Cape Foulwind is situated south of Westport on the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island.
|Location:||latitude 41°25’ south, longitude 171°28’ east|
|Elevation:||70 metres above sea level|
|Tower height:||9 metres|
|Light configuration:||LED flashing beacon|
|Light flash character:||white light flashing once every 12 seconds|
|Power source:||batteries charged by solar panels|
|Range:||10 nautical miles (16 kilometres)|
|Date light first lit:||1876|
Cape Foulwind lighthouse is accessible to the public and can easily be visited as part of the Cape Foulwind walkway.
There is no public access to enter the lighthouse.
The Cape Foulwind tower remains much the same as when it was first built. The foundations for the original tower can be seen just in front of the current tower. The foundations for the original keepers’ houses are also visible.
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Cape Foulwind was first considered as a site for a light in 1874, however, it was not until 1876 that the light was first lit.
The original tower, built of rimu, suffered from rot. The new concrete tower was built behind the original tower, in the mid 1920s. The light in the new tower was first lit in 1926.
Operation of the Cape Foulwind light
The original light in the new tower was an automatic acetone powered light. It provided automatic operation and was also very efficient, only requiring refuelling twice a year.
The new light with its automatic operation and improved efficiency spelled the end for the keepers. The final keeper was withdrawn in 1926 when the new light became operational.
In the mid 1950s the acetone light was converted to electricity which simplified maintenance even further.
The original beacon has now been replaced with an LED beacon mounted on the tower balcony and powered from battery banks charged by solar panels.