Waipapa Point Lighthouse

Waipapa Point Lighthouse

Waipapa Point Lighthouse


5 Rankers Reviews

1 Face-to-Face

6 Waikawa

Your Nature Guide

Marios Gavalas's avatar

Marios Gavalas

Author And Researcher

Nau mai, haere mai

Nau mai, haere mai

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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1 km return | 20 minutes return

Waipapa Point was originally named ‘Waipapapa’ meaning ‘basket of seafood’, but was changed by early Europeans, probably because it was too difficult to say after a few whiskeys.

The lighthouse was the last wooden one built in New Zealand and was erected in 1884 following the disastrous sinking of the Tararua. The first keeper was a Swede named Arthur Ericson.


From Fortrose follow signs along the coastal route for 12 km to where Waipapa Point in signposted on the right. It’s a further 4.5 km down a gravel road to the parking area with toilets. A further parking area is at the road end below the lighthouse.


Take your pick either side of the point and follow the beaches and rocks.

European History

The Tararua was an 828-ton vessel which sank off Waipapa Point on 29th April 1881. 131 people lost their lives in New Zealand’s second worst shipping disaster. Many died when the lifeboats were washed against the rocks, while others perished as the main mast toppled and capsized the hull.


Feature Value Info


DOC Otago

Central government organisation


South IslandSouthlandWaikawa


  • Walking
  • Free


F White's avatar

F White

Ranking: 5/10

First lighthouse keeper was not Arthur but John Frederik Erikson.

Reviewed over 1 year ago

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Franz's avatar


Ranking: 10/10

Nice light house and we saw a really big seal

Reviewed over 3 years ago

Melinda Pyke's avatar

Melinda Pyke


Ranking: 10/10

Beautiful spot, with a sea lion right in front of the beach.

Reviewed almost 4 years ago

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Jasmina Walt's avatar

Jasmina Walt


Ranking: 9/10

Very rough and lonely. But absolutely a must-do. We saw a lot of seals.

Reviewed over 6 years ago

Ron Clarke's avatar

Ron Clarke

Czech Republic

Ranking: 9/10

Spectacular, violent beach, see the history of shipwrecks.
My wife was making her way over the bluff to the beach and met a massive sealion coming up the same path. She gave him 20 meters of space and the encounter was great. Be sure to walk both sides of the light house. Stunning sea and breakers over 3 meters when we were there. Don't go down to the surf. Leave that for the suicidals and surfers.

Reviewed over 7 years ago

DOC Managed

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 😍

Cymen Crick's avatar

Cymen Crick

Rankers Owner