Pencarrow Heads Light House Walk

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The Pencarrow Heads Light House walk is an easy 14.5km walk. Most of your walk is on a gravelled road followed by a grass track to the Pencarrow Light House. The walk will take take you around 4 hours on a round trip to complete. It’s a coastal walk on farm roads and across farm land to get to Pencarrow Heads Light House. Great views out to the Cook Straight.

Quick Facts

        • Location: North Island NZ
        • Distance: 14.50 kms
        • Time needed: 4 Hours
        • Difficulty: Easy
        • Wheelchair Access: No
        • Route: Round Trip
        • Elevation: 76m
        • Wet Feet: No
        • Toilets: No
        • Dogs: No
        • Mobile Coverage: Yes
        • Last Updated: November, 2019
  • Track Highlights

    A costal walk, on farm roads and across farm land. You will see plenty of farm stock and wild goats along the road.
    Coastal ships and the Cook Straight ferry pass through the heads every day.

  • Track Quality

    Most of your walk is on a graveled road followed by a grass track to the Pencarrow Light House.

  • Hazards


  • Transport

    Bus from Wellington. Bus number 81 83 85. Cost $6 one way for a ticket. Price of ticket will change with time.

  • Water


  • Driving Instructions

    Pencarrow Heads is a 24Km drive from Wellington

  • Shops or Restaurants nearby

    Eastbourne is only minutes from the start of the walk.

  • Area & Track History

    Pencarrow Head stands at the entrance to Wellington Harbour. Initially in 1841, George Bennett and his wife Mary looked after two wooden markers. In 1858 an English iron tower was build on the Pencarrow cliffs, but bad luck hit the Bennett’s just before the light house was finished. George drowned, leaving his wife to run the light house, hence she become New Zealand’s first official women lighthouse keeper.

    In 1872, William Hendle took over the running of Pencarrow Light House, but in 1875 his wife slipped and fell to her death inside the tower. Then in 1881 he had a heart attack at Cape Campbell light House at the age of 50. The reason for the two light houses was because the fog covered the top light house most of the time so in 1906 another light house was built on the beach. Plus all Kiwis’ know about the Wahine ferry sinking inside the Wellington Heads in 1968. A lot of the body’s were washed up on the Pencarrow coast line, that is why you will see a memorial plaque at the Pencarrow carpark.

  • Best Things To Do near this walk

  • Map location of Pencarrow Heads Light House Walk

    Map of walk

Points of interest along the walk

In the map above, if you zoom in on the walk, you’ll see all the following track points and their location. Each point has photos along with a description about each one.

Point 1: Pencarrow Heads Carpark

If there is no more room in this car park, drive around the corner and park at the gate, it’s up to you.
There is a map for you to read, it’s to the left of the car park by the wooden fence.

Point 2: Light House Turn Off

The private service road follows the coast all the way around to Lake Kohangaprirpiri. At around 40 minutes we arrived at the old Pencarrow Wharf and just in time to see the Wellington to Picton ferry head in to Wellington wharf. Around the next corner we came across a sign warning us about the dumping of sewage out into our beautiful blue clean Cook Straight, so much for clean green NZ.

After 1 hour and 20 minutes we came to a track running up a hill. Well, after looking around we found the sign to Pencarrow Light House, it was hidden by Gorse, acres of the stuff. If only I was so lucky to be the back bone of NZ economy, a Gorse farmer. I would be so proud to be a NZ farmer. We gave the uphill climb a miss and decided to walk around to Fitzroy Bay seeing it was a fantastic day, this added another 3km to our walk.

Point 3: Lake Kohangapiripiri

We walk around too Fitzroy Bay and past the sewage outlet. Out in the distance we could see the remains of an old building, so we took off for a look see. One hour later we were back at the turnoff, what the building was, we still do not know. Back on the walk again, we came to a gate to Lake Kohangapiripiri, it looks as if we could not walk around the lake so we took off up the track to Pencarrow Light house.

100m before the Pencarrow Light House we past the well maintained grave of Evelyn Woods, she died on the 9 of March 1896 at the very young age of 6 years. As you can see in the photo, the light house was getting a new coat of paint, the scaffolding gave me a chance to climb to the top level of the light house and have a look inside as well as get a great view of Wellington Heads. From the light house you can look back down to the road you walked in on, so you have no excuses if you get lost.

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2 Reviews


  • Sonia Driessen

    Hi, is it possible to obtain a key to access the gate near carparks leading to the walk trail. If so who can I talk to about getting one?
    The gate I’m referring to is at eastbourne pencarrow walks. Thanks

    October 14, 2020

    • FreewalksNZ

      I’m so sorry but I don’t know.

      October 18, 2020

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