Sunrise, Smoky Cape Light House, South West Rocks, Australia

what i learnt about fear at the smoky cape lighthouse

When they say that everything you want lies on the other side of fear, they are absolutely right. Happiness, freedom, self-confidence all the things we crave and somehow don’t seem to get our hands on are bordered by some form of fear. Fear acts like a barbed wire fencing our brain. It forces us to stay in a safe place where we don’t get stung. If we try to get past it, it will shred our skin, cause us pain, but what it all comes down to is, how much do we want to cross that fence. Because at the end of the day, it’s just a fence, it’s not impermeable.

That’s what I learnt from spending a night at the Smoky Cape Light House on South West Rocks. Anyone who knows me knows that I usually have a heart of a mouse. I don’t identify with the adrenaline junkie, bungee jumping, cliff diving kind and that has a lot to do with the fact that I am an overthinker. I think too much about what can go wrong.

When we decided to make a stop and spend the night at the lighthouse on our way to Gold Coast, I didn’t expect it to be this thrilling. The drive up to the light house was like driving into no man’s land (literally). You turn off the headlights of your car and you might as well be driving with a blindfold on. Not a ray of light can be seen in that area (especially as Aussies don’t fancy keeping their security lights on). A few kilometres before the lighthouse there is a dense forest on both sides of the road with probably all sorts of wild life in it topped with a cemetery in the middle of nowhere. So if the wild life doesn’t get you, the paranormal will.

At this point, I was quite calm since we were in the car. We stopped at an open area and got out.

“Where is the lighthouse?” I asked.

“Up the hill.” My brother said.

And that’s when it hit me. The fight, flight or freeze kind of fear. No way in hell was I climbing up a track in the pitch dark with all that vegetation and Australian wild life waiting to pounce on me. I could hear the sea smashing against the rocks producing the most terrifying noise. We were barely standing still with the strong gushes of wind hitting us.

“Nope! This is the point of a horror movie where the audience is saying, ‘Don’t do it, don’t go in there.'”

That started a long debate/pep talk about how that’s a once in a life time opportunity and how I will regret coming this far and missing the actual view. I don’t know how but that seemed to do some good and we started walking up the track.

God only knows how I made it to the top, hyperventilating with the cold, the fear and my general unfitness. But talk about being rewarded! I have never witnessed such a hauntingly magical view. Four majestic light beams were circling the atmosphere without making a sound. The only thing you could hear was the angry waves hitting the rocks, sending a slight tremble through the whole building. Now that I had gotten a grip on myself I looked up to the sky and I swear the Milky Way was just a grab away. You could see each and every star with such profound clarity. I even spotted a few shooting stars. Far away on the horizon, we could see two lights blinking from a ship. The whole setting was crafted to leave you awestruck.

I wish I had better pictures to help visualize the scene but that required much more than my amateur photographic skills and my humble camera. Accept my apology.

We sat there on a bench for quite a while just taking in everything and feeling tiny and insignificant. After that, we parked our car near a BnB adjacent to the lighthouse (comforting to know that we weren’t alone) and spent the night in the car. For the most part, its was short intermittent naps as I didn’t want to miss gazing at the galaxy and the swirling light beams by sleeping. I set my alarm to exactly the time of sunrise and waited impatiently for the time to pass.

The alarm rang, I frantically woke up my brother, hopped out of the car, wrapped myself in three heavy layers and the first thing I saw was this.

Top of the morning to you Sir!

He hopped off into the bushes in a signature kangaroo fashion.

The sun was coming out now and it looked, well you can see for yourself.

Well hello there, beautiful. Just standing tall there with its brilliant white and rich history.

The idea for this lighthouse was proposed in 1886 and it was first exhibited on 15 April 1891. According to the description, the light still operates from the original lamp and lantern but it was shifted from the kerosene lamp to electric operation in 1962.

Once illuminated by the sunlight the view just got better and better (not scary anymore). The wind and the waves were having a blast.

We have been very lucky with the whale sightings. People usually pay a lot to see them in action. Nature has certainly been kind to us. Smoky Cape waters are home to the Humpback whale and the Southern Right Whale (pictured).

Captain Cook sighted and named the Smoky Cape on 13th May 1770.

Downhill we found this track that was about a kilometre walk down to the beach.

By the time we reached there the waves, though beautiful, had gone out of control. We couldn’t stay there for long and had to get to higher ground to be safe.

And that was it from the Smoky Cape Lighthouse. It’s funny how the place that terrified me in the dark gave me the most exquisite scenes to behold in the light. It just goes to show how fear, is just a state of mind. It can be reinforced or it can be resolved depending on what we feed it.



  1. Beautiful photos. It’s great to step outside of comfort zone – that’s when you see progress isn’t it!

    • The Hamster Ball

      I can say that I’m a little bit braver now 😀 Thanks for reading. I read your piece about trip to Girona, Spain. Beautiful stuff. Stay in touch 🙂

  2. Pretty awesome experience! I’d find it hard – I hate heights, even in the light. But I know it’s often an illogical fear. Great post, thanks for sharing.

    • The Hamster Ball

      If you can rationalize it, you can overcome it. 🙂 Thanks for reading <3 Your piece on Tuscany was amazing!

  3. Wow, just amazing! The views are incredible, I love your images!

  4. Excellent article decorated with wonderful pictures . Must have been a terrific experience.
    You may share it with the Reader’s Digest after a little editing.

    • The Hamster Ball

      Definitely, something to consider. Thanks a lot 🙂

  5. very nice and impressive, good to learn about another ‘mustansar hussain tarar’ and that too, interestingly from the women lot.

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