Visit Nugget Point for wildlife and the views. © Blacklabel Photography

Spot penguins, seals and one of New Zealand’s oldest lighthouses at Nugget Point


A historic lighthouse on a rocky peninsula surrounded by the wild Pacific Ocean: it doesn’t get much more iconic than Nugget Point.

At the northern end of the Catlins Coast, Nugget Point is one of the most distinctive landforms of the Otago coastline.

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An easy path atop the rugged cliffs leads to the lighthouse and below, a handful of rocky islets lie amidst the churning sea – the nuggets, as named by Captain Cook. 

It’s a short 10 minute walk from the carpark to the lighthouse, built in 1869. Along with dramatic coastal views, Nugget Point is home to abundant wildlife. Kekeno New Zealand fur seals can often be seen lolling on the rocky outcrops and in the summer months you might also spot elephant or leopard seals. 

Plus, if you visit nearby Roaring Bay at the right time of day and you’re quiet and lucky, you could spot hoiho yellow-eyed penguins, unique to New Zealand and one of the rarest penguins in the world. 

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