Thursday, January 30, 2014

Tunnel Beach

We took another trip to Dunedin not too long ago to visit our friends Martin and Linda.  Martin helped train us when we first arrived in New Zealand, and helped us get used to the new system.  They always find cool stuff to show us whenever we make it up that way. 

We went downtown to check out the farmers market at the Dunedin Railway Station.  Large towers gave it a classic look.  There were bagpipers and hippies around playing all sorts of music.  It was a fun morning.

The market was hectic, lots of vendors with lots of fresh produce.  Too bad we were several hours from home and had a full day in Dunedin still or we would have stocked up!

You could see the Cadbury chocolate factory from the train station, home of the "infamous" chocolate waterfalls. Apparently they are less than thrilling, we won't be paying for the tour.  :)  Their chocolate is tasty though...

Just down the street was an old prison.  Even there jail looks fancy.

After a little time in the city we went down to Tunnel Beach.  It was a long steep hike down the hill to get there, I'm sure it was over a mile down. Felt good going down, but we knew we were going to pay for it coming back out.  The view was great from up high, grass covered sheer cliff formations.

The main "tunnel" of Tunnel Beach.  There are people out there walking on it to give you scale.  The waves broke through the tunnel constantly eroding it, the kelp liked the shallow water.

We walked out there and looking back you could see more of the formations.  The rock cleaved itself at perfect angles falling into the see.  I'm sure the geologists among us have an excellent explanation for this...  Kelp swirled in the inlets with squid-like tendrils. 

Was that why it was called Tunnel Beach or was this why?  From the upper level they had carved out a long stairwell to get to the lower beach.  Mildly claustrophobic, but don't worry you won't get lost, just follow Cole's shoes!

Stepping out on to the rocky shore was like another world with the high sheer cliffs.

The beach had several large boulders that had broken off the cliffs, no half buried jutting out of the sand.

Drainage from the grass above stained the sides of the rocks as it dripped to the sea leaving green and copper streaks.

Like always, the weather fluctuated, when the wind kicked up the surf became powerful.

This is what the "main" tunnel beach rock looked like from the lower beach.  Like some great sarcophagus... 
If you look closely you can see the tide wearing away the base of the rock undermining it, eventually I'm sure it will fall like many of the others.

Back up the staircase to greener pastures!

A literal light at the end of the tunnel... man I'm on fire!

Back on top it is just a grassy knoll, you'd have no idea you were standing on an overhang unless somebody was looking form a distance.

Way out at the very end you could look down at the waves, steadily coming in.  There was something just below the surface causing little whirlpools and vortexes as the waves would go by.  It was very peaceful to sit and watch.

There were flowers coming out of moss where we were sitting.  I swear stuff can grow anywhere here...

There's the Howells and Rebecca enjoying the view...

Little did they know what Cole and I were up to.  We found some hand holds heading down the cliff edge.  Cole climbed down towards the water...  Don't worry, I was there to document whatever was going to happen...  He came up without a scratch.

One last look at the relentless waves pounding the rocks before the long, steep hike back to the car.  I wonder how long it will be before this wonder is completely eroded...

The slow march out was such a grind.  Steep and just didn't stop all the way up.  Half way up though we were greeted by a yellowhammer bird resting on a fence post, encouraging us forward....

We made it...  :)

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