Castlepoint beach at summertime

Image: DOC


With its reef, lagoon, lighthouse and Castle Rock, Castlepoint is a spectacular stretch of Wairarapa coastline. An hour from Masterton, the reserve attracts many birds and marine mammals.


There are several walks suitable for most age and fitness levels in and around the scenic reserve. All walks begin at the roadend carpark.

Place overview


  • Fishing
  • Walking and tramping

Find things to do and places to stay Castlepoint Scenic Reserve

About this place

Nature and conservation

The reef, lagoon, sand dunes, and Castle Rock are all part of Castlepoint Scenic Reserve. As well as protecting outstanding landforms, the reserve is the only location in the world of a rare shrubby daisy. Castlepoint daisy Brachyglottis compactus grows only on the crumbled limestone of the reef and Castle Rock.

Frequently visited by several species of dolphin, as well as fur seals, and occasionally small whale species, the reserve is also home to numerous sea birds. White-fronted terns, red-billed gulls, and black shags inhabit the south end of the reef, and reef herons and black-backed gulls nest on the sheer cliffs of Castle Rock.

History and culture

Castlepoint was named in 1770 by Captain Cook who was struck by the similarities of Castle Rock to the battlements of a castle.

With its fossil-rich limestone reef and magnificent 162 m high Castle Rock, Castlepoint is one of the most spectacular sites along the Wairarapa coastline. Long stretches of beach and a sheltered lagoon provide opportunity for a variety of waterbased  recreational pursuits, and the area has a rich natural history.

Getting there

Castlepoint is located on Wairarapa's east coast about 1 hour's drive from Masterton.

Turn right into Te Ore Ore Road on the northern outskirts of Masterton. This road becomes the Masterton Castlepoint Road and leads directly to Castlepoint.

Know before you go

Castlepoint Store and Tearooms are on the beach front. Public toilets are located at the road end and opposite the store.


The area known as ‘The Reef’ is extremely dangerous and sea conditions are unpredictable.

You may unexpectedly encounter New Zealand fur seals within this reserve. Do not disturb or approach them.


  • Camping is not permitted in the reserve. Castlepoint Motorcamp at the northern end of the beach is the only place where camping is permitted.
  • Motorcycles and other vehicles are not permitted on the sand dunes.
  • Removal of fossils is not permitted.
  • Remove your litter when you leave.
  • Recycle aluminium, glass, paper, and plastic.
  • Keep dogs on a leash.
  • Do not disturb nesting birds.


Kapiti Wellington Visitor Centre
Phone:   +64 4 384 7770
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Address:   18 - 32 Manners Street
Postal Address:   PO Box 10420
The Terrace
Wellington 6143
Whakaoriori / Masterton Office
Phone:   +64 6 377 0700
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Address:   220 South Road
Postal Address:   PO Box 191
Masterton 5840
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