Valley of the Whales
Named after the discovery of whale and dolphin fossils found here in the Otekaike Limestone that form the cliffs of both sides of this valley. Inland from Duntroon and on the Vanished World Trail is the impressive Valley of the Whales. The underlying, thinner and older Kokoamu Greensand can be seen in places as can the Ototara Limestone. ...
The dikes seen here are basaltic in nature, and are one of the best inland exposures of igneous dikes in the Oamaru region and belong to the wider Waiareka Volcanic group. The quarry exposes several near-vertical dikes. Dikes are formed when volcanic activity pushes magma up through a crack or a weakness in the crust. This magma cuts across older material and cools in place as an igneous intrusion (i.e. it cools and ‘sets’ below the surface).
The Moeraki Peninsula wraps around towards the north creating a sheltered bay that the village of Moeraki occupies. The peninsula itself was formed by volcanic eruptions. From the lookout you get uninterrupted views of the surrounds.
A significant landscape feature that forms a flat ‘table-top’ made of Raki Siltstone. Above this tunnel lies a significant landscape feature that forms a flat ‘table-top’ made of Raki Siltstone. There is a fantastic place to view Rakis table from the intersection of Peaks and Conlans Road – safety first – this road is shared between cyclists and vehicle users – make sure you stand off the road. Raki Siltstone was deposited around mid-Eocene (approximately 42 million years ago) ...
Located in the North Otago village of Duntroon, Brewery Hole has both an interesting geological and historical story. Brewery Hole is an excellent example of karst topography where parts of the local limestone (Otekaike Limestone) have been dissolved away creating an underground drainage system consisting of sinkholes and caves. The local river – the Maerewhenua disappears into sinkholes and travels around 4.5 km underground - and this is what is visible at the sunken cave that is Brewery…
The Ohau Moraines are some of the most sensitive recorders of ice-age climate change in the Southern Hemisphere. Ohau Moraines are terminal moraines. Terminal moraines are a mix of a wide range of sediments and can include boulders, rocks, pebbles, sands and silts. The Ohau terminal moraine location records the extent of the last glaciation – approximately 18000 years ago.
The Waitaki braided river is characterised by gravel beds, numerous channels and variable flows, which are unique to parts of the world with young, rapidly eroding mountains. The upper part of the Waitaki Basin was formed thousands of years ago when glaciers retreated leaving behind beds of gravel and boulders. Ongoing geological uplift, erosion and alluvial transport continue to maintain the Waitaki braided river and associated wetlands. Only Alaska, Canada and the Himalayas have...
Wai O Toura
Wai O Toura - Gard’s Road Scenic Reserve is located in the Waitaki Valley between the Otiake River and Gard’s Road, 3 km NW of Otekaieke, North Otago, and is the first lowland scenic reserve in the Waitaki Valley. The reserve contains a limestone ridge and escarpment covered in exotic grassland and remnants of indigenous vegetation, including a range of nationally ‘threatened and at risk’ species such as Prostrate Kowhai, rare Native Cress and Mat Daisy. It is also home to a rare native ...
Intriguing find at Elephant Rocks
A curious visitor to the Elephant Rocks found this fascinating feature in the limestone and asked us whether this could be a shape of a jaw where some teeth used to be embedded? Our scientists went to find the answer: "Thanks for sending through a photo of your discovery at Elephant Rocks! You could be right – based on what we can tell from your photo, it looks like someone has used a chisel to remove some of the rock. It looks like someone either chiselled ,...
The Ahuriri area is widely recognised for its outstanding lanscape - mountains provide a snapshot of the Southern Alps, evidence of past glaciations and active faults in the landscape.
Walk amongst geological marvels, exposed by erosion of sedimentary rocks laid down 60 million years ago. Wander through the towering limestone rocks at Elephant Rocks. A geological wonder of the Waitaki, this unique scenery has featured in movies such as Narnia: the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. The Elephant Rocks area has many characteristic large hummocky or elephant-shaped limestone outcrops.
Clay Cliffs | Waitaki Whitestone Geopark
The Clay Cliffs were first formed as gravels, sand and silt, in fresh waters. The sediments, which were deposited about 4 million years ago, were buried and compacted, then uplifted and eroded. The finer-grained lower strata represent lakes, while the upper section includes ancient river gravels.
Walk amongst geological marvels, exposed by erosion of sedimentary rocks laid down 60 million years ago. Local Māori legends explain these strangely large and spherical boulders as the remains of eel baskets, calabashes, and kumara washed ashore from the wreck of Arai-te-uru, a large sailing canoe. The rocky shoals that extend seaward from Matakaea Shag Point are the petrified hull of this wreck and a nearby rocky headland is the body of the canoe's captain...