Last Updated: 26th Apr 2024


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Puketapu Hill Loop

Sir John MacKenzie memorial loop

Palmerston lookout

Palmerston, Otago

Submitted by Delphine Touzouli

Last Updated: 26th Apr 2024


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Grunt Factor: 10 ?

Gnarl Factor: 22 ?







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Trail Map

Type of Run

Front country - easily accessible


Undulating, small hills only

Open farmlands

Open tussock/grasslands

Open ridges/tops

Run Makeup


Sealed Road

Gravel Road

Farm Road / 4WD Track

Easy Single Track

Moderate Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +15.7%

Average Downhill Gradient: -15.1%


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Estimated Times to Run







Puketapu hill is also called Sir MacKenzie memorial. It is a short loop but worth climb to the top to enjoy the view.

Start point is in front of the Waihemo lodge and cross the railway to get to Auskerry Street and turn right on Stour Street. This gravel road leads to the Palmerston lookout parking. You climb the stairs to get to the sheep fields and follow the track.

Another stairs to pass under the trees to get off the sheep fields and you will reach the beginning of the loop where there is a water reservoir. You can take the track on the left,  easy to see and this leads you on the back of the hill. The climb gives you a nice reward. The view on the top gives you a 360° over Palmerston. Then, follow the track on your right . The grass is quite high, but you will find the path looking carefully where people walked/run.

When you are down the hill, follow the fence until you reach the water reservoir and take the same path as you did in the middle of the sheep.

This trail includes the peak Puketapu.

The view from the Puketapu hill at 360° and the memorial tower. This memorial to Sir John McKenzie, the minister of lands in the Liberal government of the 1890s, was put up in 1929 on Puketapu, just south of Palmerston in Otago. McKenzie had worked there soon after his arrival from the Scottish Highlands in 1860, and subsequently bought his first farm in the area. He won fame and the affection of many small farmers for his efforts in unlocking both the large estates and Māori land. Soon after McKenzie died, two memorials were erected to his name. One was a cairn on top of Pukehiwitahi, overlooking his first farm, and the second was at Cheviot in North Canterbury, recognising his role in breaking up 'Ready Money' Robinson's large Cheviot Hills estate. The cairn collapsed and the memorial on Puketapu was initiated by Sir Joseph Ward as a replacement. 

If you know of any public toilets near the trail start or on the route, please login and then let us know so we can update this section.

There is a parking in front the lodge or you can also reach the Palmerston lookout parking by taking the gravel road.




Follow the flattened grass to be sure to be on the track.

Generally good.

Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map

Only on the start.

Closed from September to November.
Might be muddy when wet.

Waihemo Lodge Hotel
13 Runbrake Street, Palmerston 9430, Nouvelle-Zélande
Had a really good burger

Trail Legend

Steve Beatson

Steve Beatson

has completed Puketapu Hill Loop once in the last year.

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