Castle Hill Basin is located in
the Canterbury high country at an altitude of 700m
approximately 90km northwest of Christchurch. It
lies between the Torlesse and Craigieburn mountain
ranges and is characterised by its distinctive limestone
rock formations. These limestone rock formations are
the water eroded remnants of limestone formed during
the Oligocene age 30-40 million years ago when much
of present day New Zealand was covered by the sea.
The area is of special cultural,
spiritual and historical significance to Ngai Tahu
who named it Kura Tawhiti (treasure from afar).
Hidden amongst the limestone outcrops of Castle
Hill are traces
of 500-year old charcoal drawings traditionally
said to have been left by the Waitaha, the first
people to travel through
this area. In 1998 the Kura Tawhiti Conservation
Area was designated as Topuni to ensure that the
values Ngai Tahu place on this area are recognised,
acknowledged and respected.
To respect the special conservation and Topuni status of Kura Tawhiti, bikes, dogs and drones are NOT allowed in the Kura Tawhiti Reserve area
Castle Hill Village
Castle Hill Village is the
only settlement of any significant size in the Castle Hill area. Click here for more details about the village.