Wellington Regional Trails

Walking time

2 - 4 hr return






Single track

Walking difficulty

Easy: Walking track


250m climb

-250m descent

227m highest point


Yes (on lead)

About the trail

Take a trip to the Wairarapa coastline near Cape Palliser to a stunning location that will take your breath away. Embark on a half-day journey and explore the spectacular Putangirua Pinnacles.

The ‘pinnacles’ are large stalagmite structures that feature in The Lord of The Rings: The Return of the King.

Suggested routes

You can take one of three routes to the pinnacles and the lookout:

  • Walk up the streambed past the towering pinnacles.
  • Take the easy bush walk that starts about 10 minutes along the streambed from the car park. It leads to the loop track junction and on to the lookout above the pinnacles.
  • For a more direct route to the lookout, walk up the streambed to the base of the pinnacles. From there, then turn left on to the loop track for a steep climb up to the lookout.

If you’re keen for a longer walk that will reward you with excellent views of Palliser Bay and Lake Onoke, continue uphill from the lookout to a bulldozed track and turn left. This loop trail will return you to the coast 300 metres from the entrance to the Putangirua Pinnacles Scenic Reserve. It’s a 3 to 4 hour return trip.

  • The trail starts in Putangirua Pinnacles Scenic Reserve, 13 kilometres along Cape Palliser Road from the Lake Ferry turn-off. It’s about a one-hour drive from Martinborough. 
  • Public transport is not available.