Kura Tawhiti (Castle Hill)

After experiencing the horizontal rain in Arthur’s Pass and Otira on New Year’s Day (subsequently the road was shut the following day), we stopped off for a quick visit at Castle Hill on our way home; it was sunny and 26 °C.

The grand limestone rock battlements of Kura Tawhiti led early European travellers to name this area Castle Hill because of the imposing array of limestone boulders in the area reminiscent of an old, run-down stone castle. 

The two main areas are Kura Tawhiti and Flock Hill. Both areas are very popular area for rock climbers, and nearby Flock Hill has been used for filming battle scenes in the film, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

The front of the Christchurch Cathedral (badly damaged by the earthquake) was made from Castle Hill limestone.

In 2002, the Dalai Lama named it a “Spiritual Centre of the Universe”.

Like looking up at the clouds and making out shapes, it’s also interesting working out what shapes the rocks look like…

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