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Nugget Point is one of the most iconic landforms on the Otago coast, in the South Island of New Zealand. Located at the northern end of the Catlins coast down the road from Kaka Point, this steep headland has a lighthouse at its tip, surrounded by rocky islets – the Nuggets.
A five minute walk takes you to the lighthouse, where you can enjoy amazing views along the coastline in both directions. Directly below the lighthouse on the rocks, you can see fur seals lolling about, playing in rock pools and generally having fun. Nugget Point is also home to sea lions, sooty shearwaters, shags, yellow-eyed penguins, spoonbills and a breeding colony of gannets. Occasionally, elephant and leopard seals visit the area.
Owned and operated by Maritime New Zealand, the lighthouse was built in 1870 and was originally fueled by oil. In 1949 the oil lamp was replaced with an electric one powered by a local diesel generator. This was subsequently replaced by a connection to the mains grid although the original lens for the light is still in place and used to this day. The light was fully automated in 1989 and is now managed from a control room in Wellington. In 2006, the original light was replaced with a LED beacon, powered by mains and backed up by battery.
The best time to visit the Nugget Point is either early morning or during the evenings to catch magnificent views of sunrise and sunset.