Seeing double: the Pencarrow lighthouses
The next time you sail from the South Island to Wellington, take note of two lighthouses standing guard at the entrance to the harbour. The Pencarrow lighthouses, more than a century old now, lit the path for ships and boats for many years. The upper lighthouse was first to shine its light in 1856, but because low clouds often hid it from view, the lower structure replaced it in 1906.
On an overcast day I decided to hike the 7.5km path to the lighthouses, wanting to savour the stunning views I knew I would encounter along the way. After an hour and a half I could see both beacons from afar, then later found a path up to the upper lighthouse. From there you can walk the track to Kohangapiripiri lake.
The return trip is another 7.5km, so if you’re not keen on walking, you can ride a bike. There’s a shop (near the entrance to the track) that has bikes for hire.
To see the Pencarrow lighthouses, go to Eastbourne then through to the end of Muritai Road where you’ll see the start of the track at Burdans gate. No motor vehicles are allowed inside the track. It’s windy in Wellington, but it could get even blustier here so the best time for a visit would be a sunny and calm day.
For more on the fascinating history of the Pencarrow lighthouses and their keepers, see:
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