Pencarrow Coast, lighthouses and lakes

Pack a picnic for a day trip to New Zealand's first permanent lighthouse and coastal lakes located within the East Harbour Regional Park


Lower Hutt


Pencarrow Lighthouse
Pencarrow Head

The Pencarrow Lighthouse was New Zealand's first permanent lighthouse and was run by New Zealand's only female lighthouse-keeper, Mary Jane Bennett, who took over the post for ten years - when her husband George, the former keeper, tragically passed away.

She lived alone with her six children in this rugged and spectacular coastline from 1855 to 1865.

The cast iron tower was made in England and then erected on Pencarrow Head, at the entrance to Wellington Harbour. It was first lit on New Year's Day 1859 and beamed its cautionary message for 76 years, until it was decommissioned and replaced by the Baring Head lighthouse.

Located within Wellington's East Harbour Regional Park, the lighthouse makes for a pleasant day-trip. Walk or cycle the 8km gravel track to the lighthouse from Burden's Gate, at the south end of Eastbourne (8km walk). 

Eastbourne is located 40 minutes drive from downtown Wellington or 30 minutes aboard the East By West Ferry.

The Wildfinder | Pencarrow is Eastbourne’s local bike shop, with everything you need to explore Pencarrow, Baring Head, Parangarahu Lakes and beyond!

Book your bike hire

Pencarrow Lighthouses

Follow an easy gravel road out to the 1906 lighthouses on the shoreline and venture up to New Zealand's first light house was erected on 1 January 1859 - home to New Zealand's only woman light house keeper.


Distance 16km
Cycle 1.5 hours return
Walk 4 hours return

Parangarahu Lakes

Carry on past the lighthouses to wetlands and ride or walk the lake loops.

Distance 22km
Cycle 2 hours return
Walk 5 hours

Looking for a lunch with a difference? Book in for a gourmet platter at Pencarrow Lodge. This rustic, wild and unique location has spectacular views of Wellington Harbour and the Kaikōura ranges, plus is a perfect location for your next function.

Ready to go

Catch the number 83 bus to the Eastbourne bus terminus, then walk for 5 minutes to Burdans Gate, or simply park up at the road end. While this is an easy ride, plenty of food, water, warm clothes and sun protection are required as there are no facilities and little shelter on the way. Take a jacket - it can get windy!

While you're in Eastbourne and Days Bay you could stay for lunch or a coffee at one of the many cafes, restaurants or bars.

Public access between Lake Kohangatera, Parangarahu Lakes to Baring Head/Ōrua-pouanui (Fitzroy Bay) is managed by the Greater Wellington Regional Council. Check out the know before you go info for East Harbour Regional Park.

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