The peak is named for Captain William Cargill, an early leader of the Province of Otago. Māori legend tells of the mountain showing the profile of a prominent warrior, and indeed from Dunedin Buttar's Peak and Mount Cargill between them do form the outline of a reclining figure, with the nearby Buttar's Peak being the head and Mount Cargill the body.
Panoramic views of Dunedin and its surrounding area are visible from the summit, making it a popular, if difficult to access, site. A single rough road ascends to the peak, and several popular walking tracks also ascend the slopes.
Mount Cargill is topped by a telecommunications station and mast, the Mount Cargill Transmitting Station. The mast is Dunedin's tallest man-made structure.
Mt. Cargill is situated some 15 kilometres (9 miles) north of the city centre, and dominates the city's northern skyline. It rises to a height of 676 metres (2,218 ft). To the north and east of Mount Cargill's peak are several smaller peaks including Mount Zion, Mount Holmes and (most notably) Buttar's Peak.
A rough road from the end of Pine Hill Road provides vehicular access to the summit, and several walking tracks also lead to the top, notably a 4-kilometre (2.5 mi) walk from Bethune's Gully in North East Valley at the northern end of Dunedin's urban area and a 6-kilometre (3.7 mi) walk though Graham's Bush, which starts in Sawyers Bay close to Port Chalmers. These tracks pass through regenerating native bush and volcanic outcrops before a sharp climb along the northern flank immediately below the summit.
The tracks pass two significant points of interest. One of these is a prominent formation of columnar jointed basalt known as the Organ Pipes. Similar outcrops are found elsewhere in the Dunedin area, at Blackhead near Waldronville and at Second Beach, Saint Clair. The second point of interest is the small temperate cloud forest which dominates the vegetation of the upper slopes. Though not a true cloud forest, in that it is not tropical, it bears many of the hallmarks of true cloud forest, with abundant moss and fern cover under thick low canopy. The cloud forest is protected within a 1.8-square-kilometre (0.69 sq mi) reserve, which includes the peak of the mountain as well as several secondary peaks. Although the tracks are easy (but steep), care should be taken by walkers, as the weather conditions on Mount Cargill are notoriously unpredictable and can change very rapidly.
The peak is, along with the similarly high Flagstaff one of the highest points surrounding Dunedin, and as such, it is a popular lookout. From the summit, views can be obtained of the entire Dunedin urban area, as well as a considerable stretch of open countryside and much of Otago's coastline, from Shag Point near Palmerston to Nugget Point in The Catlins. Particularly notable is the view of the Otago Peninsula and Otago Harbour, the entire length of which can be seen from the summit.
Mount Cargill, and the nearby smaller peaks are among the youngest parts of the massive extinct Dunedin shield volcano and was formed some 10 million years ago. Its peak comprises a nepheline phonolite dome, an intrusion through earlier pyroclastics and phonolite flows, suggesting that the volcanic origins of the peak were as a pyroclastic cone, followed by a plugging with the nepheline dome.
Buttar's Peak and Mt. Zion are similar, smaller domes. Mt. Holmes is a more distinct plug, featuring the columnar jointed basalt of the Organ Pipes.
The Mount Cargill transmitting station sits atop the mountain, broadcasting television and FM radio to Dunedin and the eastern Otago area. The station was completed in 1970, and features a 104.6-metre (343 ft) mast, the tallest structure in Dunedin.
- Television stations
- TV One - channel 2
- TV2 - channel 4
- TV3 - channel 9
- C4 - channel 11
- Freeview|HD multiplex A (TVNZ) - channel 43
- Māori Television - channel 44
- Freeview|HD multiplex B (MediaWorks) - channel 45
- Freeview|HD multiplex C (Kordia) - channel 53
- Trackside - channel 56
- Prime - channel 60
- Channel 9 Dunedin - channel 62
|Radio stations||Transmit Channel||Transmit Frequency||Band||Power (kW)|
|Classic Hits||89.4 MHz||VHF||8|
|The Sound||90.2 MHz||VHF||8|
|Radio One||91.0 MHz||VHF||2.5|
|The Edge||91.8 MHz||VHF||100|
|Radio New Zealand Concert||92.6 MHz||VHF||32|
|The Rock||93.4 MHz||VHF||8|
|Life FM||94.2 MHz||VHF||1|
|Radio Live||96.6 MHz||VHF||40|
|More FM||97.4 MHz||VHF||40|
|The Breeze||98.2 MHz||VHF||40|
|Radio Dunedin||99.8 MHz||VHF||2.5|
|Mai FM||100.6 MHz||VHF||4|
|Reserved – The Radio Network||104.6 MHz||VHF||8|
|Otago Access Radio||105.4 MHz||VHF||8|
|Radio Hauraki||106.2 MHz||VHF||8|
- Place names on Kāti Huirapa Runaka ki Puketeraki website, viewed 2012-01-04
- Hamel, A. (2008). Dunedin tracks and trails. Dunedin:Silver Peaks Press. pp. 5.14-5.17
- Price, R.C., and Coombs, D.S., "Phonolitic lava domes and other features of the Dunedin Volcano, East Otago", Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand, 21 Dec 2011.
- "Tuning - Channel 9". Retrieved 2010-08-24.
- "Dunedin/Mount Cargill FM transmitter info". Retrieved 2010-08-24.
- Automobile Association (1987). AA Guide to Walkways: South Island, New Zealand. Sydney: Weldon Publishing. ISBN 1-875410-19-8.
- Bishop, G. and Hamel, A. (1993). From Sea to Silver Peaks. Dunedin: John McIndoe. ISBN 0-86868-149-0.
- Media related to Mount Cargill at Wikimedia Commons