The Rock and Pillar Range, little more than an hour from Dunedin, is one of Otago's most distinctive upland features; its summit ridge dominated by impressive schist tors or rocky pillars.
Foot access to the conservation area is available via nine different routes. The routes described here are for visitors who are both experienced and at least moderately fit. The weather here is very changeable. Be prepared for extreme conditions at any time of year, and get an up to date weather forecast prior to setting out.
There are also two access routes from the Old Dunstan Road. The Old Dunstan Road is closed in winter (1 June to 1 October) but the rest of the year is open to 2WD vehicles.
The relevant topographical maps for the area are: NZTopo50 series, Sheets CD15 Paerau and CD16 Middlemarch.
1. State Highway 87, 22 km north of Middlemarch
Times: Conservation area boundary, 2 hrs; Summit, 2 hr 30 min
Rock tors and hebe on the Rock and
To reach the marked route, turn left at the second stile and follow the Otago Central Rail Trail south for 200 metres.
2. State Highway 87 / Ngapuna Road intersection
Times: Conservation area boundary, 2 hrs; Summit, 3 hrs
Parking and toilet facilities are by the Otago Central Rail Trail at the intersection of SH87 and Ngapuna Road, midway between Middlemarch and Hyde. The route is via Taieri Lake Station and signposted 100 metres north along the Rail Trail, over the main road.
3. State Highway 87, 9 km north of Middlemarch
Times: Conservation area boundary, 1 hr 30 min; Summit, 3 hrs
Mountain biking is permitted. Access and parking is at Kilmory Station, just before Lug Creek.
4. State Highway 87, 5 km north of Middlemarch
Times: Conservation area boundary, 20 min; Summit, 3 hrs
Signposted from SH87 (Wandle Road), near the McKinnon Road junction, 2WD access to the parking area is through cattle stops on private property. Follow the marked route from the carpark.
5. Gladbrook Road, northern end
Times: Conservation area boundary, 1 hr; Summit, 2 hrs 30 min
Access is from Gladbrook Road near March Creek, midway between the corners of Browns and McKinnon Roads. Cross the stile and follow the markers.
6. Rock Road off Gladbrook Road
Times: Conservation area boundary, 2 hrs; Summit, 2 hrs 30 min
The parking area and route are reached through a farm gate by turning left at the end of Rock Road. To reach the conservation area, follow the marked route along the fence line. The marking ceases at the conservation area boundary, though the route to the ridge follows the fence line.
7. Gladbrook Road southern end
Time: Conservation area boundary, 2 hrs
Access is through private property near the southern end of Gladbrook Road. It is signposted, with markers to the conservation area boundary.
8. Old Dunstan Road at Loganburn Reservoir
This provides direct access from the Old Dunstan Road, at a marked point, adjacent to the Loganburn Reservoir. Mountain biking is permitted.
9. Old Dunstan Road via McPhees Rock
Near the highest point of the road a 4WD track leads to McPhees Rock and on to the summit ridge. Permission may be required from the landowner.