The Castle on Hawkin's Hill – Wellington, New Zealand - Atlas Obscura

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The Castle on Hawkin's Hill

A mysterious castle "in the clouds" has had many lives including a radar bunker, dog hotel, and conference center. 


Referred to as the “castle in the clouds,” 430 Hawkins Hill Road sits on a hill, isolated in the bush, overlooking Wellington. The site was originally a decommissioned Airways Corporation radar bunker until Brian Willman purchased the property in 1998 with the intention of building a conference center. For years, executives and business folk visited the castle until Willman wanted a lifestyle change. Willman opened Woofington’s in 2016, branded as a luxury dog hotel.

A series of incidents connected to Woofington’s fueled rumors among locals, deepening the mystery of the castle. In 2018, Woofington’s manager went missing and was later found dead. A burglary and arrest occurred on the property in 2019 followed by a police raid in 2020.

Woofington’s is no longer operational but the castle is a common sight to hikers traversing the Hawkin’s Ridge Trail. The area contains other quirky sights, such as the Hawkins Hill Radar Dome, ostriches, and windmills. 

Know Before You Go

Follow the Hawkin's Ridge trail from the Brooklyn windmill. 430 Hawkins Hill Road is on private property. Do not trespass; please admire from a distance.

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