This long walk climbs through farmland to the Waikerikeri Conservation Area, and then through rugged tussock grass country to the barren summit of Leaning Rock (1647m), where there are many large tors.
A fairly long walk to the summit of Leaning Rock (1647m), the latter half of which is off track in the Waikerikeri Conservation Area. Starting in farmland, the walk ascends up Lilico Spur to the edge of the conservation area. From there the scenery is predominantly tussock grass, rocky areas, and finally the barren summit moonscape replete with multiple tors of various shapes and sizes. The overall feeling is one of remoteness, (although there are major communications installations on the summit).
We used track notes in Day Walks of New Zealand: Central Otago and Queenstown. Start towards the end of Waikerikeri Valley Road where there is a DOC sign marking the beginning of the track up Lilico Spur. (We overshot the sign at first, so keep an eye out for it – one of the green and gold ones you’ll be familiar with if you walk a lot in NZ). The track passes through farmland to the edge of the Waikerikeri Conservation Area. (Apparently you need landowner permission to go further than the conservation area; I didn’t know so merrily waltzed on). Continue along the ridge until you find a convenient spot to drop down to Waikerikeri Creek. From there climb up the hillside to reach the summit of Leaning Rock. Easy enough to navigate: just head for the biggest rock. It was slow going once we left the ridge though, and it took us much longer than expected (about 9 hours return). It may have been quicker if we’d stuck to the ridge a bit longer, as the tussock grass was pretty thick and the slopes steep.
2 thoughts on “Leaning Rock via Lilico Spur, Central Otago NZ”
You did will to do the trip I want to do, and the time you gave is what I had estimated . Did you get permission to traverse from Lillco Spur to Leaning Rock, and if so who did you contact.
Hi Pauline, thanks for stopping by the blog. I think the track notes I used were a bit old and didn’t mention asking for permission to access Leaning Rock, or else I missed it. I have subsequently read it online somewhere though. When we did it we didn’t meet a single person the whole way, and so I doubt the land owners are suffering from excess people on the route. It was definitely hard going once we left the track, and I think it would still be a worthy walk if you just stopped high up on Lilico Spur.