The road to Cape Palliser Lighthouse is one of NZ's best coastal drives

The Cape Palliser Lighthouse, located in the Wellington region on the southern coast of New Zealand's North Island, marks the end of one of the country's most scenic drives.

Cape Palliser Lighthouse

When Was the Cape Palliser Lighthouse Built?

The lighthouse, at the southernmost point of the North Island, has stood at Cape Palliser since 1897. After climbing around 250 steep steps, you'll reach the 18-meter-high lighthouse, which was automated in 1986. It flashes twice every 20 seconds, guiding vessels away from dangerous waters that claimed about 20 ships in the 19th century.

How Long Is the Road to Cape Palliser Lighthouse?

The 35 km (21 miles) Cape Palliser Road starts at Lake Ferry Road and features a rugged coastline and remote charm. With steep cliffs on one side and the ocean with black-sand beaches on the other, it offers stunning sea views.

Is the Road to Cape Palliser Lighthouse Paved?

While most of the road is paved, the last 7.2 km (4.47 miles) is gravel, often becoming muddy and slippery after rain. Erosion at Whatarangi requires caution, and numerous one-lane bridges add to the journey's character. If renting a car, check your insurance coverage, as the road near the lighthouse isn't fully sealed.

Is the Cape Palliser Lighthouse Worth It?

At the top, you'll find breathtaking views of Palliser Bay and the South Island. The nearby shoreline hosts the North Island’s largest fur seal colony, making it a must-visit for wildlife enthusiasts. The area's unique geological features and the seals add to its appeal. Cape Palliser Lighthouse and its surroundings offer natural beauty and historical significance, making it an unforgettable destination for history buffs, nature lovers, and those seeking a scenic drive. It’s one of the best coastal drives in the world.