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Manukau Heads Lighthouse
Manukau Heads Lighthouse

Manukau Heads Lighthouse

Open from 9am-5pm daily
Awhitu Peninsula, South side of the Manukau Heads, Manukau Heads, New Zealand

The basics

Originally constructed in 1874, the lighthouse is one of a handful in New Zealand where it’s still possible to scale the steps and stand in the lightkeeper’s den. Today, Manukau Heads looks much the same as it did in the 1800s. This lonely outpost at the entrance to Manukau Harbour faces the Tasman Sea. Here, rolling fields and pastureland abut mostly calm waters. Visitors can meander around the lightkeeper’s balcony, step inside to view the prism lens, and visit the adjacent Signal Station, which provides sweeping views of the Waitakere Ranges directly across the harbor.

If you’re lucky, it’s sometimes possible to spot whales and dolphins swimming near the mouth of the harbor—one species, the Maui Dolphin, is the rarest dolphin in the world. On clear days, the summit of snow-capped Mt. Taranaki can often be seen to the south, and the shiny, steel Auckland skyline floats on the northern horizon.

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Things to know before you go

  • A staircase of 120 steps leads to the lighthouse from the parking lot.
  • Guides with 4WD transport may be available for visitors with mobility issues.
  • There’s no cost to enter the lighthouse tower but donations are welcome.
  • Be sure to pack food and water as there are no shops, supplies, or drinking water on-site; picnic areas are plentiful.
  • There are no garbage cans so take any rubbish with you.
  • A small restroom is located by the parking lot at the base of the lighthouse steps.
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How to get there

The Manukau Peninsula is located approximately 63 miles (101 kilometers) from downtown Auckland, or roughly 1.75 hours by car. Following State Highway 1, take exit 461 for State Highway 22. Follow the signs to Waiuku. From there it’s a 45-minute drive on a paved road to Manukau Heads.

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Trip ideas

How to Spend 3 Days in Auckland

How to Spend 3 Days in Auckland


When to get there

Manukau Heads Lighthouse is open from morning until early evening daily. The gates close promptly and visiting after hours is not permitted. More than 15,000 visitors explore the lighthouse year-round; check weather conditions before you go.

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Lost at Sea

Unfortunately, the lighthouse was erected 11 years too late: in 1863, the HMS Orpheus ran aground on a nearby Manukau reef. In the end, 189 sailors drowned in the waters just off the lighthouse. The event remains New Zealand’s largest maritime disaster. Visitors can learn more from historical photos and placards on-site.

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Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What are the nearest attractions to Manukau Heads Lighthouse ?
A:
Attractions near Manukau Heads Lighthouse :
Q:
What else should I know about attractions in Auckland?
A:
As well as visiting the Manukau Heads Lighthouse , check out these trip ideas to make the most of your visit: