Kura Tāwhiti Conservation Area, or Castle Hill. © Simon Bradfield

Discover rocky outcrops and rare plants at Kura Tāwhiti Conservation Area


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Not only home to striking geological features, Kura Tāwhiti Conservation Area or Castle Hill in Canterbury’s Waimakariri Basin also has some of the rarest plants in New Zealand. 

Tucked in between the Craigieburn and Torlesse mountain ranges, Kura Tāwhiti is renowned for its distinctive, castle-like limestone formations that rise in clusters from the tussocky landscape. 

You can wander amongst the giant rocks – some up to 50m high – for free, and soak up the remarkable scenery. 

Also at Kura Tāwhiti you can spot the Castle Hill buttercup – one of the rarest and most endangered plants in Canterbury. There are just 67 plants in existence and they only grow here in the six-hectare reserve. 

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