Saturday, 8 February 2014

Nugget Point Lighthouse

Nugget Point welcoming committee-

Nugget Point is one of the most iconic landforms on the Otago coast and I must say it is very spectacular. Located at the northern end of the Catlins & down the road from Kaka Point this steep & dramatic headland has a lighthouse at its tip and is surrounded by rocky islets which are known as "The Nuggets".

A 20 minute walk along an easy track takes you to the lighthouse & viewing platform. Just a short distance from the car park this lookout gives great seascape views looking north and also overlooks a steep cliff with beautiful rocky inlets below. Spread out on the rocks & swimming in amongst the kelp are dozens of seals.

The flat rocky platform to the left is also a seal crèche and looking carefully with the binoculars we could see many tiny seal pups, some playing in the pools, one even suckling. The plaintive cries, which sound very child like, reached up to us on the platform. The rock stacks have many different resting seabirds.

The 10-metre Nugget Point lighthouse stands 76 metres above sea level on a point close to the "Nugget" rocks. First lit in 1870, the lighthouse was automated in 1988. I couldn't decide which photos to post so you get a selection!

To the right of the lighthouse in the photo below, you can see part of the viewing platform, the bit that extends out over open air.

The wave eroded "Nuggets" as seen from the viewing platform in front of the lighthouse are quite spectacular.

The south side of Nugget Point-

While standing on the platform dozens of spotted shags flew past at eye level on their way to their feeding grounds.

Below is the part of the platform that overhangs open air, the grill in the floor allows you to see down to the rocky shoreline far below. This is looking south down towards Cannibal Bay, Surat Bay & far away Jack's Bay. The cries & barks of more seals reached us high up on the platform and unless you had binoculars you would be unable to see that the rocks below also are covered in seals basking in the sun.

The bull kelp around these rocks reminded me of piupiu (a Maori skirt-like garment) The kelp moved gracefully back & forward in the gentle swell & the contrast between the rich copper colour of the kelp & deep blue of the water was amazing.

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