The Catlins

Waipapa Point Lighthouse, the Catlins

Located (almost) at the tip of the South Island, Waipapa Point Lighthouse is right at the end of the region known as the Catlins, one of New Zealand’s most sight-filled stretches of coastline. Waipapa Point Lighthouse is a bit out of the way but is definitely worth the gravel road drive to get there.

Visiting Waipapa Point Lighthouse

Waipapa Point Lighthouse was built in 1883, a couple of years after a 131 people died in a shipwreck nearby.

From the car park it’s a 5 minute walk to the lighthouse, which towers over scrubby tussock and a rocky bit of coastline. You can’t go inside, but it’s worth walking around a bit to get different views of it. There isn’t much to see at the lighthouse itself, but the surrounds are scenic.

You can walk down the beach, where you may spot sea lions or other water-based wildlife. It’s also a good idea to take the coastal path back to the car park. From there you’ll get some great views of the beach below and the coastline winding towards Slope Point.

On the way to Waipapa Point Lighthouse we saw Stewart Island in the distance. You can take a ferry from Bluff. I went there a couple of times as a kid and it’s a pretty special place — try and go there for a few days if you can!

Getting to Waipapa Point Lighthouse

Waipapa Point Lighthouse is located down a mostly gravel road, around 30 km from Curio Bay. It’s an easy drive which also leads to Slope Point, the most southern point of the South Island. Unfortunately the road to Slope Point was closed when we were there.

READ MORE: Looking for another cool lighthouse in the Catlins? Check out my post about Nugget Point! You can also read about heaps more places in the Catlins here.

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Jon Algie

A travel blogger from New Zealand who has just returned home after 6 years abroad. Join me as I see as much of the South Island as I can.
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