A short walk to the Pinnacles

Department of Conservation —  11/04/2016

By Chloe Barnes, Communications Advisor

I recently visited South Wairarapa for the weekend. While there we walked the DOC track at Putangirua Pinnacles in Aorangi Forest Park.

An aerial view of the Putangirua Pinnacles.

An aerial view of the Putangirua Pinnacles

To get to the walk, you drive through the DOC Putangirua Pinnacles campsite carpark. The campsite looked to be well used on the early autumn day we were there, with several campers enjoying the mild weather and sheltered spot.

Walkers have a choice between heading up the stream bed all the way to the base of the Pinnacles, on a path with a gentle incline; or climbing to the ridge line lookout where you are presented with an awesome view of the pinnacles from across the valley.

Aorangi Forest Park. Photo: Jack Mace.

Aorangi Forest Park

We chose to do both – walking the ridge line track up to the lookout, then descending to the stream bed. We walked a short distance to the base of the Pinnacles before returning along the stream bed to the campsite.

You can also do a longer 3-4 hour walk that gives you views of Palliser Bay and Lake Onoke.

Walking near the Pinnacles.

Walking near the Pinnacles

The Pinnacles viewed from the stream bed.

Castle like structures

I really recommend getting a good view of the Pinnacles from both perspectives. From the lookout on the ridge you can appreciate the scale and beauty of the formations, but when you actually walk amongst them at the base it’s like stepping into an alien world.

It could be that they triggered memories of seeing The Lord of the Rings, where the Pinnacles were used as part of the ‘Paths of the Dead’ scene – although they reminded me more of an alien planet from a sci-fi movie.

In keeping with the castle comparison, I spotted a naturally formed ‘gargoyle’ poking out from one of the pillars.

A naturally formed 'gargoyle'.

A naturally formed ‘gargoyle’

It might not be a sunny white sand beach, but Palliser has a dramatic charm.

Along with the famous fish and chips at Lake Ferry Hotel, I can thoroughly recommend a trip to the Pinnacles as part of your next South Wairarapa excursion.

The Pinnacles as viewed from the ridge line lookout.

The Pinnacles as viewed from the ridge line lookout