Off the Beaten Track to... Castlepoint
Castlepoint is located on the east coast of the Wairarapa (North Island) about one hour's drive from Masterton. It was named in 1770 by Captain Cook who noted the similarities of the rock to the battlements of a castle. Castle Rock is 162 metres high and overlooks a fossil-rich limestone reef, long stretches of beach, sand dunes and a sheltered lagoon. On a nearby rocky outcrop stands Castlepoint Lighthouse (built in 1913), a popular spot for keen photographers.
Castlepoint is popular with visitors seeking water based leisure activities, but nonetheless, well worth a visit 'off the well-beaten Wairarapa winery track'. The Castlepoint Scenic Reserve is probably one of the most photogenic (and windiest) locations in the North Island.
Aside from the spectacular views, you may also see the Castlepoint daisy, brachyglottis compactus, found only on the crumbled limestone of the reef and Castle Rock or dolphin, sea birds, fur seals and whales.
Things To Do
- Walking – Enjoy the Lighthouse Walk and Deliverance Cove Track, both clearly marked from the entrance of the reserve.
- Fishing – Take your fishing gear down to the lagoon, a. perfect fishing spot.
- Swimming – The lagoon and beach are both popular and safe for swimming.
- Photography – Capture the wonderful sea scapes and colours of the lagoon and surf at the 'golden hour' of the day.
- Enjoy a cuppa – Savour tea and scones at the store and team rooms on the beach front as you take in the scenery.
- Marine wildlife – Observe the fur seals within the reserve (do not approach them).
- Fossil hunting – Look out for fossil shells in the rock as you follow the board-walk over the reef and past the lighthouse at Castlepoint Scenic Reserve.
- Wineries – On your journey, stop and enjoy some of the wineries of the Wairarapa.
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More Off the Beaten Track Suggestions
If you want to discover some of New Zealand's hidden treasures, travel to some out-of-the-way places and see sites that many travellers and tourists miss out on, look at more of our 'Off the Beaten Track' suggestions.