Walk to the top of Mount Cargill and enjoy spectacular views of Dunedin, the coast and the surrounding countryside.
Some of the most spectacular views of Dunedin and the surrounding area can be enjoyed from the top of Mount Cargill. Rising 676 metres above sea level, it dominates the northern end of Dunedin. The views include the urban area of Dunedin and much of Otago's coastline - including the Otago Peninsula and Otago Harbour. In Māori legend, the three peaks of Mount Cargill represent the petrified head, body and feet of a princess of an early Otakou tribe. The mountain was known to Māori as Kapukataumahaka. European settlers named the mount after the co-founder of the Otago settlement, Captain William Cargill. The walk to the summit from Bethunes Gully passes through native forest and plantations, as well as an area near the summit with dense moss and fern cover under a low canopy. A thirty-minute sidetrack takes in the fascinating Organ Pipes rock formation. This was formed by the cooling of lava that flowed across Mount Cargill during the last period of volcanic activity in the Dunedin area. The hot lava cooling against the cold rock caused powerful expansions and contractions. Slower cooling led to the shorter, thicker columns that are close to a perfect hexagonal shape. Mount Cargill is about 15 kilometres north of Dunedin city. Allow three to four hours for the four-kilometre walk. Although steep at times, the track is well-formed and suitable for people of almost any fitness level. It is advisable to take warm clothing as the weather can change quickly near the summit.