Visit Castlepoint, Wairarapa, NZ

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  • Castlepoint, on the Wairarapa’s east coast, 45 minutes’ drive from Masterton, is an old-fashioned kiwi beach town that is popular for summer camping and water-based activities such as swimming, fishing and surfing. Along with nearby Riversdale, it offers many options for camping, backpacking and campervan touring, as well as holiday cottages to rent.

    Castlepoint was so-named in 1770 by Captain James Cook, probably in reference to prominent coastal peak, Castle Rock. The first European settler arrived in 1848, and it was not long before the reef-protected lagoon at Castlepoint became the Wairarapa region’s main shipping port.

    From early times, the beach at Castlepoint has been used for horse racing. These races continue today as an annual event. Fishing competitions are also held in the summer months.


    Accommodation in Castlepoint (NZ)

    Traditionally, the camping grounds at Castlepoint and nearby Riversdale have been the most popular options for family vacations. Today, these campgrounds also offer self-contained cottages and cabins, bunk-style backpacker accommodation, camper van and motor home sites, and motel-style accommodation.

    In addition, Castlepoint has a good number of holiday homes to rent, some of them right on the sea shore.


    Transport around Castlepoint

    The closest air and rail transport to Castlepoint is via Masterton. Bus services to Castlepoint are not frequent, due to its remoteness. A rental car, campervan or motor home is the ideal way to get there and explore the coastal region.


    Tourist Activities around Castlepoint

    The reefs protecting the lagoon and surrounding sand dunes are a wilderness area: Castlepoint Scenic Reserve. It is possible to walk out onto the reefs, from where it is possible to see dolphins, fur seals, small whales, penguins and many types of sea bird.

    Another popular walk is to the lighthouse, built in 1913, and to the stunning, 160 metre-tall Castle Rock.

    Swimming, surfing and fishing are popular activities at Castlepoint during the summer. A number of fishing competitions for adults, children and women-only take place from January through to March.

    One of Castlepoint's highlights is the annual beach horse racing competitions, which usually run in March, the exact date being variable due to tides.

    In winter, visitors to Castlepoint should take care near the sea, as some of New Zealand’s strongest winds and biggest waves have been recorded at this exposed location.

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