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Author And Researcher
I'm Marios, delivering the best of Aotearoa's nature walks to your device.
I've personally walked hundreds of New Zealand's tracks and spent months in libraries uncovering interesting information on New Zealand/Aotearoa. And you'll find a slice of that research on this page - enjoy!
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From the summit there are views north to the bulbous shape of Deliverance Cove, resembling a fishing boat fender, and Castle Point.
The start of the track is signposted from the car park at the end of Jetty Road in the township of Castlepoint.
The track winds through pines above the cove and exits onto a low ridge that circles the cove. The final climb up Castle Rock is very steep through the parched windswept grass. The track narrows, but is well-formed and is easy to follow.
To return, follow the well-formed but narrow track down a spur to the base of the cliffs. This exits at the southern end of the cove. Beware of freak wind gusts. On a windy day you will need to crouch low and keep well away from the edge.
Also watch for sunbathing fur seals at the southern end. If you should chance an encounter, keep well away and stay landward side. You will get a bigger fright than them.
The limestone and sandstone forming Castle Rock was deposited in shallow water around 2 million years ago at the beginning of the last series of global Ice Ages. The offshore shell banks gave habitat to over 70 species, including a species of scallop, which today live in cooler waters off Otago. Geologists have thus been able to ascertain the climate at that time was cooler. Conversely other species exhibited in the fossil makeup are warm water dwellers, suggesting fluctuations in the climate during the formation of the rock.
Small marine fossils known as foraminifera with a difference in age of 2 million years make up some of the limestone layers. Large shell fragments have also been crushed under immense pressure and mixed with sand to form the rocks. A fault runs either side of the Reef.
Castle Rock reaches 126 m above sea level and was named by Captain Cook in 1770 because it resembled the turrets of a castle, with the reef presumably forming the battlements. Cook noted in his diary “[we saw] a remarkable hillock which stands close to the sea”. During his observations, Endeavour was approached by a flotilla of Maori canoes, although no altercation or contact took place.
Famous visitors to the area have included the Reverend William Williams in 1843 and William Colenso.
North Island ▷ Wairarapa ▷ Masterton
28Sept18. Great walk from the car park through the bush and then looking down to the lagoon. Benches to sit on. We didn’t go up Castle Rock, too steep, but there is a path there and we saw a guy right at the top. Check out the rock from the lighthouse. Almost vertical on the sea side! Scary.
We did the walk twice. One return via the beach and the other back the way we went. Not strenuous and the views well worth the effort.
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Very nice walk in 2 hours.
Thanks to all the good people working for the NZ Department of Conservation - for all your hard work - making NZ more beautiful, accessable and healthy! Cheers 😍