Omarama Clay Cliffs – Your Complete Guide!

Clay Cliffs New Zealand

The Omarama Clay Cliffs are a great sight to see just outside of Lake Pukaki. I visited the other day and was amazed at cool they were, so in this blog, I will give you all the information you need to visit them for yourself!

The Omarama Clay Cliffs, New Zealand

While road tripping from Lake Tekapo back to Queenstown we made an effort to stop at as many places we had time for. As we passed Lake Pukaki we had already stopped so much that time had really gotten away from us, but it was then that we passed the sign to the Omarama Clay Cliffs and our curiosity got us off track again.

We hadn’t heard of the Clay Cliffs and as such almost didn’t bother turning back to visit them. However, as we drove further away from the turnoff that hunger for adventure took over and we immediately turned the car around and headed for the Omarama Clay Cliffs!

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The decision to visit the Omarama Clay Cliffs was one we certainly didn’t regret and something we want others not to either. So in this post, I will give you all the info you need to visit the Omarama Clay Cliffs and also share some of the amazing photos we got to help make the decision to visit that much easier!

A view of Omarara Clay Cliffs in the South Island of New Zealand.
Once we saw this view we knew we had made the right decision!

What are the Omarama Clay Cliffs?

The Omarama Clay Cliffs are exactly what the name suggests. The tall, clay cliffs were formed about a million years ago, and, as I found out, that actually makes them rather young!

The Clay Cliffs are made from many layers of gravel and silt and were formed by rivers that flowed from large, ancient glaciers in the area. Being clay, the cliffs are more easily subject to erosion. This erosion has formed tall pinnacles that tower some 30 meters into the air and have made the site a spectacular place to visit!

Omarama Clay Cliffs are a really unique sight to see that most visitors unfortunately miss.
Looking up at these giants!

Getting to the Clay Cliffs

The Clay Cliffs are located only 10km from the town of Omarama on South Highway 8. The turnoff is just north of the town (heading towards Lake Pukaki) and is called Quailburn Road.

Once you turn off the highway and onto Quailburn Road you must continue straight until you reach Henburn Road. The turnoff is signposted, however, the sign is small and easy to miss.

Once you turn onto Henburn Road, you will be driving on an unsealed gravel road. The road is in good enough condition for all vehicles but other cars driving in the other direction can flick rocks up so it’s important to drive slow. You must follow this road it until you see a large sign pointing you to the Omarama Clay Cliffs.

From the South Highway 8, the Clay Cliffs are another 10km drive.

clay cliffs
We did some exploring and found this awesome view point!

Cost of the Clay Cliffs

Visiting the Omarama Clay Cliffs is in fact not free, however, it’s not expensive either. At the last turn off, there is a large sign that dictates the price depending on your vehicle. When we visited it was $5 for a car and $15 for a bus. Payment is made via an honesty box before you pass a small gate.

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Omarama Clay Cliffs New Zealand cost $5 per vehicle that is paid with an honestly box.
They’re not free but they’re totally worth it!

Things to do at the Omarama Clay Cliffs

Once you reach the Clay Cliffs there is a short path that leads up to them. Once you reach the end of this path you can then venture around as you please. There is actually a small opening at the end of the path that leads you to a large open area where the cliffs surround you some 3o0 meters high. I really suggest making it to the part and doing some extra exploring too!

Other than enjoying their beauty there isn’t much else to do at the Clay Cliffs. There is a small river called the Ahuriri River that passes right by the cliffs and some other farmed animals nearby.

Exploring the clay cliffs new zealand. There is a small walk to do at the clay cliffs and even some climbing to a viewpoint.
Entering the small gap in the cliffs at the end of the path
A selfie at the clay cliffs New Zealand
We loved visiting the Clay Cliffs!

In my honest opinion, a visit to the Omarama Clay Cliffs is a great place to stop and well worth the short detour. I was amazed I hadn’t heard of them before, and on my visit, we were the only people there! The Omarama Clay Cliffs a great “of the beaten track” experience that is truly unique.

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Where to next?

Check out some of our other favourite places in New Zealand:

-Daniel

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