­self — just a plaque em­bed­ded in a hand­some sand­stone stack on a trimmed lawn.

Ap­par­ently con­vict ar­chi­tect Fran­cis Green­way did such a good job with the de­sign that he was granted a con­di­tional par­don by gover­nor Lach­lan Mac­quarie and the colo­nial pooh-bars. The light­house is still in use and 20-minute es­corted tours are avail­able ev­ery two months from 10am to 4pm; the next is on April 19, with much-cov­eted bookings open from April 1 at a most rea­son­able $5 a pop for adults or $3 child or con­ces­sion (fam­ily rates avail­able).

In my quest to be sunny side up, I could at­tempt the Har­bour Bridge to South Head des­ig­nated walk­ing route for my booked tour or, more real­is­ti­cally, set off from a Bondi cafe, af­ter an almond milk latte and for­ti­fy­ing fruit toast.

Ei­ther way, there is much to be said for walk­ing and look­ing and re­dis­cov­er­ing one’s backyard patch.

Thanks to this serendip­i­tous dis­cov­ery, I also know the first keeper of Green­way’s great bea­con was a for­mer har­bour mas­ter, Robert Wat­son, hence this pretty sub­urb’s name, but he died a year af­ter be­ing ap­pointed. Mac­quarie Light Sta­tion has been fully au­to­mated since 1976 and a light­house keeper is no longer in res­i­dence. What a fine job that would have been, in a high, white room with a view, es­pe­cially in sum­mer, with sun­shine stream­ing from all sides.

Fol­low on Instagram: su­sankuro­sawa

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