The remarkable rock formations of the Putangirua Pinnacles. © Shellie Evans

Discover the ‘badlands erosion’ of Putangirua Pinnacles


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Ancient gravels and millions of years of erosion have created one of New Zealand’s most spectacular geological sites at the Putangirua Pinnacles.

The earth pillar formations of the pinnacles are so photogenic they served as a backdrop in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. 

Soaring, spiky cliffs stretch up to the sky from the stony riverbed in formations that almost look too dramatic to be real.

An hour’s drive south of Martinborough, you’ll find these remarkable rock formations. It’s a short, easy walk, suitable for dogs and kids, but you’ll need sturdy shoes and to keep an eye out for falling rocks, especially after heavy rain. 

If you’re feeling energetic, continue uphill from the lookout for a longer walk that includes excellent views over Palliser Bay and Lake Ōnoke.

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