Cape Egmont Lighthouse

Take a detour off the coastal highway near New Plymouth, enjoy the spectacular scenery and explore a beacon of light that has been shining since the late 1800s.

Visibly marking the westernmost point of the Taranaki coastline, Cape Egmont Lighthouse has stood resolute here for nearly 150 years. Drive south from New Plymouth along the coast for about 40 minutes to find this historic building. Enjoy stunning views of the Tasman Sea and the rugged coastline of New Zealand’s North Island.

Walk around the lighthouse and appreciate its long history. Built in London in the mid-19th century, the cast-iron parts of the lighthouse were shipped to New Zealand in 1865. The lighthouse itself was assembled on Mana Island, north of Wellington, which resulted in a number of shipping accidents as it was confused with another lighthouse at Wellington Heads. It was eventually dismantled and moved by ferry to its current location on the Cape Egmont headland and was operational by 1881. The lighthouse was fully automated in 1986 and, to this day, flashes white light once every eight seconds at night. Ships as far as 22 nautical miles (41 kilometers) away can see the light.

Take advantage of excellent photo opportunities that are available from almost any angle in this secluded coastal location. Get pictures facing inland with the colossal Mt. Taranaki in the background or turn to the ocean for photos of the lighthouse in profile with the green countryside and nearby beaches.

If you want to learn more, drive 10 minutes north from the original and find a 2005 replica, which houses the Historic Cape Light and Museum. The bottom floors, open Saturday through Monday, contain old memorabilia and displays with information about the history of Cape Egmont Lighthouse and Taranaki’s maritime past. On the upper floor is the gem of the museum, a carefully restored Fresnil Prismatic Light from the 1850s that powered the original lighthouse until 1999. Call for an appointment to see the lamp.

Exit the highway near the town of Pungarehu to reach Cape Egmont Lighthouse, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) southwest of New Plymouth. Nearby on-street parking is free and the lighthouse is only a short walk from the road.