East Cape Lighthouse

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Where: East Cape Lighthouse, Te Araroa, East Coast
Distance & Time: 30 minutes return
Take: Sunscreen and water
Amenities on route: Bathroom and carpark at the start of the walk.
Cost of the walk: Free, but koha (donation) welcome 


800 steps up. Sounds like a lot but it goes surprisingly quick and the view at the top is absolutely worth it. The East Cape Lighthouse walk also has quite possibly one of the most picturesque drives to get to it, following the road around the coast and I almost guarantee you’ll start to imagine yourself owning a bach (holiday home) here as the beaches are glorious and it’s so easy to find a wee spot away from the other 10 people that happen to be on the beach at the same time as you!

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800 of these to climb!

The walk up to the lighthouse is relatively quick – depending on how much you enjoy walking up stairs – but ever so thoughtfully, some kind person has put how many steps you’ve covered so far on the way up, so you know when you’re half way/nearly there.

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Helps keep track of how far we’ve climbed (or how long we had until the top!)

And then of course, there’s the person who decided we also needed a motivational message while walking up a those stairs – I mean, they’re not wrong!

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Motivational message on the step (if you can’t quite read it, it says ‘Think about your ass’

We had the most stunning summer day when we did this walk – blue sky, blue waters and it was hot! Thankfully most of the walk up is in the shade of the bush because it gets hot out these ways. I had forgotten to keep a look out for the numbers on the stairs but suddenly we rounded a corner and we were at the top!

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View from the top looking out to East Island – look at those brilliant ocean blues!

Considering how out of the way the lighthouse is, it was surprising how many people were there to do the walk. The entry to the walk is located on private land, you literally walk past the house and can see them hanging out in their lounge (try not to stare as you walk by!) before you start the walk up the stairs. A koha/donation box helps to maintain the stairway to the lighthouse.

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The first glimpse of the lighthouse

What was neat about getting to the top was everyone just milling around and taking photos, and how many people offer to take photos of groups so that the entire group can be in the photo rather than one person always missing. Once someone offers to take that first photo the flow on effect is immediate and everyone starts to offer to take a photo of someone else. Kudos to the good photo takers who crouch down/find the best angle/take several shots rather than just one. Unfortunately our volunteer photographer was not like that and the shots of Paul and I with the lighthouse are slightly less than ideal, but the thought was there!

Amy’s Advice – stop in Te Araroa on your way to or from the East Cape Lighthouse. Small, regional towns like this thrive on the activity that visitors bring to town.

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View looking south. What a stunner of a day we had!

We did it slightly backwards and stopped in Te Araroa (the small town you have to drive through to get on the road that takes you to the East Cape), and had our encounter with the giant pohutakawa and a pre-walk icecream rather than a post-walk icecream (although now I think about it, there was no reason we couldn’t have had both!) Highly recommend stopping here, especially if the pohutakawa is flowering as that would be a spectacular sight. It was pretty impressive nevertheless, as you can see below!

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The ENORMOUS pohutakawa tree at Te Araroa – you drive past here on the way to East Cape

Even though this walk is a bit out of the way, if you find yourself with the time I highly recommend you head out this way, especially if you want to get away from the summer crowds!

The photos of me were taken by Paul, and I took the others!

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