Waipapa Point Lighthouse. © Anke Ruwette

Waipapā Point: wild and windy


Right at the bottom of the South Island, the remote and rugged coastline at Waipapā Point is home to one of the last wooden lighthouses built in New Zealand.

Originally known in Māori as Waipapapa, which means shallow waters, this is also the site of New Zealand’s worst civilian shipwreck in 1881.

The photogenic lighthouse was built shortly after on the edge of Foveaux Strait, and was first lit on New Year’s Day, 1884. 

Today, you can visit Waipapā Point for lighthouse photo ops and the chance to spot local wildlife. 

Sea lions whakahao and hoiho, or yellow-eyed penguins, are regularly in residence here. 

While there are no formed walking tracks around the lighthouse, you can wander the sandy beach at this curious corner of The Catlins. 

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