Photograph the dramatic "Nuggets", marvel at the historic lighthouse, spot fur seals and sea birds, and watch rare penguins return to their nests.
The 47 hectare Department of Conservation Wildlife Reserve at Nugget Point has dramatic views of “The Nuggets', rocky islets that surround the steep headland. These wave-eroded rocks, which are likened to the shape of gold nuggets, can be easily seen and photographed from the viewing platform at the Nugget Point (Tokata) Lighthouse.
The well-maintained pathway to the lighthouse is an easy 20 minute walk from the car park and is suitable for all ages. Along the way you may see the large breeding colony of New Zealand Fur Seals (Kekeno) on the rocks at sea level to the left of the track and also below the lighthouse. You will also see the many types of seabirds that make The Nuggets their home, from gannets and royal spoonbills to penguins. In the summer months, elephant seals rest at The Nuggets and the ocean can be covered in large flocks of Sooty Shearwater/Tītī.
The lighthouse was built in 1869 to protect the small vessels that moved around the coast. The 9.5m tall tower was constructed from locally quarried stone and stands 76m above sea level. Opened on the on 4 July 1870, the lighthouse was originally powered by an oil burner, but was converted to a 1000W lamp in 1949 with electricity provided by a diesel generator until the 1960s when it was connected to mains electricity. The lighthouse was automated in 1989 and is computer-monitored and operated by Maritime New Zealand.
Roaring Bay is a special scenic area on the south coast of the tip of Nugget Point that is home to a small colony of Yellow-Eyed Penguins (Hoiho). The area is accessible via a short 20 minute return walk from a small carpark that is 800m before the main Nugget Point carpark. Follow the track to a bird-viewing hide where you can watch the penguins as they move from the sea to their nesting places amongst the coastal vegetation. These shy birds are best viewed late in the afternoon when they come ashore after fishing at sea. Yellow-Eyed Penguins (Hoiho) are one of the rarest penguin species in the world and are unique to New Zealand and the sub-Antarctic islands.
- Culture & Heritage
- Free Things to Do
- Outdoor Activities
- Natural Attraction
- Less than half day
- Family Friendly
- Wildlife Spotting
- Scenic Photo Point
- Scenic Attraction
- Walking & Tramping