Helen Oakes PhotographerTake just a 90minute drive from Christchurch and you will be transported back into a fantasy land of towering limestone boulders.

Think Lord of the Rings and Nania. Although no movie scenes were shot here, they were at nearby Flock Hill for the 2005 movie The Chronicles of Nania. The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe climatic battle scenes were fought at Flock Hill which is a 12km drive north on SH73, which features the same limestone formations.

Landscape Photography Advice

An obligatory stop is always worth the effort when you are travelling over to the West Coast, however, Castle Hill also makes a good day trip from Christchurch.

Hundreds of limestone boulders are what will greet you when you arrive at Castle Hill which is located beside State Highway 73 and between Darfield and Arthur’s Pass. This area is classed as private property but it is located in the Kura Tawhiti Conservation Area which is open to the public.

Castle Hill is very big within the South Island climbing scene. Many climbers will be found bouldering around the massive array of limestone rocks.

Just take a short 10min walk and you are at the base of the rocks. There are lots of nooks and crannies to explore and fantastic views at the top of the boulders. Don’t miss a good photo opportunity the scenery is amazing even on wet days.

Photo specs:

  • SONY A6000

  • 18-55mm lens

  • ISO 125

  • f11

  • 16mm

  • 1/250 sec

Post-production:

  • Edited in Adobe Lightroom Classic CC

  • MDV LR Presets – HDR Jump Jam + MDV Light Leaks Gold

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