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The Putangirua Pinnacles (known as 'The Pinnacles') is a valley of stone pillars or hoodoos located near the south coast of New Zealand's North Island. It is one of the best areas of badlands erosion in the country.
The hoodoos here form when softer conglomerate sedimentary rock is eroded away by water and wind. However, some areas have a small almost cement like silt cap on top and this protects what is underneath from erosion, leading to the formation of stone towers or pinnacles largely shaped by the size of the silt layer on top.
Accessible from the coastal route in southern Wairarapa and within the Aorangi Ranges, the area is accessible by two main walks which start at the campsite and car park. One track gets you among the stone pillars by traversing the riverbed, while the other takes you up the side of a hill providing an expansive view of the whole valley. The Pinnacles are relatively isolated and for this reason they are not often frequented by tourists or even locals.
The Pinnacles featured in the movie 'The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King' as 'Dimholt Road'. Walking through the reserve, one certainly gets the feeling of an otherworldly place. On a sunny day, it can get very warm as the rocky environment radiates direct sunlight as heat.
Author & photographer: David Johnson (Virtual Oceania). Providing a credit or link is appreciated.
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