Omarama Clay Cliffs

Omarama Clay Cliffs

82%

28 Rankers Reviews

15 Face-to-Face

12 Omarama

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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Photos

Information

1.5 km return | 1 hour return

Badlands hoodoos in the heart of the MacKenzie. Its like been in a big sandcastle

The Clay Cliffs of Omarama are an amazing semi-arid `badland` of deep ravines and pinnacles eroded into ancient river gravels and lake silts situated on the active Ostler Fault Line.

Access

From Omarama at the junction of SH83 and SH8, continue north towards Twizel.

After 4.5 km, Clay Cliffs is signposted to the left along Qualiburn Road.

After 3.8 km Clay Cliffs is again signposted to the left along Henburn Road (unsealed).

After 3.4 km there is a gate on the left, which enters private land. A $5 per car donation is asked for to help maintain the road.

It is a further 3 km to a wide parking bay. Don’t be tempted to drive further as even for a 4WD its dodgy on the slippery clay.

Track

There are no formal tracks here.

Beware of falling rocks especially during rain. Your best bet is to walk along the 4WD track until it peters out and head right through the ramparts into the hidden world within.

Don’t try and fight the matagouri and hawthorn as you get scratched to buggery and no other place competes with these masterpieces.

Geology

The earth pillars, or ‘hoodoos’, form by rain washing off the soil surface, exposing a resistant layer of rock or large boulder, which forms a cap, protecting the rock beneath. When this cap is punctured the surrounding material is washed away until another resistant layer is encountered. This gives rise to pillars of differing heights. Where a cap still exists a fluted pinnacle forms. Heavy rain removes the softer silty matrix binding the conglomerate of gravels to expose the individual rocks.

Feature

They have counterparts in the North Island at Putangirua (see Pinnacles Walk, Wairarapa).

Details

Feature Value Info

Organisation

Waitaki District Council

Local government organisation

Location

South IslandMount Cook - MacKenzieOmarama

Categories

  • Walking
  • Scenic Attractions
  • Free

Reviews

Showing 13 reviews of 27.

Sam's avatar

Sam

Ranking: 8/10

Great natural context that is different than New Zealand. A risky narrative could happen if you don't have a proper shoes.

Reviewed 4 months ago

Andrew Hammond's avatar

Andrew Hammond

Australia

Ranking: 8/10

Was a really nice change of scenery. Bumpy, dusty road is not too bad. Nice track that lets you get in amongst the cliffs and get a really close look. Definitely worth a visit if you are passing.

Reviewed over 2 years ago

Raphaele's avatar

Raphaele

Ranking: 9/10

Really different from most NZ scenery, quite impressive in its own way and less crowded than other places. You have to pay an entrance fee which I is pretty fair, considering the site is on private land.

Reviewed over 3 years ago

Fergus Power's avatar

Fergus Power

New Zealand

Ranking: 10/10

Stunning site the sheer grandeur of which makes you feel 'very small' as you wind your way through the impressive formations. A photographer's and geologist's dream-come-true ....

Reviewed about 4 years ago

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Martin Strauss's avatar

Martin Strauss

Ranking: 3/10

I don't know why there is a fee of $5, because this 7.5 km gravel road is ridiculous and gets worse after paying the fee. The view is nice enough, but you can have a quite good overview from the highway as well.

Reviewed over 4 years ago

Nicole and Timm's avatar

Nicole and Timm

Germany

Ranking: 10/10

Very interesting rock formations - but see for yourself! Long and bumpy gravel road - absolutely worth it.

Reviewed over 4 years ago

Bobbie Jones's avatar

Bobbie Jones

New Zealand

Ranking: 10/10

Awesome hidden gem of New Zealand. A true NZ must do, it really proves New Zealand has it all.

Reviewed about 5 years ago and experienced in October 2016

Derick Trotter's avatar

Derick Trotter

Canada

Ranking: 8/10

$5 to get on the land, is worth it! Very different scenery. It was nice to walk around/in the cliffs.

Reviewed about 5 years ago and experienced in March 2016

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Michiel de Weerd's avatar

Michiel de Weerd

Ranking: 10/10

Totally worth the trip! The cliffs are on private land and the scenery is amazing. So the $5 for the road usage is a good deal for a view and an astounding walk. Be sure to walk all the way to the end of the road.

Reviewed about 5 years ago

Bob's avatar

Bob

Netherlands

Ranking: 8/10

Great hidden treasure on a long gravel road. Nice activity for $5.

Reviewed over 5 years ago and experienced in November 2016

Stephen Timbu's avatar

Stephen Timbu

United States

Ranking: 8/10

A little off the beaten path, but the clay cliffs were worth a visit. Very interesting formations accessible by a walking track. $5 entry per vehicle.

Reviewed over 5 years ago and experienced in March 2016

Jared and Evi's avatar

Jared and Evi

Canada

Ranking: 10/10

I have never heard of the Clay Cliffs before, but on my way from Mt Cook to Dunedin I stopped there. I did not expect a lot but was mindblown when I saw them. They are totally worth a visit.

Reviewed almost 6 years ago and experienced in January 2016

Rahel Baufeld's avatar

Rahel Baufeld

Germany

Ranking: 5/10

Spectacular cliffs in the middle of nowhere, very nice landscape and views. But $5 road fee per van for a gravel road and no toilets?? That is not nice.

Reviewed almost 6 years ago and experienced in February 2016