Walking, biking, horse trekking, wildlife
Discover the superb scenery and history of this remote area and take it in at your own pace. The farmland you will cross on your drive in, and if you chose to explore, has been owned and operated by the Peter Family since 1973. Cape Campbell farm comprises of 3,300 acres of coastal rolling hill country. The farming operation is based around the farming of grass feed composite sheep and Angus X beef cattle. Farming here is not the easiest, contending with the harsh elements of Cook Straight and an annual rainfall of between 16-20 inches, meaning careful consideration is taken in maintaining the right balance of stock to the land. The family has also over many years been establishing native plantings in QUII reserves across the farm and coastline, with the aim to help protect Flora & Forna significant and unique to this area.
There are several walking and mountain bike tracks on offer, for every fitness level to explore the wilds on offer. These tracks meander through the wind swept mudstone cliffs, rolling tussock hills and along the rugged coastline of the Cape Campbell Farm.
Hike or bike your way to the top of Mt Tako, at 194m it is the highest point on Cape Campbell farm. Once the site of a WWII radar station on the lookout for Japanese submarines, it offers unparalleled views to the north across Cook straight to the Wellington foothills and beyond. On a clear day you will see the many windmills for power generation along the Wellington coastline. To the south Mt Tapuaenuku ‘Footprint of the Rainbow” dominates the horizon standing at around 2885m, its the highest peak outside of the Southern Alps. All tracks are well marked and start from your doorstep.
We also offer horse trekking, this option is for those with own horses and gear. We meet you at the front of the property, where there is safe parking and float storage. From here you can chose between a couple of routes, then ride out through farmland, mainly following marked Farm roads, to the coast. Here you will reach your accommodation at Cape Campbell peninsular. You can take your own luggage by horse back or we can transfer your luggage/food for you by arrangement at no extra cost. Once arriving at the lighthouse there is a dedicated pony paddock, that can be divided in half behind the cottages. Let the horses rest and recoup while you enjoy the sea breeze and the setting sun on the porch. The return journey takes you along the white cliffs of Clifford Bay back to you vehicle. Ride time is approx. half day each way. Hay is available. Limit 6 horses. Please enquire.
Wildlife in this remote wind swept corner of Cook Straight has evolved to tolerate the sometimes extreme conditions of high wind and low rainfall. The cold antarctic currents that run up the eastern coast of the South Island of New Zealand bring with them rich nutrients that fuel a hugely diverse array of marine life. With each change of tide you can never predict what may wash up, from frost fish and nautilus shells to the mysterious deep sea giant squid.
The bay in front of the Lighthouse has a small but strong population of Hector’s dolphins which can been seen most days feeding off shore, usually followed by a flock of sea birds. Low tide exposes another world, the home of paua, crayfish, octopus, flounder and more. Children can run a muck chasing fish in the rock pools. The shoreline is home to fur seals, ghecko’s, skinks, and the rare katipo spider, New Zealand’s only poison-is arachnid . There is also a multitude of native and migratory birds that call the peninsular home.
Plant life must be hardy to survive the often harsh winds. One such example is Raoulia rubra better known as “vegetable sheep”. This plant huddles together so tightly it is like a giant “cushion” or “sheep”. Usually found in alpine areas, it is a prime example of the diverse nature the area holds. Also keep your eyes peeled for the many sheep and cattle that are dotted across the landscape.