Cape Palliser

Cape Palliser Wairarapa

Seals, spectacular walks, and the spiffiest lighthouse in the country - you'll find them all at Cape Palliser. It's just an hour's drive from Martinborough, with unforgettable seaviews along the way.

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A grand old lady of a lighthouse

The cast iron Cape Palliser lighthouse has stood on the cliffs here since 1897 - and she's still shining strong. Climb the 253 steps to see her up close. The view at the top is a beaut - and you'll probably get a refreshing breeze with your summit drink or snack. Spare a thought for the early lighthousekeepers who had to haul oil and kerosene cans up a dirt track before the steps went in. 

Seals - stinky but irresistible

Cape Palliser is home to the North Island's largest fur seal colony. Take time to watch them swimming and lolling on the rocks. If you're here November to January you're likely to spot some pups. Oh, and something else that's stinky and irresistible in the Wairarapa is our local award-winning cheese. Pick some up from Ingredient deli in Martinborough and give the seals a run for their money!

Rich Maori heritage

This part of New Zealand has a rich history of early Maori occupation. Archaeologists believe Maori settled here in the 1300s. Look out for 'Kupe's Sail' - the huge triangular slab of sandstone above the Mangatoetoe Stream just before the lighthouse.  It's said that the explorer Kupe camped near here as he explored the coast.  The rock looks like the sail of a Polynesian canoe.

Palliser BayNZ fur seal at Palliser BayWindswept at Palliser Bay

Other Cape Palliser highlights