Putangirua Pinnacles Scenic Reserve
Located in the Wairarapa region
IntroductionDiscover earth pillar formations that are some of the best in New Zealand. Camp nearby and explore the surrounding coastal area.
Find things to do and places to stay Putangirua Pinnacles Scenic Reserve
- Starting from Whangaimoana go south-east on Cape Palliser Road.
- Continue on this road for 10 km.
- There is a sign showing the entrance on the left side of the road. This is the entrance to the carpark for this reserve.
The turn-off and campsite are 500 m past the Department of Conservation Te Kopi Homestead and Cottage accommodation.
Reserve entrance details
Location: GPS coordinates -41.449483, 175.221505
- Respect the interests of walkers.
- No vehicles, including motor bikes, are permitted in the streambed.
- Rifles must not be carried loaded, nor discharged in the reserve.
The 'badlands erosion' of Putangirua Pinnacles is a spectacular landscape feature attracting many visitors to the southern Wairarapa.
When the Aorangi Range was an island, 7 to 9 million years ago, screes poured gravels onto the coast, much as they do today around Cape Palliser.
The Putangirua Stream has exposed this ancient layer of gravels to the erosive forces of rain and floods. Where cemented silts or rocks within the gravel beds prove more resistant than the underlying sediments, spectacular individual pinnacles or “hoodoos” are formed.
Lord of the Rings filming location
The eerie scenes in The Return of the King as Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli ride along the Dimholt Road to meet the Army of the Dead were filmed against the surreal backdrop of the Pinnacles.
Protecting the area during filming
Weed-free fodder was fed to horses used in the Lord of the Rings before they were filmed at the Putangirua Pinnacles. The risk of introducing weeds was addressed through a condition in filming consents required horses to be fed products that could not regrow and were free of seed. The production company also ensured the horses came from gorse and broom-free stables. After the horses had been walked through the reserve to be filmed from a helicopter, their hoof prints were raked over to avoid any impact on the ground.