Nugget Point Lighthouse

Sitting high above the water’s edge, this historic lighthouse has been a fixture of the Catlins for more than a century.

Take a short drive from the centre of Kaka Point to reach the Nugget Point Lighthouse, one of the star attractions of the Catlins. Climb to the base of the lighthouse for sweeping views of the coast. Peer down at the five rocks below, known by locals as the Nuggets. At dusk the lighthouse is among the most popular spots in the region to watch the sunset and is a great place for a picnic dinner.

Enjoy the natural wonder and man-made history at Nugget Point Lighthouse. Erected between 1869 and 1870, the lighthouse had its oil wick lit for the first time on July 4, 1870. For nearly 80 years the flame guided ships up and down the coast before being replaced by an electric light in 1949. Since the late 1980s the lighthouse has been unmanned, but its long legacy of lighthouse keepers and maritime history continues to attract visitors.

Peer down from the lookout point immediately below the lighthouse to watch for the animals that live on or near the beach. Fur seals are common visitors to the Nuggets, while the larger sea lions, elephant seals and leopard seals also stop by the beach at times. Capture photos of dolphins playing in the waves offshore or make the short walk to Roaring Bay to watch as yellow-eyed penguins scurry across the sand at dusk.

Twilight is the most popular time to visit Nugget Point and its lighthouse, as it is one of the South Island’s most impressive spots for viewing sunsets. Pack a picnic to enjoy as you watch the coast illuminated by the fading sun.

Reach Nugget Point Lighthouse by car from Kaka Point in just 15 minutes. The more energetic can follow the road on foot for about 10 kilometres (6 miles) to reach the lighthouse. Ample parking is available and there is no admission fee for the area. The lighthouse itself does not allow visitors.