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. How To Get There
Putangirua Pinnacles Scenic Reserve is 13 km along Cape Palliser Road from the Lake Ferry turn-off, approximately one hour’s drive from Martinborough. The turn-off and campsite are 500 metres past the Department of Conservation caretaker’s residence. Attractions and Facilities
Putangirua campsite is set off Cape Palliser Road. Payment is by self-registration or to the caretaker. A sign at the carpark gives details of short walks and access into Aorangi Forest Park.
Washpool Hut (4-5 hours tramp) is a Standard Category hut, requiring one ticket per night. Short Walks
Three routes lead to the Pinnacles. Allow 2-3 hours for the round trip.
* Walk up the streambed to where the Pinnacles tower overhead (watch for falling rocks, especially after heavy rain and in strong winds) * Either take the easily graded bush walk that starts approximately 10 minutes along the streambed from the carpark * Or take the more direct loop track from near the stream junction up to the lookout.
For a longer walk, with excellent views of Palliser Bay and Lake Onoke, continue uphill from the lookout to a bulldozed track. It returns you to the coast 300 metres from the Pinnacles road entrance. Allow 3-4 hours for the return trip.