East Cape Travel Answers

change location
kiwi's Profile Photo

East Cape Lighthouse

by kiwi Online Now Feb 17, 2013 at 5:07 PM

I plan to visit the East Cape lighthouse, has anyone been there? How steep is the walk up. Lots of steps I believe, any more info would be appreciated, thanks.

Quote & Answer
8 Answers
  • stevemt's Profile Photo

    Re: East Cape Lighthouse

    by stevemt Online Now Feb 17, 2013 at 5:30 PM

    Hi Pam

    have a look here

    newzealandlighthouses.com/ea...

    from the same web site

    East Cape (1922)

                 

       Photos (2000)   View of East Island, original site of the lighthouse. Photo (2000)

    Google has a satellite map

    The first lighthouse to see the sun in the world, East Cape lighthouse stands on the most easterly point on the North Island. Originally the lighthouse was constructed on East Island, just off East Cape but due to the inaccessibility of the island the tower was moved onto the mainland in 1922.

    East Island (1900-1922) The East Cape area was selected as a lighthouse site in 1875 4 and a island off the cape, East Island was chosen as the lighthouse site. The island was known by the local Maori as Whangaokeno or Motu o Kaiawa and lies about 2 km off the cape. The island is about 13 hectares in size. 15 Preparation for the building of the lighthouse on East Island begun in 1898, but as there was no suitable landing beach on the island it was a hazardous job. Building materials were winched up the cliffs from work boats below to the construction site. During the construction, unfortunately four men were drowned when one of the work boats transporting equipment from the Steamer Hinemoa capsized in heavy seas. 1  The men were buried on the island. 3 The tower was the first to be constructed of cast iron sections in New Zealand by Thames Iron Works (Judd Engineering). 18 The light was first lit on 9 August 1900, and was a three keeper station. 3  The light was originally illuminated with a paraffin oil burning lamp, however, this was later replaced with an incandescent oil burning lamp. 1 To move supplies up to the lighthouse, a huge concrete block was placed on the beach at the western end of the island. From this block a wire rope ran to a winch at the top of the cliff. Then a tramway ran across the island to the lighthouse and buildings. Less than a month after the light was lit, heavy rains washed away the winch and wire ropeway and blocked most of the tramway. 3 The Hinemoa supplied stores every for months, while a local Maori mailman delivered the mail, although somewhat irregularly. 3 The local Maori considered the island tapu and the island did not want any human intrusion. In fact no Maori has ever lived on the island. This may have been true given the landslides, earthquakes and general inhospitality of the place. It was impossible for the keepers to have a vegetable garden or any livestock due to the bad soil. 3 In 1902, a telephone cable was installed to the mainland. By 1906, the graveyard on the island had grown to seven, with the addition of three keepers children. In February of that year more earthquakes were to damage the graveyard headstones and fence. Later in July, more storms caused slips that cut the telephone line in two places. The ketch Sir Henry also wrecked on the island at that time with the loss of three lives. 3 In 1902 the light station was established as a Post Office, the 4th of about 15 light stations around the country. 4 The keepers also maintained a signal station and reported passing ships by telegraph the Marine Department. 8 By 1921, the Marine Department decided to move the lighthouse to the mainland when the slips finally threatened the base of the tower itself. 1 The light was extinguished on April 22, 1922, and the tower was disassembled and lowered down the cliffs. From there the Government lighthouse tender Tutanekai transported it all to the mainland. 3  The keepers houses on the island were abandoned. Later in 1930 a local farmer moved on to the island for nine months and dismantled the houses, lashed the timber together into rafts and floated them to the mainland. 3 Once the lighthouse was moved from the island all the slips and earthquakes ceased. 3

    East Cape (1922) The tower was reassembled with one cast iron section removed as was not needed due to the increased height of the new location. The light was relit in December 27, 1922. 1 Three new keepers houses were built in the lee of the lighthouse, at the bottom of the hill so from the houses, the keepers were unable to see the sea. 3 Within a year the station was reduced to a two keeper station. 2 One of the 1st Assistant keepers at that time was George Ager (Nov 1st, 1886-August 10th, 1952). George AGER b 1 Nov 1886 Moss Vale NSW Australia d 10 Aug 1952 Edgecombe, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand. He moved Grandmother Annie Eleanor & 7 children to East Cape Lighthouse on 11 May 1923. Grandmother Annie died 11 days later on 22 May 1923 and was buried at the Kohere family cemetery, on East Cape Lighthouse land at Horoera. He was First Assistant at East Cape Lighthouse in 1923 when the ship 'Port Elliot' was wrecked and he had to go out and stay on board until the authorities came as all hands were lost in the storm.  He had three young Maori lads to help him and he stayed on board for 10 days. Grandfather George stayed at East Cape until he moved the family to Cape Egmont Lighthouse on 17 Feb 1925.a George moved to Cape Egmont Lighthouse February 17th, 1925. With the relocation to the mainland life improved. Keepers could travel into town for supplies and their children attended the local school, although the children were the only Pakeha to attend the school. 2   They were also able to grow vegetables and keep livestock. 1 In 1954 the light was converted from oil to diesel-generated electricity. 1 The light was also reduced to a one keeper station. Date unknown In 1971 the lighthouse was connected to mains power. 1 The station was automated and the last keeper was withdrawn in 1985. 1 The original light was replaced in February 2002 with a modern rotation beacon, illuminated by a 50 watt tungsten halogen bulb. The original light can be viewed in the base of the tower.  The new light is powered by mains electricity and has a backup battery in case of a power failure. 1

