19 Rankers Reviews
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.
The walk to the lighthouse itself is nice. But what lies around the this area is beyond nice and pretty damn spectacular. There's a secret tunnel at the rock feature where you can walk all the way from one side to the next (bring a torch). Plus the various rock ledges are fantastic to explore.
NOTE - Be careful when there's a swell running, it makes for exciting and dramatic moments, but people have died here in big swells by not being careful. Have fun, be safe!
Castlepoint is well signposted from Masterton. Follow Te Ore Ore Road from northbound SH2 in Masterton and continue for 64 km. Access is from the carpark at the end of Jetty Road in Castlepoint.
The track initially crosses a wooden footbridge over the neck of sand at the northern end of Deliverance Cove and climbs Castle Point on a concrete and wooden walkway. A boardwalk climbs to the summit, circles around the lighthouse and later rejoins the track down.
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.
Watch for mutually inquisitive yellow eyed penguins around the rocks. They may be completely unnerved by human presence. One theory also suggests that as they reach old age they go blind (rather like Australasian gannets). This may explain why you can sometimes get very close to one and they are seemingly oblivious to you being there. The knee-high residents often remain still enough for you to observe the blemished yellow stripe of feathers that arcs elegantly through their eyes.
Australasian gannets, black shags and white-fronted terns sometimes circle on the updraughts.
Castle Point is crowned by the lighthouse, which is constructed of cast iron sections bolted together and stands 23 metres tall. It is sited 52 m above sea level and its light has a range of 26 nautical miles (48 km). The lighthouse was fully automated in 1985 and is controlled by a computer from Wellington.
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
Showing 13 reviews of 19.
28Sept18. Great walk up. Very windy when we were there. Walked up in the evening for sunset then next morning for sunrise, an early start, but not alone.
Beautiful place. We did a nice walk.
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Make sure you see the sunrise there! It is amazing.
Stunning, stunning, stunning!! The ridge walk loop from the lighthouse carpark to Castlerock and back along the beach is one of the best we have done in the North Island.
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Excellent location, very remote and nobody there. Beautiful view from the lighthouse and good track up the hill beside it. Also seals.
A good beach always good surfing too.
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A beautiful place! We did a nice walk to the Rock. No restaurants, just one small shop/cafe.
We woke up early with the sunrise and it was an amazing view.
It is a bit longer drive from the highway but it is definitely worth it. The beach, the lighthouse and the breath-taking cliffs are awesome. Climbing on Castlepoint Rock offers an incredible view over the bay and the best thing: you are away from the masses of tourists!
Lovely spot, good walks, scenic lighthouse, good adventure to the cave past the seals and waves. Pretty unique geographical feature, wish I had a surfboard.
Stella and Merle
Seals, beaches, caves, a lighthouse, sea lions and a very windy walk to Castlepoint - amazing! The long way was definitely worth it.
In my opinion the most beautiful lighthouse in the North Island! First you will have to walk on a beach (make sure it is low tide!). The lighthouse itself and its surrounding are just beautiful. The drive from Masterton takes about 1hr, easy drive.
Beautiful beach and walk and cave.
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 😍