Destinations New Zealand North Island

A perfect Sunday on the road to Cape Palliser

3 April 2017

As we live in Wellington, we took the opportunity of a sunny Sunday in September to discover the scenic road to Cape Palliser which is supposed to be one of the most beautiful in the north island. Let’s go for 140km and a 2 hours drive!

After reaching the countryside the road crossed mountains and there are a lot of bends. Those reliefs are so beautiful! The road is so close to the cliffs that we can see the the forests and the valley below. Once we are on the mountain’s other side the road bypass thee Wairapapa lake. That is the less interesting part of the trip.

The morning was already gone so we decided to make a detour and have a picnic lunch at Lake Ferry, a small village along the sea. We were pleasantly surprised: for the first time we caught sight of the south island snowcapped summits! We parked the car on dunes and eat in the boot in front of this amazing view. A lot of wood hunks lying on black sand give the scenery the wild appearance and the typical character of many of the New Zealand black sand beaches.

From there It is difficult to tell that we need several hours to reach the south island.

From there It is difficult to tell we need several hours to reach the south island.

There were a lot of locals there. Everybody was enjoying this lovely Sunday to fish or ride a quad bike on the sand. Some unlucky people, a bit too adventurous, were trying to get their car out of the sand as they have been to far away and got stuck in it.

Perfect surroundings for a picnic!

Perfect surroundings for a picnic!

After this delicious break we came back on the road to Cape Palliser. This part of the trip is marvelous. During about 30 kilometres the road follows the coast and the reefs. Some rocks are proudly standing in the middle of these turquoise ocean. Mountainous landscapes surrounds the road other side and add even more magic to this panorama.

Do you think the rock at the top the sharp summit will fall?

Do you think the rock at the top the sharp summit will fall?

As we were going forward the road just turn into a gravel one for the last kilometres before reaching Cape Palliser, the southernmost north island point.  During sunny days we can observe the dramatic snowcapped mountains of the south island from there. That was one of those days!  Given the location it was a perfect place to erect a lighthouse so one was build on October 27th 1897 reaching 78 metres above the sea. The lighthouse itself is 18 metres high. If you want to see it closely you will have to climb 261 steps so I stayed below near the watchman house which is empty since 1986 as everything is automatic now. Franck went at the top.

The lighthouse illuminates until 48 kilometres.

The lighthouse illuminates as far as 48 kilometres.

After a while chilling out on the beach we decided to come back to Wellington but 5 minutes later here we were on the side on the road looking at many seals. I think they were about fifteen basking in the sun lying on rocks! Step by step we got closer to them. They didn’t seem disturbed by our presence. We stayed about 4 metres away and spent half an hour just observing them and listening to their weird songs.

What are you staring at?

What are you staring at?

So that is how we ended this delightful day and we returned to the capital with many fond memories to think about.

You want to travel all around New Zealand? Find many ideas of awesome destinations in north island and south island in my other articles as well as wheelchair accessibility tips.

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