    POSTAGE STAMPS: The East Cape lighthouse has along with others been featured on New Zealand postal stamps issued by the Government Life Insurance Office. Part of the lighthouse series that was released on 17 November, 1976, the East Cape lighthouse stamp had a value of 8 cents. The other stamp in the series was Farewell Spit  lighthouse with a value of 10 cents.

    Stamp Web Sites 100megsfree3.com/glaw/lighth... stamps.nzpost.co.nz/Cultures...">stamps.nzpost.co.nz/Cultures... newzeal.com/theme/LH/lightho...

    "DIRECTIONS: From Hwy 35 at Te Araroa, the lighthouse can be reached by a 25 minute drive on East Cape Road to the car park. Here you face a 20 minute climb up 500+ steps to the lighthouse. Site open, tower closed. From the lighthouse, you can look out onto East Island where the lighthouse was originally located. I drove out before dawn to catch the sunrise and if you choose to do this be careful driving as there are black cows roaming on the road and are hard to see."

    Enjoy the climb, but I bet it will be worth it

    STEVE

    1 member found this helpful

    Was this helpful? Quote & Answer
  • kiwi's Profile Photo

    Re: East Cape Lighthouse

    by kiwi Online Now Feb 17, 2013 at 5:44 PM

    Yeah I've looked on google and had most of that info, I was wanting to know from someone who climbed the steps . Your info says 500+ and I'd been told 700, sounds a LOT!! Oh well, I'll be able to make a tip when I get home :-)

    Be the first to rate this answer!

    Was this helpful? Quote & Answer
  • stevemt's Profile Photo

    Re: East Cape Lighthouse

    by stevemt Online Now Feb 17, 2013 at 5:57 PM

    LOT is the operative word, anyhows enjoy :)

    Be the first to rate this answer!

    Was this helpful? Quote & Answer
  • kiwi's Profile Photo

    Re: East Cape Lighthouse

    by kiwi Online Now Feb 17, 2013 at 6:02 PM

    I have a funny feeling I won't be able to walk afterwards for a while :-) And sometimes it's the downward journey that does the damage. I just hope the steps are not too big. DOC has a habit of making them too big for my wee legs!

    Be the first to rate this answer!

    Was this helpful? Quote & Answer
  • Steve51's Profile Photo

    Re: East Cape Lighthouse

    by Steve51 Online Now Feb 18, 2013 at 2:55 PM

    700 steps according to tourism.net.nz/new-zealand/a...

    saw a vid on youtube with a toddler surely not capable of walking up 700 steps, so you should be fine !

    Be the first to rate this answer!

    Was this helpful? Quote & Answer
  • Kakapo2's Profile Photo

    Re: East Cape Lighthouse

    by Kakapo2 Online Now Feb 18, 2013 at 6:23 PM

    Interesting info. When I was there - which was a long time ago - the paddock around the lighthouse was fenced and we could not climb up the stairs at all.

    Be the first to rate this answer!

    Was this helpful? Quote & Answer
  • kiwi's Profile Photo

    Re: East Cape Lighthouse

    by kiwi Online Now Feb 26, 2013 at 1:58 PM

    The area around the lighthouse is still fenced, and you have to locate the entrance gate to go up to the lighthouse. 657 steps plus some area where there are no steps, perhaps they were there once, hence the 700 step count. Steps not too steep (although there are steep parts), but the depth of the steps was mostly too long for my short legs. My legs are still sore, days later ;-)

    Be the first to rate this answer!

    Was this helpful? Quote & Answer
  • SarahH48's Profile Photo

    Re: East Cape Lighthouse

    by SarahH48 Online Now Jul 7, 2013 at 6:37 AM

    If you have got shorter legs, take a walking pole- this helps with any knee problems- I just wouldnt recommend carrying any small children up there on your shoulders/ back! we did that.View is worthwhile though

    Be the first to rate this answer!

    Was this helpful? Quote & Answer
Your Answer
Advanced Editor View Guidelines

Popular East Cape Travel Answer Locations