Clay Cliffs – A Crumbling Climb

It was time to explore again.

The spring slush had arrived and even though I was enjoying my days on my planks riding the creamy soft snow, today was destined for a change of scenery.

Jumping into my trusty Subie, Google barked the way to a site 10km from Omarama, the Clay Cliffs.


$5 donation box


After a windy dusty gravel road, I meet a $5 donation box. The land which Clay Cliffs was formed on by the glaciers depositing silt and gravel sediment is owned privately therefore contribution to the upkeep of these delicate landforms is a courtesy.


You see nothing until the last bend of the dirt road when these huge peaks appear out of the side of the hills.

Winding trail through the Clay Cliffs valley

There are several walking trails up to and around groups of these sandy rocks, some being little creeks that had dried up today.

“I’m immune to brambles, I’m immune to brambles…”

One route I took was admittedly quite a challenging one as I found myself crawling through thickets of brambles and tangled bushes.


The ground was soft and clayey, and footing was challenging after the heavy rainfall a couple days before.

Close-up of the cliffs shows that they are formed by compacted sediment

Also avoid using the cliffs to support yourself whilst climbing as they are so soft they just crumble away to the touch. It’s amazing these delicate forms are still here.

Up high!

Reaching the top of one of the peaks, I could see across the flat plains for miles.


Sky-high views are my favourite so being amongst these peaks up high was really worth the small scramble up there.


This is great for a short morning’s trip, the walking is not too challenging fitness-wise and it is cheap for entry. If you are passing by I definitely recommend visiting here before these soft, sharp pinnacles and ridges disappear forever.


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