As a country completely surrounded by water, it’s no surprise that New Zealand has more than its fair share of lighthouses. From Cape Reinga at the tip of the North Island to Waipapa in the Deep South, you’ll find them dotted all around New Zealand’s stunning coastline.
For those of you who love a good trip to a lighthouse, strap on your best hiking boots because ours are often pretty remote thanks to our high coastline. We do have some absolute crackers though and they pop up in many an Instagram feed all year round.
We thought we’d take a deeper dive and find out which of our spectacular lighthouses are the most photographed and give you a bit more info so you can go and hunt them out yourself!
1. East Cape
Marking the most easterly point in New Zealand, the lighthouse at East Cape is one of the first and best places in the world to watch the sunrise. If you are looking for a romantic spot, this is up there with New Zealand’s finest!
2. Castle Point
Castle Point Lighthouse is located in the Wairarapa region, north of Wellington. There is a great return walk which will take you down a boardwalk and over a reef where you can look for fossil shells. It’s pretty spectacular and is understandably well photographed.
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3. Cape Reinga
Cape Reinga is perhaps New Zealand’s most photographed lighthouse thanks to its easy access. Located at the very northern tip of the North Island, Cape Reinga attracts thousands of visitors every year who flock to the see the colliding of the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean – a remarkable sight, especially on a stormy day.
4. Waipapa Point
Arguably New Zealand’s most southerly lighthouse, Waipapa Point lighthouse was built after one of New Zealand’s worst shipwrecks in which 131 passengers lost their lives. Located in the Catlins at the eastern entrance to the Foveaux Strait, you can pay your respects to those who lost their lives at the nearby cemetery as well as finding out more about its history.
5. Stirling Point
Stirling Point lighthouse is another one located in the deep south in Bluff and is often considered the southernmost point of the South Island. It marks the end point of SH1 which runs the entire length of the country and has the twin sign, listing a whole host of destinations worldwide, to the sign you will find up at Cape Reinga. The walkway to get to the Stirling Point lighthouse is easily navigable making this one of the more accessible in New Zealand.
6. Cape Palliser
One of the most iconic lighthouses in New Zealand thanks to its traditional red and white stripes, Cape Palliser marks the southernmost point of the North Island and guards the site of over 20 ships’ resting place. A trip to Cape Palliser from Wellington is well worth the drive and you will be rewarded not only with this fantastic lighthouse but also with the fur seal colony that sits beneath.
7. Farewell Spit
The lighthouse at Farewell Spit is a little bit different from your typical lighthouse which is what makes it so well photographed. Public access is restricted as it sits in a wildlife sanctuary but if you join one of the guided tours, you can still get up close to this iconic lighthouse as well as checking out some of the amazing wildlife.
8. Nugget Point
If you are a lighthouse enthusiast, you need to get yourself down to the southern coast of the South Island where the photogenic lighthouses come thick and fast! Another one located in The Catlins, Nugget Point is quite possibly the most spectacular lighthouse in New Zealand, perched high on the ‘nuggets’ of rock that split the sea below. A must for anyone road tripping down in these parts.
9. Cape Egmont
It’s hard to tell what people are focusing on when they take pictures of Cape Egmont lighthouse because of the stunning Mt Taranaki that sits in the background. It’s perhaps the only one on the list where the surroundings are more spectacular than the lighthouse itself. A must do if you are road tripping on Surf Highway 45.
Akaroa is a spectacular place to visit and the drive to get there is pretty breath-taking. As you would expect from such a spectacular location, it deserves a beautiful lighthouse and it definitely got one. It’s an imposing, six-sided wooden lighthouse that looks at home on Cemetery Point but this was not its original home. It was moved back in 1977, piece by piece and beautifully restored, keeping guard over the wonderful harbour at Akaroa.
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So there you have it – 10 of the most photographed lighthouse in New Zealand. Is there any we’ve missed off our list? We’d love to see your awesome photos from lighthouses around New Zealand so send them in the comments below or on our Facebook page.