Putangirua Pinnacles: The Dimholt Road

New Zealand: The Lord of the RingsPutangirua Pinnacles: The Dimholt Road

Location

Two hours east of Peter Jackson's home town of Wellington, the Putangirua Pinnacles provided the perfect backdrop for the Dimholt Road (aka The Paths to the Dead), featuring in The Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King.

It's definitely one of the more challenging LOTR locations to get to, as it involves a bit of a scramble to reach the exact filming spots. From the top end of the car park, walk along the streambed for about 10 minutes. From here, you can either turn left onto the steep bush track up to the lookout, or continue along the creek.

It's a relatively steep climb to the lookout. If you're visiting mainly for the film location, it might be worth considering skipping this part and sticking to the bottom of the valley instead.

It's a relatively steep climb to the lookout. If you're visiting mainly for the film location, it might be worth considering skipping this part and sticking to the bottom of the valley instead.

At the point where the two tracks join up again, continue upriver for another few minutes before heading up the side valley on your left. This part might be a bit more challenging, in particular after a rainy period or during the wetter winter months as the gravel in the river bed is very soft. By the way, as you will have to ford the creek a few times during the first leg of the valley track, you might want to set out in drier conditions anyway.

To ford, or not to ford - that's the question. As you can tell, Stefan went against the advice given above and visited at the end of winter.  

To ford, or not to ford - that's the question. As you can tell, Stefan went against the advice given above and visited at the end of winter.  

But he was not the only one to get wet feet.

But he was not the only one to get wet feet.

Walking up the side valley towards the base of the pinnacles.

Walking up the side valley towards the base of the pinnacles.

Filming took place at the upper, narrow part of the valley.

Getting close.

Getting close.

Looking back down the side valley.

Looking back down the side valley.

It was an exhilarating experience to hike up this far but Stefan's boots had to pay the price.

Key Scenes

Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas have left Rohan's army at Dunharrow and travel the Dimholt Road on horseback in search of the Dark Door, which signifies the entrance to the Paths of the Dead.

Aragorn is leading the way.

Aragorn is leading the way.

The entrance is near.

The entrance is near.

Videos

Map

Travel Tips

For more information about the Pinnacles track, have a look at the specific track description provided by the Department of Conversation. It takes between 2 and 4 hours return to hike to the filming location, depending on your fitness and whether you include the track up to the viewing platform.

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Putangirua Pinnacles: The Dimholt Road

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