3 Coastal Destinations to Visit Near Wellington in Your Motorhome

As the capital of New Zealand, Wellington is located on a peninsula along the Cook Strait on the southern part of the North Island. The city itself is beautiful, a colourful collection of timber houses along a picturesque waterfront. In town, you can visit the Wellington Zoo, the Museum of Wellington City & Sea and the Zealandia wildlife sanctuary. You can also ride the famous Wellington Cable Car.

But you won’t want to stay in Wellington without taking some time to explore some of the scenic coastline around New Zealand’s capital. Following are 3 destinations which you can drive to along the coast in your rented motorhome or campervan.

 

1. Red Rocks (Pari-whero)

Drive south and west of Wellington along the coastline, and you will arrive at the stunning Red Rocks Reserve. This park is named for the characteristic red rocks which you will find along the beach there. The rocks derive their distinctive hue from the presence of iron oxide, and are actually pillow lava dating back 200 million years.

Besides its natural beauty, Red Rocks has historical and mythological appeal. You already know the real reason the rocks are red, but according to Maori legend, there is another story. A famous Polynesian explorer named Kupe was supposedly gathering shellfish at the beach when one of them closed over his hand, drawing blood—which dripped onto the rocks. Alternately, the blood is that of Kupe’s daughters, who bled themselves over the rocks in fear and grief while he was away from home on a long expedition.

At Red Rocks, you can also check out four beach houses known as “baches,” which have all been declared as historic areas by the New Zealand Historic Place Trust. They were constructed during the early 20th century and are in fantastic condition.

If you are an animal lover, make sure you visit Sinclair Head. Here you can watch a colony of fur seals. They do blend in well with the surrounding rocks, so keep your eyes peeled. If you do, you will hopefully spot quite a few before you head to your next destination.

 

Red Rocks

 

2. Pencarrow Head Lighthouse

Wellington itself is located on the west side of the Wellington Harbour. If you drive around the entire harbour to the east side, and then down to where the harbour empties out into the Fitzroy Bay, you will find the Pencarrow Lighthouse. This lighthouse is an important historical site, as it was the first permanent lighthouse constructed in the entire country. After the Baring Head Lighthouse was built, the Pencarrow Head Lighthouse was decommissioned (which happened in 1935). It is now a Category I Historic Place.

 

Pencarrow Head Lighthouse

 

3. Makara Walkway

Northwest of Wellington is Makara Walkway in the Makara Beach area. This walk is a loop which takes you up along high rises, offering you dramatic views of the sea. There is also a beach where you can relax. History buffs can check out the spot where Fort Opau was located. During World War II, 100 soldiers were stationed there. There are still some gun emplacements in the area.

 

Makara Walkway

 

Conclusion: The Wellington Coastline Is an Enchanting Destination

With its location on the Cook Strait, Wellington, NZ provides you with easy access to some incredible coastal scenery. So take some of these recommended drives and visit these unforgettable destinations. You’ll fall in love with the Wellington area, and soon be planning your next return trip!