Castlepoint, Wairarapa © Mike Heydon

Castlepoint Scenic Reserve: the views, the views, the views

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What a stretch of coast! It looks like it should be wild and woolly – and it can be in parts – but down here where the Castlepoint lighthouse shines its light, well, it’s a whole different story.

The beach itself is fantastic, a long stretch perfect for the usual seaside activities, but its other attractions are such that you’ll find you also want to make use of the myriad walking tracks at this spot-on spot.

The obvious high points (sorry) are the beautiful lighthouse, which the locals charmingly refer to as the ‘holiday light’ and Castle Rock, thus named by Captain Cook because of its resemblance to battlements. Imaginative chap, that Jim.

The best way to approach the lighthouse is to take the easy 30-minute walk across the reef from that other natural high point, Castle Rock. Sure, that rock is 162m high so you’ve, you know, stretched your legs a bit along the Deliverance Track to be, well, delivered there. But the views, friends, the views. Amazing. This is the clear East Coast here, nothing to block your view until Chile.

Yet, despite that the beach here offers sheltered swimming; and there’s a beautiful lagoon for the nippers as well. The place teems with wildlife, especially seabirds, and some rare shrubbery, all of which add texture to wherever your meanderings should take you. But it does pay to stop a while, put a brake on your striding, especially at dawn: facing east, Castlepoint delivers spectacular sunrises. Make sure you get out of your lazy holiday bed and catch a couple!

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