The Travel Diaries

The Travel Diaries – Castlepoint, Wairarapa, New Zealand

What’s on your New Zealand Bucket list?

In my last Travel Diary, when I visited Curtis Falls in Egmont National Park, I managed to find myself lost in the bush. Well I bet you are wondering what happened this time. I can assure you it’s just as exciting! You’ll just have to read on to find out more!

Castlepoint Lighthouse

Castlepoint is a small beach side town in the lower Eastern region of New Zealand’s North Island. It’s on the Wairarapa Coast of the Wellington Region and is about 2.5 hours drive from Wellington. I’ve always wanted to visit Castlepoint and it’s been on my Bucket List from when I first got to New Zealand 1 and half years ago. The main reason for that is because of the Lighthouse. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but I like shooting Lighthouses. They are great to include in landscape photographs. I’ve visited lots of lighthouses in New Zealand and this has got to be one of the best ones. In fact I’ve seen 3 lighthouses in the last 2 weeks!

For this adventure I decided to stay close to Wellington as I’m trying to save money (this explains what happens later) but I also want to explore places I haven’t been before. In case you are reading this at a later date I went on this adventure in June which is technically Winter in New Zealand. So I made sure to pack lots of warm clothes and my sleeping bag liner, sleeping bag and a blanket

To make the most of my time at Castlepoint I planned to arrive late afternoon, set up camp and spend the evening shooting until the sun set. Then I’d have dinner before heading out to shoot some Astro Photography. Then in the morning I would wake up early to take some shots at sunrise. All a very good plan. Don’t you think?

Castlepoint lighthouse
The lighthouse changes colour at night!
The lighthouse changes colour at night!

Camping at Castlepoint Staying warm and hydrated My LiveSky App said it was a good night for Stargazing

Camping at Castlepoint

I decided to camp in my tent at The Castlepoint Holiday Park. I camped in the cold rather than booking one of their Huts as I wanted to save money. I’d prepared for the cold. I would be fine. As mentioned earlier I had lots of warm layers, most of which were Merino Wool. I really thought it was going to the cold that would be the problem for this adventure.

However I didn’t account for how windy it would get. It turns out at the end of the day it wasn’t the cold that almost got me, it was the wind! All night my tent was blowing around in the wind and I barely slept at all. Eventually I fully woke up just before 5am to realise that half of my top sheet was flapping in the wind. I quickly jumped out of my cocoon and got dressed. Just getting out of my tent in time to save the top sheet before it blew away in the wind. I quickly packed down the rest of my tent before it disappeared and took it to the camp kitchen to pack away properly. As you can imagine that wasn’t the nicest way to wake up. So I took a moment to make some tea and try to work out what had happened. Before finally heading out to catch the sunrise. Shooting according to the rule of thirds Using my trusty tripod before it was too windy Happy to have seen the sunrise

Getting to the lighthouse

After my tea and after I had calmed down I headed back outside and to the lighthouse. It turns out the wind was hitting the lighthouse very hard that morning. I almost got blown off the path heading up to the lighthouse. I don’t think I’ve ever been hit with wind that strong before. It was scary but exhilarating. I had my tripod with me but I didn’t dare use it. I was being blown around so much it was difficult taking pictures handheld. If I’d put my camera on the tripod, there was no way my camera would survive.

Despite the crazy amount of wind the sunrise was really beautiful and I managed to get some pretty nice shots. After the sunrise shoot at the lighthouse I decided to do a short hike to the base of Castle Rock. The hike is known as the Deliverance Cove Track. From here you can even get to the top of Castle Rock. But I decided against doing this as the wind was way too strong.

The view from halfway up Castle Rock.
The view from halfway up Castle Rock.
The clouds just before sunrise at Castlepoint Lighthouse.
The clouds just before sunrise at Castlepoint Lighthouse.

Photographing Castlepoint Lighthouse

Getting to spend so much time at this location was amazing. The lighting at sunrise and sunset was phenomenal and I think I got some really good shots. I’m really happy with how a lot of them turned out. It just goes to show that sometimes you have to lose a bit of sleep to get some good shots.

However my astro shots didn’t quite turn out so well. I didn’t realise the lighthouse would be illuminated at night and the moon was quite bright. This made it really difficult to get the correct exposure for the stars. It was still a good experience though and I think I made the most of the situation. I really like my 4 series picture of the lighthouse in different colours which I have included earlier.

I got so many cool shots of the lighthouse it was hard to pick my favourites. So here are a few below.

Reflections of Castle Rock in the lagoon.
Reflections of Castle Rock in the lagoon.
Reflections at Castlepoint Lighthouse.
Reflections at Castlepoint Lighthouse.
Castlepoint Lighthouse at Sunset
Castlepoint Lighthouse at Sunset
Sunrise at Castlepoint Lighthouse.
Sunrise at Castlepoint Lighthouse.
Sunset at Castlepoint Lighthouse.
Sunset at Castlepoint Lighthouse.

The first glimpse of the sun 16 Astro Photography at Castlepoint Lighthouse Sunrise Landscape at Castlepoint Lighthouse

After a lot of photography and a lack of sleep I drove back to Wellington for a well deserved shower and cup of tea.

What do you think? Would you have camped in a tent in that weather?

Thanks for reading my latest travel diary.



About the Author This post is brought to you by my tent. It tried its best to keep me safe.My name is Paul Blayney, I’m a Videographer and Photographer from London, England. I’m currently travelling and working in New Zealand and Australia.

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