Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
2,296.00 ft (699.82 m)
Trail type
11.20 mi (18.02 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The hike to Mount Cargill and the Organ Pipes is a challenging 11 mile journey offering beautiful vistas and interesting geology. Additionally, the hike is nearby downtown Dunedin, New Zealand, making it easily accessible for visitors. While public transit does not go to the trailhead, the two mile journey down North Road leading from downtown Dunedin to this trailhead is very flat, and hikers can also choose a Lime scooter to reach the start of this trail. Hikers may complete this route as an out-and-back entirely on trails, but the loop route via Mount Cargill Road provides nice variety and a more gradual uphill climb.

After 3 miles on Mount Cargill Road, hikers will reach a junction with the Grahams Bush Scenic Reserve trails to the right and the trail to the Organ Pipes and Mount Cargill to the left. About a half mile further along the trail, there is a short scramble up the Organ Pipes, a distinct columnar jointing feature. This geological phenomenon, consisting of prismatic rock formations clustered together is rather uncommon and is caused by igneous rock contracting as it cools. Continuing along the ridgeline, hikers will traverse scenic Buttar’s Peak before summiting Mount Cargill with beautiful views of the Otago peninsula. A wooded trail then steeply descends to Bethune’s Gully forest park, where hikers can then return down North Road to downtown Dunedin. The well maintained trails also make this adventure suitable for a trail run.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Geological phenomena. Close to downtown Dunedin. Great views.


Steep trails. No public transportation to trailhead.

Trailhead Elevation

97.00 ft (29.57 m)

Highest point

2,213.00 ft (674.52 m)


Geologically significant
Big vistas

Typically multi-day


Permit required



Nearby Adventures


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