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Lighthouses and Lakes, Wellington

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Lighthouses and LakesIntermediate

Submitted by Joe Benbow

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Trail Information






Lower Hutt

Front country - easily accessible


Undulating, small hills only

Open tussock/grasslands


3:20 (Slow)
2:30 (Moderate)
1:40 (Fast)



The council have just posted that the boardwalk is closed, so this part of the loop is not currently runnable. More details here 

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Starting at the car park, follow the coastal path for 6k until you come to the Lighthouse Track heading up the hill on your left. Take this right up to the historic Pencarrow lighthouse, then once you've stopped for a photo, head back down 100m or so and turn right heading to Bluff Point lookout.

Once you've admired the views from the top, head back the way you came until you get to the right turn onto the Lake Kohangapiripiri track. At the bottom of the hill once you reach the lake, turn left and follow the track clockwise around the lake. You should see plenty of birdlife here. There's a short side track up to the Lake Kohangapiripiri Lookout which is worthwhile.

When you get to the boardwalk take great care as it's sinking at an angle and is slippery on the metal part. Walking carefully over this bit is recommended. Keep following the track uphill and head straight at the next 2 junctions, following the Cameron Ridge track that will give you good views of Lake Kohangaterata before dropping you down a nice runnable track back to the coast road.

From here, turn right and follow the coast road all the way back to the start. If it's blowing a northerly, this last bit will test your stamina! (If you didn't want to run the 6k each way to the start of the lighthouse hill track, you could easily bike there and pick up your bike on the way back.)

Note - Dogs aren't allowed south of the hill track to the lighthouse, so best to leave your furry friends at home for this one.

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Features of interest

The hilltop Pencarrow lighthouse, built in 1858, was the first in New Zealand. The first keeper, Mary Jane Bennett, was New Zealand's only woman lighthouse keeper. She stayed in this position with her children for 10 years before returning to England. On the return leg, you'll pass the second lower level lighthouse. Owing to occasional fog obscuring the light, the low level lighthouse was built in 1906 and still operates today. Now that livestock no longer graze the lake surrounds and the area is actively managed to control pests, you can expect to see significant increases in birdlife.

Make Up of Run

Easy Single Track: 40%

Farm Road / 4WD Track: 60%

Route Data


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  • Access

    Start at the car park at The Bike Shed. The track then starts a short way south at Burdan's Gate.

    Plenty of parking available at the start. The Eastbourne bus terminus is also a short walk from the start if taking public transport

    15 km

    22 minutes



  • Staying Safe


    Make navigation of this route super-easy by using the Capra app on your phone. View on Capra .

    Don't be tempted to add on the extra loop around Lake Kohangatera. The boardwalk at Lake Kohangatera that crosses Gollans Stream wetland as part of the Lakes Block circuit walk has been removed. This is due to flooding from storms pushing a large mat of vegetation against the boardwalk which may have caused more flooding. Hopefully this will be replaced at some point in the future.

    Very patchy.

    Long-sleeved thermal top, Windproof jacket, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map.

    No water available on route so take what you need

    The coast road is very exposed so expect wind and take appropriate gear accordingly.

    Dogs must be on a leash to protect wildlife nesting habitat and grazing livestock. Dogs are not allowed south of the hill track to the lighthouse. Please note that from 1 August to 30 October each year (lambing season) dogs are not allowed on the Pencarrow Coast Road.

    See comment in run description about the boardwalk

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