Located in the Wairarapa region
The turn-off and campsite are 500 m past the Department of Conservation Te Kopi Homestead and Cottage accommodation.
Location: GPS coordinates -41.449483, 175.221505
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.
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.
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.
Auckland and parts of the Waikato are at Level 3. DOC huts and campsites are closed in these regions. The rest of New Zealand is at Level 2.