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Castlepoint and Castle Rock

A terrific weekend getaway spot on the east coast of New Zealand's North Island.
(Oh, and it's got a lighthouse too)



Castlepoint Lighthouse in the Wairarapa region of New Zealand.



Photos and words by Richard Moore


As New Zealanders turn their eyes to exploring their own land those of us who have travelled the length and breadth of the country need to put forward our preferred destinations.

A recent weekend away gave me the chance to visit a much-lauded place I had never been to before and left me pleased to have taken the opportunity.

The getaway spot was Castlepoint on the Wairarapa coast, about an hour away from Masterton, and it has just about everything you could ask for in any season of the year.
Luckily the weather gods turned on a sensational winter weekend with warm sun and little wind allowing cameras, tripod and all to really explore the vicinity.

Castlepoint is famed for its lighthouse, which stands on a small island just off the main beach. Next to it is a tidal lagoon protected by a ridge of rocks that is perfect for fisherfolk and overlooking the lot is the towering height of Castle Rock.

The walk to the lighthouse is easy and, unusually, you can climb further up the stairway so you can look down at the structure and beyond to the lagoon and Castle Rock in the distance.

The hike to the summit of that hill takes you along a vertigo-inducing track that skirts a sheer cliff face that is not for the faint-hearted on the frequently windy days that hit Castlepoint. Considering its dominance of the surrounding area it is hard to reconcile the fact that Castle Rock is only 162 metres high.

You can get to it via the beach or a bush track that makes the climb easier by delivering you two-thirds of the way up to the summit via a pleasant track that offers some pretty special vistas.

During whale migration season you can spot the big beasties out to sea and in March there is the famed horse race along the beach.

Once you have done your exploring it is time to consider where to eat. The local café/takeaway place offers good breakfasts and from lunchtime on you can enjoy fish and chips, burgers and other fare.

But, for lunch and dinner I would suggest hopping in the car and driving five minutes up the road to the Whakataki Hotel. It has a very welcoming atmosphere and a bowl of the seafood chowder can be heartily recommended. Its taste and richness made it among the best this fellow has had the pleasure to indulge in. There is accommodation available at the hotel.

For my couple of nights in the area I stayed in a cabin at the Castlepoint Holiday Park, which is on the road into the sea-side village.

It has plenty of different styles of accommodation and there will be something to suit various depths of pocket.

The self-contained cabins offer remarkable ocean and lighthouse views and can accommodate up to four people. They are warm and very comfy, particularly as the wind started to build up on my last night there.

The interiors of the other units are clean and tidy and the camp facilities look pretty good.

Megan Hewitt runs the park with her husband Richard and says it is the perfect spot to come to for the weekend.

She says there is the beach, plenty of walks to do and if the weather turns bad you can just plonk in your unit and read a book.

Having finally got to experience why people talk excitedly of Castlepoint it is fair to say the delightful spot is right up there with terrific places to getaway to for a weekend.

Castlepoint Holiday Park and Motel Accommodation

Castlepoint Hotel




Castlepoint Lighthouse in the Wairarapa region of New Zealand.







Copyright Richard Moore 2018 | Contact Us