New Zealand and Lord of The Rings go hand in hand
When you think of New Zealand you automatically think of the Lord of the Rings films and their amazing locations. Well I certainly do. Maybe that’s because of my generation, but it definitely served as a spectacular advertisement for this beautiful country. Being based in Wellington at the moment has definitely allowed me to explore more of the region and one of the top things that I’ve always wanted to see is the Putangirua Pinnacles and Cape Palliser Lighthouse. Another 2 things on my New Zealand Bucket List from when I first arrived almost 2 years ago!
So when my flatmate Rob got home early from work one Friday afternoon and asked if I wanted to go to the Putangirua Pinnacles, I jumped at the chance! From Wellington it’s roughly a 2 hour drive. So we would have time to get there, do the short hike and get to Cape Palliser Lighthouse for sunset. Unlike my last 2 adventures this one went off without a hitch. We even got home in time for dinner!
The Putangirua Pinnacles, or just The Pinnacles, are geological formations formed by erosion. They consist of a lot of pillars made up of earth and stone and are located at the head of a valley in the Aorangi Ranges. The walk here is pretty nice, it takes about 2-4 hours depending on which route you take.
We decided to go up to the lookout first and then back down to The Pinnacles before walking back down along the river to the car park. Pack some decent boots for this hike as there is a lot of rock hopping and it could be easy to twist your ankle. The hike up to the lookout was a little steep but not too tough. And it was definitely worth the hike up for the view. When we first saw the Putangirua Pinnacles we were stunned and without words for a few minutes while we appreciated the view (and took pictures).
Lord of the Rings Location
Another reason I wanted to see these awesome formations was it’s use as a location in one of my favourite films, The Lord of The Rings. More accurately it was used in the Paths of the Dead sequence in The Return of The King. And you can see why. The location is mesmerising and a little spooky. It was great to visit a Lord of the Rings location and see these amazing structures in person.
Cape Palliser Lighthouse at Sunset
About 30 minutes drive away from The Putangirua Pinnacles is Cape Palliser and Cape Palliser lighthouse. Like I discussed earlier we timed it perfectly to be able to see the Pinnacles, do the walk and get here for sunset. It was amazing to see the colours of the sky. We pulled over and I snapped a few pictures of the lighthouse in the sunset. We were then distracted by a happy (and chunky) black Labrador who was just hanging out on the beach eating a fish. He was so happy with his find, although I think he must do this quite often. When I went to pat him however I noticed 5 Paua shells on the ground next to him. All in amazing condition! It was an amazing find. I noticed a sign saying that it was ok to collect up to 10, so we took them home and cleaned them up. Don’t worry, I remembered to say thanks to the dog for leading me to them.