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10 Loneliest Lighthouses in New Zealand

BackpackerGuide.nZ

Isolated on the edge of New Zealand…

With more than 15000km of coastline, it’s no surprise that New Zealand has 40 lighthouses guarding the rocky shores. Most of these historic buildings have been restored and are accessible to visit, but only 23 are still active. But at least visiting some of these isolated lighthouses is a must on a backpacker road trip! At the end of the land where birds dominate and the sea roars, you can really find your inspiration – any creative type’s dream!

The lonely lighthouses are also a reminder of New Zealand’s maritime history, as combined they overlook around 120 shipwreck sites.

Flying Kiwi

1. Waipapa Point

Built after New Zealand’s worst shipwreck that claimed the lives of 131 passengers, Waipapa lighthouse guards the eastern entrance of Foveaux Straight. Pay your respects to half the victims of this tragic shipwreck at the cemetery nearby. It’s also a good place to spot sea lions in The Catlins.

Location: Catlins, Southland, South Island
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2. Nugget Point

Probably the most spectacular lighthouse of the country, Nugget Point lighthouse is perched high up above its “nuggets” of rock splitting the sea in half. Oh yeah, and this is in The Catlins too.

Location: Catlins, Otago, South Island
BackpackerGuide.NZ

3. Somes Island

Only accessible by ferry, Somes Island was a quarantine island for newcomers to the country, both humans and animals. The small lighthouse was only used for a about 40 years as it was not powerful enough to guide ships. It was replaced by a much bigger brick tower.

Location: Wellington, North Island
 Duane Weller on Flickr

4. Cape Reinga

Isolated: yes. Loneliest: not anymore! New Zealand’s most visited lighthouse marks the top of the country. Sit by the lighthouse to witness the continuous battle between the waters of the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean for the control of this legendary Maori landmark.

Location: Northland, North Island
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5. Cape Campbell

Made challenging to visit by the ever-changing tide, this lighthouse has marked the southern entrance of the Cook Straight since 1870.

Location: Marlborough, South Island
Zaqrfv on Wikipedia

6. Katiki Point

This lighthouse is not hard to find. Follow Lighthouse Road from the land to reach this white tower. Venture on the path along the cliff nearby to spot rare yellow-eyed penguins and fur seals.

Location: Otago, South Island
Benchill on Wikipedia

7. Cape Palliser

The lighthouse marks the southernmost point of New Zealand’s North Island and guards the site of over 20 ships resting place. It also shelters a fur seal colony and is fully accessible to those that are fit enough to climb 250 steps.

Location: Wellington, North Island
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8. East Cape

The easternmost point of New Zealand is one of the first places in the world to see the sunrise every morning. This spot is a meeting point for hopeless romantic backpackers in search for a unique sunrise experience.

Location: Eastland, North Island
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9. Cape Egmont

This tall white structure dropped on the bright green turf and deep blue water is easy to spot even from the top of Mt Taranaki! It is a must-stop during your road trip on the Surf Highway 45.

Location: Taranaki, North Island
BackpackerGuide.NZ

10. Pencarrow Head

New Zealand’s first permanent lighthouse is the lonely landmark of the Wellington Harbour entrance. Dropped on rocky coastline and battered by rough waters, the lighthouse is a great day out from Wellington for those in need of a stunning reminder of the power of the sea.

Location: Wellington, North Island
Phillip Capper on Wikipedia

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