The pilgrimage to Pencarrow Lighthouse makes a memorable day trip from Wellington city or the Hutt Valley. Starting from pretty Eastbourne, a return walk of around four hours, or 1.5 hours on a bicycle (bike hire is available at the gate during summer).
The rugged stretch of coastline leading to Pencarrow Head offers spectacular scenery complete with whirling birds and rocky beaches are strewn with flotsam. On a blowy day, its easy to imagine the danger facing ships passing through the treacherous heads. Interpretation panels illuminate tales of trials and tragedy.
The lighthouse has its own captivating story to tell, for not only was it the country first permanent lighthouse, it was also home to its first and only female lighthouse keeper Mrs. Mary Jane Bennett. From 1852, Mary and her husband George operated a light from a window of their cottage at Pencarrow Head, even more, isolated than it is today. Life was a real struggle for them and their family, as evident in the lonely grave of little Eliza just shy of the lighthouse.