Clay Cliffs

Wander among towering clay pinnacles and explore the narrow ravines in this remarkable geological formation on a private property near Omarama. 

Formed by the erosion of a mighty deposit left by a long-gone glacier, Clay Cliffs is a labyrinth of pinnacles and ridges. While in Omarama in New Zealand’s Southern Alps region, go see this awe-inspiring formation set on private land in a scenic location.

Slowly navigate the gravel road that leads to the Clay Cliffs. Let yourself in through the gate to reach the cluster of towering clay-and-gravel formations that looms above you. Leave your car in the car park and walk up to the towering cliffs. As you approach, ponder the fact that these formations are about 2 million years old and that once upon a time a glacier covered these lands.

For a closer look, take a walk into the canyons and ravines formed between the pinnacles and ridges. The paths stretch deeper into the Clay Cliffs and become steeper and narrower as you go. Position yourself beneath a cluster of towers and look up to take in the sheer size of the cliffs. It feels like being in a lofty cathedral formed by nature. Notice how the layers of clay and gravel have been shaped by the patient power of erosion, resulting in the pointy finger-like rocks you see today.

Use your vantage point to take in the surrounding countryside. A river valley stretches out beneath the Clay Cliffs and the hills of the Southern Alps rise in the distance. The changing seasons reward visitors with different sights throughout the year, ranging from wildflowers to snowcapped hills.

The Clay Cliffs are located about 6 miles (10 kilometers) to the west of Omarama. Drop into the Omarama i-Site Visitor Information Centre before going to the Clay Cliffs to get directions and handy tips from the staff ahead of your visit. You can also pay the vehicle admission fee to the site here. If you are visiting outside of office hours, drive directly to the site and take some change with you to put in the honesty box at the entrance. Because the paths leading through the cliffs are steep and can become slippery, wearing sturdy footwear is recommended.