Aireys Inlet is about an hour and a half from the Melbourne CBD, and is easy to get to. Its draw card is Split Point Lighthouse which is the first major attraction on Great Ocean Road when heading there from Melbourne.
Location and how to get there
The Google Map above shows the location of car park for the Split Point Lighthouse (marked with a “P”) and driving directions from the Melbourne CBD. The route is all sealed roads and highways, and is easily drivable at any time of the year and day. When driving in the general area during the early hours of the morning or around sunset, watch for local wildlife – particularly wallabies.
Aireys Inlet draws a lot of visitors every day and at all hours. There is likely to be a decent number of visitors. Nonetheless, there is ample parking for about 20 vehicles at any given time. The location is well sign-posted an is easy to get to.
The Lighthouse is at the end of a sealed road approximately 100m away from the car park, and takes about 5 minutes in each direction. There are gravel walking paths around the lighthouse that are easy to navigate at all times.
Best times to visit
The location is open all year round. Both summer and winter offer varying conditions. Summer nights offer clear skies and low light pollution which make it ideal to capture the lighthouse against the stars in the sky. If you are looking to get inside the lighthouse, you will want to visit during operating hours as listed on their website.
As with most landscape photography locations, the best times to shoot here are at sunrise and sunset, although partially cloudy days offer an interesting perspective throughout the day. If you are planning on doing a night-time shoot, I recommend arriving about an hour before sunset on a clear evening to capture the changing light.
As with all outdoor locations, it’s a good idea to check on the weather. It is also worth checking on the times for sunrise and sunset, and for the phase of the moon. While not essential, I do recommend having a buddy when attempting to photograph this lighthouse after hours. If you are doing this during the day, it is quite safe to do so on your own.
The walk is easy along a sealed road. There is good mobile coverage in the area.
Given that you are on the coast, your camera lenses may catch some sea spray. I recommend that you carry a towel and some microfiber cloth to keep your lenses clean. Tripods are essential in the twilight hours and after dark, though not essential in the middle of the day. Your choice of lens would typically be a wide-angle lens. You may be inclined to shoot from a distance, as there are a range of different compositions in the ear. Lenses with focal lengths in the ranges of 12mm to 200mm would be the preferred selection. You may alternatively choose to shoot vertically upwards from the bottom of the lighthouse – in which case, a fish-eye lens is a good choice.
If you’re planning an early morning or late evening shoot, be sure to carry a flash-light with you.
One can negotiate this trail wearing a pair of sneakers or comfortable shoes. Hiking boots are not essential.
Always dress in layers. The weather and temperature constantly changes in this area, and its very easy to suffer from exposure to the elements. As with most of Australia, in the summer during the day time, it is imperative that you have sunscreen on you.
This location would take one about half an hours during the day. If you’re in to night-time photography, allow yourself about an hour to two hours at this location for still photography, or about 6 hours for night-time photography. As always, have some food and water to keep you going while you are here.
Camera Gear Required
- Your camera and lenses (of course);
- Any ND or polarising filters that you plan to use (day-time shoots only);
- A rain-shield (if you do not have one, a large plastic bag or zip-lock bag to protect it in case you run into any rain);
- A micro-fibre wipe/cloth to keep the lens clean;
- A small towel in case you need dry a wet lens;
- Cable release.
Non Camera Gear Required
- Comfortable walking shoes;
- Change of shirt in case you sweat a lot or get rained on;
- Towel to dry yourself in case you get rained on;
- Appropriate outer gear (since you’re likely to be driving to the location, consider both a light, and a heavy jacket which you can pick from when you get there; beanie; and gloves. As the weather in the area is so changeable, you will only know what sort of clothing you’ll need when we get to the location);
- A headlamp, torch or flash light (early morning, evening and night-time shoots only);
- Food and water (you will be probably spend a decent amount of time here and will get hungry and thirsty).
- Hand sanitiser,
- Mobile phone.