Castle Point

Get technical and historical information and resources about Castle Point lighthouse.

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Castle Point lighthouse
Maritime New Zealand ©2023
A shot of Castle Point lighthouse and surrounding homestead.

View larger image[JPG: 4000x3000, 180ppi, 2.97MB]

Lighthouse overview

Castle Point lighthouse is situated on the Wairarapa Coast, about 70 kilometres east of Masterton. Close to the Castle Point Township, it was known as the “holiday light”.

The Castle Point light was one of the last manned lights to be established in New Zealand.

Lighthouse feature: details
Location: latitude 40°54’ south, longitude 176°14’ east
Elevation: 52 metres above sea level
Construction: cast iron tower
Tower height: 23 metres
Light configuration: 2nd order Fresnel lens, illuminated by a 1000 watt incandescent bulb
Light flash character: white light flashing 3 times every 30 seconds
Power source: mains electricity
Range: 19 nautical miles (35 kilometres)
Date light first lit: 1913
Automated: 1988
Demanned: 1988

Getting to Castle Point

The lighthouse is accessible to the public. It can be reached on foot from the Castle Point township.

There is no public access to enter this lighthouse

Castle Point is a popular daytrip from Wellington.

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Castle Point photos

Historic image of Castle Point
You can download a three page photo gallery of Castle Point lighthouse dating back as far as 1912 to some more recent shots. The gallery depicts construction and operations of the lighthouse.

Photo gallery[PDF: 9.84MB, 3 pages]

Map of lights

Map of lights and beacons around NZ

[PDF: 220kB, 1 page]

Brothers Island lighthouse

Lighthouse poster

Poster of MNZ’s lighthouse photos

[PDF: 4.49MB, 1 page]


The history of Castle Point

Early days

Built upon a prominent cliff, Captain Cook observed that Castle Point looked like an “old medieval stronghold”.

Lighthouse construction

The cast iron tower was manufactured at Luke’s foundry in Wellington.

Lighthouse timeline


Castle Point lighthouse centenary


Epoxy urethane system applied

Original lighthouse coating removed & epoxy urethane system applied


Lighthouse fully automated

Lighthouse fully automated & lighthouse keeper withdrawn


Slew ring installed

Optic roller bearing replaced with slew ring


Lighthouse keepers reduced

Number of Lighthouse Keepers reduced from two to one


Lighthouse connected to mains

Lighthouse connected to mains supplied electricity


Electric turning motor lamp installed

Electric turning motors & lamp installed – 230V from diesel generator


Foundation bolts tightened

Tower shakes in storm, foundation bolts tightened


Roller bearing installed

Optic mercury bearing / float replaced with roller bearing


Mercury spill

Earthquakes cause optic bearing / float to spill mercury


Lantern room cleaning path install

Lantern room cleaning path install (missing from original tower)


Lighthouse keepers reduced

Number of Lighthouse Keepers reduced from three to two


Lighthouse accident

Principal Duncan fell to his death from a ladder while fixing telephone line


Telegraph connected

Signal station with telegraph connected

Light first lit

Light operational (total cost £9,703)


Light supplied

Incandescent apparatus supplied by Chance Bros. (Birmingham)

Optic turning apparatus supplied

Optic turning apparatus supplied by James Milne and Son (Edinburgh)

Optic supplied

Optic supplied by Barbier, Bernard and Turenne (Paris)

Tower cast supplied

Tower cast at Lukes & Co Wellington (cost of tower – £1,375)