Mount Cargill

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Mount Cargill (centre) and Buttar's Peak (to the right of the church steeple) dominate the skyline of Dunedin, New Zealand

Mount Cargill, known in Māori as Kapukataumahaka,[1] is a 676-metre-high (2,218 ft) volcanic outcrop which dominates the skyline of northern Dunedin, New Zealand. It is situated some 15 kilometres (9 miles) north of the city centre.

The peak is named for Captain William Cargill, an early leader of the Province of Otago. It is one of the youngest parts of the massive extinct Dunedin shield volcano and was formed some 10 million years ago.

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.

To the northeast of Mount Cargill's peak are several smaller peaks including Mount Zion, Mount Holmes and (most notably) Buttar's Peak.

Dunedin sits beneath the snowy mid-winter slopes of Mt. Cargill in this photo from July 2007.

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 Buttar's Peak being the head and Mount Cargill the body.

A view of Blueskin Bay from Buttar's Peak, near Mount Cargill

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.[2]

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.

This is a panorama of the view from the summit of Mount Cargill. The base of a television mast can be seen on the left, with the Dunedin harbour and the peninsula beyond. Dunedin city centre can be seen in the middle.
This is a panorama of the view from just east of the summit of Mount Cargill. Dunedin harbour runs from its entrance near the centre to the city centre on the right, the peninsula can be seen beyond. The base of a television mast can be seen at the extreme left and right edges.

Transmitting station[edit]

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,[2] the tallest structure in Dunedin.

The following television stations and radio stations broadcast from Mount Cargill:[3][4][5]

Television stations
Radio stations Transmit Channel Transmit Frequency Band Power (kW)
Flava 88.6 MHz VHF 8
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
ZM 95.8 MHz VHF 16
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


  1. ^ Place names on Kāti Huirapa Runaka ki Puketeraki website, viewed 2012-01-04
  2. ^ a b Hamel, A. (2008). Dunedin tracks and trails. Dunedin:Silver Peaks Press. pp. 5.14-5.17
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Tuning - Channel 9". Retrieved 2010-08-24. 
  5. ^ "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.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 45°48′47″S 170°33′17″E / 45.8131°S 170.5548°E / -45.8131; 170.5548