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.
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.
South Island ▷ Southland ▷ Waikawa
Nice light house and we saw a really big seal
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Beautiful spot, with a sea lion right in front of the beach.
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Very rough and lonely. But absolutely a must-do. We saw a lot of seals.
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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.
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 😍