This spectacular landscape of high, eroded, remarkable “badland” outcrops will encourage you to wonder how this landscape was formed.
Be humbled as you discover these astounding natural land forms where sharp pinnacles and ridges are divided by steep and narrow ravines.
The Clay Cliffs were first formed as gravels, sand and silt, in fresh waters. The sediments, which were deposited from around 20 million years ago, were buried and compressed, then uplifted and eroded. The finer-grained lower strata represent lakes, while the upper section contains ancient river gravels. These river gravels probably eroded off the rising Southern Alps. The Clay Cliffs were uplifted and tilted by the active Ostler Fault.
The cliffs are on private land. There's a donation box at the gateway ($5/vehicle).
Visitors must follow the management directive displayed on the Visitor Information hazard and safety sign at this site.
Note: There are no bathroom facilities at this site and the access road can sometimes be affected by scouring following heavy rain. The trail around the Clay Cliffs area is not suitable for people with mobility issues.
Latitude: -44:29:20.087 Longitude: 169:52:08.271
Scenic views & Photo opportunities
The physical address is Henburn Road, Omarama. The cliffs are on private land, there is an honesty box at the gate where you can pay an entry fee of $5 per car. Please respect the land you visit.
The easy hiking trail takes you right into the slot canyon and after a short stroll you are right inside the cliffs.
To get to the cliffs, head north from Omarama for 3km on SH8, turn left onto Quailburn Rd, and then turn left after 3km onto unsealed Henburn Rd (the route is well signposted). Once parked you will have to walk alongside the dirt path for 15 minutes.