Visitor information Pānui Manuhiri

Experience a piece of New Zealand’s maritime history - Pencarrow Lighthouse, our nation’s first permanent lighthouse. Built on the exposed coastline of Pencarrow Head, this lighthouse is a popular outdoor activity with bikers and walkers alike.

Lake track past Kohangapiri
The track past Lake Kohangapiripiri. Image: Heritage New Zealandexpand/collapse



Opening hours

Outside viewing at all times.  The lighthouse tower is not usually open to the public.

How to get there

To access the lighthouse, you must walk from the road end at Burden's Gate (past Eastbourne). You cannot drive beyond this gate.

The unpaved path is flat for most of its 8km, following the coastline, but rises steeply at the end along a narrow track to reach the lighthouse.  Allow about four hours for the return walk.

A ferry ride (East by West Ferries) from Wellington will take you to Days Bay.  Check the fares and ferry timetable on their website.  Make your way around to Eastbourne, where you can hire a bike and make the 25 minute ride to the lighthouse.

You can also catch a bus (Valley Flyer) from Wellington to Eastbourne. Check the fares and bus timetable on the Metlink website.

Open Day at Pencarrow Lighthouse
Open Day at the lighthouse at Wellington Anniversary weekend. Image: Heritage New Zealandexpand/collapse

Travel tips

Pencarrow Head is a rugged environment and the weather can be changeable so check on conditions before you go.  It’s sure to be windy so wear something warm, take sunblock, a hat and your own refreshments including water because there are no amenities at Pencarrow (and that includes toilets). Wear comfortable walking shoes.

It’s not usually possible to go inside the lighthouse but bring a camera for the spectacular views looking over the harbour and Cook Strait to the South Island.

The lighthouse is in the East Harbour Regional Park where walking tracks lead to the Pencarrow lakes, Kohangapiripiri and Kohangatera. Home to several rare species of wildlife, the lakes are New Zealand’s last relatively unmodified wetlands.

Further information

Our brochure is available from many locations around Wellington and the Hutt Valley including the i-site. Download a copy of our Pencarrow brochure (pdf 228kb) here.  You may also telephone our National Office for other advice - just ask for the Manager Heritage Assets for Pencarrow Lighthouse - on (04) 472 4341 or 0800 HERITAGE (0800 437 482).