Mount Cargill and the Organ Pipes...

Mount Cargill and the Organ Pipes

Mount Cargill and the Organ Pipes

Your Nature Guide

Marios Gavalas's avatar

Marios Gavalas

Author And Researcher

Nau mai, haere mai

Nau mai, haere mai

I'm Marios, delivering the best of Aotearoa's nature walks to your device.

I've personally walked hundreds of New Zealand's tracks and spent months in libraries uncovering interesting information on New Zealand/Aotearoa. And you'll find a slice of that research on this page - enjoy!


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View out from Mt Cargill


Organ Pipes: 2.8 km return | 40 minutes return Mount Cargill: 7 km return | 2 hour return

Sacred geometry in the rocks with the vertical Organ Pipes thrusting upwards and a view of Dunedin, the harbour and Otago Peninsula.


From Dunedin town centre follow North East Valley, then North Road into Mount Cargill Road. On the summit plateau there is a small parking area (unsuitable for large campervans).

The walk is signposted on the left.


This is a steep, rough and slippery track winding up through remnant pocket of native totara forest. After 15 minutes the Organ Pipes are signposted to the left.

The real views only start as your approach the mast on the summit (676 m).


Mount Cargill forms part of the large extinct volcano that dominated the Dunedin region around 10 million years ago.

Like other hexagonally jointed basalt flows around the world, most notably Ireland’s Giant’s Causeway, the magical geometric patterns are a response to cooling. When the (usually basalt) lava cools, it contracts, and the fracture pattern determined at the surface migrates downwards, guarding it’s parent form. If the cooling centres are regularly spaced, then hexagonal jointing will follow.


A small cloud forest is reserved at the top. Cloud forests form in places it is cloudy. And Mount Cargill is often cloudy. It is the region’s weather vane. If you want to know what the humidity level in the air is doing, just check out Mount Cargill.

European History

Mount Cargill is the highest peak around and has a transmitter for radio and TV on the summit.


Feature Value Info


DOC Otago

Central government organisation


South IslandCoastal OtagoDunedin


  • Walking
  • Free


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DOC Managed

Thanks to all the good people working for the NZ Department of Conservation - for all your hard work - making NZ more beautiful, accessable and healthy! Cheers 😍

Cymen Crick's avatar

Cymen Crick