The Organ Pipes

Dunedin City District

Organ Pipes

This is one of the best hikes in Dunedin. A massive pile of Basalt Columns all falling down, with a nice chunk still standing on the top which you can climb up. A word of warning on this, heaps of the rocks are loose and it is easy to slip and hurt yourself. Please be very careful. The track up is well maintained though some native dense bush.


There are three trails that lead to the Organ Pipes. All very fun but dependent on the time you have and how able your team is. 1.. The standard trail, which most people will do, takes about 1/2 an hour from a car park located on Mt Cargil Road, To get here drive up North Road and it will eventually change names just past upper junction. The car park is well signposted, but not much room for cars, it can get busy. 2.. The top trail starts at the top of Mt Cargil where the massive television transmitter is. Just walk down the trail following the signs. 3.. The bottom trail starts at Bethune's Gully and takes about 1.5 hours to traverse up the hill to the Organ Pipes.

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One wintry morning

July, 2015. I woke up earlier than the sun and jumped in the car. Looking out the window as I drove I noticed it was very overcast and very dark. Not even one star in the sky. I almost turned around to get back to bed. I'm glad I didn't.

The parking lot was deserted (obviously). I piled on the layers of clothes and even a scarf, this was going to be a cold one. As I walked up the trail with a dimly lit torch, I wondered if the sun was going to bother with the day. I was getting close to the first basalt blocks and I felt the wind pick up with this nasty chill. It was too late now, I was going to the top. The columns themselves where covered in icy sleet and forced me to hold my camera extra tight. Thats about the time the snow started falling. I'm not talking your nice fluffy let it land on your tongue sort of snow. This was that awful shiver down your spine, chills in your bones sort of wintry shower that you really don't want on a Sunday morning. It didn't matter. I was at the top and that sun which I never saw, still turned the sky a little bit of pink, a little bit of magenta and a little bit of old fashioned orange.

A very cold - Stu