Time : Approximately 1 hour
Puketapu means “sacred hill” in Maori and offers stunning 360 degree vistas over Palmerston township, rolling farmland down the Shag Valley and out to sea. You can’t but help notice this prominent peak towering above the settlement of Palmerston as you arrive because of the standing stone monument on top of the hill. The peak was formed by volcanic activity.
Puketapu is a short and sweet uphill climb. Choose from a couple of routes – clamber up the face or follow the posts which mark an easier route – winding around the back of the hill. Although it can be steep, the track is well formed and you will be rewarded with stunning views at the top!
Enjoy a picnic lunch on the benches at the top or climb the stairs and stand atop the monument. The monument is a memorial to Sir John McKenzie, a local agricultural figure from the 19th century and prominent citizen of the past.
Every year in October, locals run a race called “Kelly’s Canter” where they run up Puketapu and down again, with record times sitting at around 20 minutes to get up and back. The race is in remembrance of local constable Bert Kelly, who during World War II would regularly run up Puketapu on coastal watch for enemy ships.
While you’re welcome to try and beat that heroic time of 20 minutes, we suggest a good hour to enjoy it at a leisurely pace.
The track is open all year except during lambing season (September – November).
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