Walking the Paths of the Dead – the spooky Putangirua Pinnacles

The Dimholt Road, leading up to the Paths of the Dead in The Lord of the Rings – The Return of the King is an eerie place.

The actual filming location however is rather pretty and lies in Aorangi Forest in the Wairarapa region: the stunning Putangirua Pinnacles.

Most visitors to NZ miss out on that place as it is a bit “out of the way” plus you have to walk for a good 45min up a streambed to reach it. If you made the effort to get there however you’ll be rewarded with stunning views. If you feel adventurous you can even venture into the formed passages for some hundred meters before they get too narrow or steep to continue (beware of falling rocks).

Even though we visited the area in bright sunlight you couldn’t help but feel a slight chill – it’s a desolate and barren place and it’s obvious why Peter Jackson decided to use the scenery for the Dimholt road.


Quick color-correction: how the pretty pinnacles became a spooky scenery (move slider left or right)

After scaling around in the pinnacles we walked up a steep hill to get to the lookout point before heading back to the car park at the park entrance via the ridge track.