Six Mile Creek
ElevationAscent: 3,541' 1,079 m
Descent: -3,541' -1,079 m
High: 4,733' 1,443 m
Low: 1,192' 363 m
GradeAvg Grade: 19% (11°)
Max Grade: 57% (30°)
“A tough climb to amazing rocks, alpine scenery and a truly great hut. Only an hour from Dunedin.”— Almonzo Wilder
Need to Know
The route up the Rock & Pillar Range is marked continuously with orange-topped poles. The trail climbs very steeply through scrubby vegetation near the valley floor, then beautiful tussock-grass fields at middle elevations, and true alpine tundra near the summit. At the upper end of the climb the poles that mark the route are spaced very closely, and several are equipped with solar lighting. On a clear day this may seem like overkill, but it is a testament to how bad conditions can get. The marked route ends at Big Hut, a 16-bunk hut that offers fine shelter (no reservations, $10 per night, gold coin donation for day use) and a chance to practice your ping-pong skills...that's right, this hut, in addition to being modern, clean & comfortable, has an awesome ping pong table!
Big Hut makes a great base for further exploration of the broad summit plateau of the Rock & Pillars, and offers a chance to witness outstanding sunrises and sunsets. Summit Rock is a worthy destination, lying to the north of Big Hut via a cross-country ramble. The most fun route is to aim for the rock tors just north of the hut, which offer great scrambling and exploring. Summit Rock requires an easy hop over an old fence line to reach and is hardly higher than its surroundings. It is recognizable by the survey marker at its top. Views extend from the ocean beyond the Otago coastline all the way to the Alps near Queenstown and Wanaka.
When you've had your fill of exploring, head back down the way you came.
History & Background
More recently, the Rock & Pillars feature in "The Hobbit" movie as the location of the Dale Hills. Ten helicopters were used to ferry cast, crew and equipment to this remote location for filming.