"Remote Marfells Beach and Cape Campbell" Top 5 Page for this destination Marlborough Tip by Kakapo2

Marlborough, South Island: 5 reviews and 7 photos

  Behind this stretch of beach camping is allowed.
by Kakapo2
  • Behind this stretch of beach camping is allowed. - South Island
      Behind this stretch of beach camping is allowed.
    by Kakapo2
  • Along this beach you can just walk. - South Island
      Along this beach you can just walk.
    by Kakapo2

I did not really know about Marfells Beach before I got there ;-) In fact, I only went there because a "private road" sign stopped us driving to Cape Campbell where I had wanted to go after I had spotted it on the map. But this became another typical New Zealand disappointment thanks to a farmer :-(

Cape Campbell and its lighthouse are indicated on the signposts from SH1 (20 km south of Blenheim) but only when you would have to turn right after several kilometres the "private road" sign indicates that you should not drive there because some farmer blocks the direct access. Still you have a chance to get to the Cape - if you make a full-day walk along the coast from Marfells Beach, checking the tides and not drowning... High springtides can make the bluffs impassable. The lighthouse is from 1903, replacing the original one from 1870.

Marfells Beach is named after Richard Marfell who that arrived from Gloucestershire in England in 1881. He started farming north of Lake Grassmere and then subsequently aquired the land behind the lake. It remained in the family until 1982.

Camping is allowed on a short stretch of the beach, from the end of the access road around Clifford Bay to a gate a short way behind the toilet block. The facilities are rather basic and primitive. I read that during the peak season in summer it can happen that 100 people spend the night at Marfells Beach. When we were there in March 2007 there were only two or three parties staying there.

If you carry on walking after the gate you get to Mussel Point where the walk to the lighthouse starts after a sharp right turn.

The beach is rough, picturesque and peaceful. But there is a cloud hanging over it, as TranzRail has applied for consent to build an interislander ferry harbour there, and this application has found consent - which is hard to swallow, given the beauty of the place. But as long as several appeals have to be dealt with the Department of Conservation (DOC) will keep on looking after the care of the beach and the camping facilities.

Directions: The access road is approx. 20km south of Blenheim, right after or before the salt works of Lake Grassmere.

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Apr 16, 2007
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