Cape Campbell Light House Tour Itinerary

Please allow for weather and other unavoidable circumstances to require the schedule to be varied.

Day 1>

Wairau Lagoon and Vernon Station.

Visit the earliest recorded arrival place of the early Polynesian Explorer and hear the story of Jim Eyles the boy who discovered a buried moa egg which over time revealed a village.

Walk in the regenerating bush in the QEII conservation area owned by the Balfour family who have allowed us special access. Look for tomtit, brown creeper, tui, bellbird and grey warbler. Take in the sweeping views over the Wairau Valley and Cloudy Bay as you walk down the hill from Jamie’s lookout. Alternatively if the tide is right we can walk along the beach under the towering White Bluff, Te Parinui o Whiti where Kupe drove his canoe into the bluff while escaping wheke the octopus.

In the evening you will stay at the historic Ugbrooke Country Estate with hosts Peter and Alex Stowasser. The single storey, 10,000 sq foot, Heritage 2 listed, triple brick and timber residence was built by Clifford in the 1880s.


Day 2>

Visit an award winning native garden and Needles Point coastal walk.

Rosa Davidson the designer and gardener of Paripumu Gardens will give you a guided walk of her extraordinary coastal paradise.

Later in the morning we drive to visit the Needles Point. By generous permission of the land owner Rick Stolwerk, we can access this extraordinary piece of coastline. The walk over an undulating farm track leads to the sea and Needles Rocks, an extraordinary limestone landmark. Here you can look for fossil sponges in the rocks and view from a distance a large wild seal rookery.

Your second night will be at Ugbrooke


Ward Beach and Chancet Rocks walk and learn about the East Coast Protect Group. A member of the East Coast Protection Group will join us at Ward beach to give a talk about the community group’s work to foster greater community understanding of the impact of humans on beach flora and fauna and to reduce pest species. This area of the east coast rose by between 0.5 and 5 metres during the Kaikoura earthquake in 2016, resulting in access for vehicles 24/7.

We will walk from Ward Beach to the Chancet Rocks scenic reserve. The coast is notable for its concretions (large round boulders). It is also the geologically significant for having the K-T boundary. This is a visible line in the rock which shows the impact of the meteorite which ended the Mesozoic Era, when dinosaur reigned.

It is a place where banded dotterel nest. Invertebrates we will watch out for are the rare and flightless raoulia moth and the endangered katipo spider.

You will be staying at the Light House Cottages at Cape Campbell belonging to the Peter family. The Peters have been farming on this extraordinary property for three generations.  Sally or her son Thomas will join us to give a short talk on the history of the Cape.

The evening meal will be catered for by Karaka Kitchen.


Cape Campbell farm walk and volunteer planting. The highlight of our tour is the walk on Cape Campbell farm. Before we go on our walk we will do a little volunteer planting with plants gifted by Driftwood. We later drive to the Pinoli pine nut plantation where we will have our lunch. Lee the marketing manager from Pinoli Premium Pine Nuts will talk to you about this very successful local industry. After lunch, walk back to the light house cottages along the coastal flats and see the historic sites and buildings preserved by the Peters family. Birds to look out for are turnstones and pipit.

Overnight at Cape Campbell lighthouse cottages. Final night dinner with the Peter family.


Day 5>

Walk the hill tops of Isolation Station. Thanks to the Peter family we have the opportunity to walk in this beautiful tussock land, high country sheep station. As you walk you will have stunning views over the east coast, Chalk Range and Tapuae o Uenuku mountain. The woolshed provides shelter for a windy day.

The tour ends in Blenheim at around 4.00 pm, please allow 2 hours after the tour to allow for unexpected delays.