Sunday, November 30, 2014

East Coast Adventure: Oamaru Surrounds

For the final entry of Erin and Cole's East Coast Adventures, allow us to share with you some of the fantastic geologic wonders of NZ.

Let's start with the Elephant Rocks.  This is a large paddock full of big boulders that could kind of look like elephants if you squint.

Regardless of their likeness to actual elephants, the area was really fun to climb around on, and the views were as magnificent as any we've all come to expect from New Zealand.

For scale, that is Erin back there on that rock in the middle.

 Here's a closer look:
We ended up with a really beautiful day to explore the area.

Like a kid in a candy store.

This one doesn't look like an elephant even if you squint, but I'm still a fan.

After soaking it in thoroughly, we decided to move along to explore more of the  'Earthquakes' region, just inland from the Oamaru area.  I'm not sure if  Elephant rocks is considered a part of the Earthquakes or if they are officially two separate natural wonders, but they are relatively close to eachother.  Either way, the Earthquakes area is known for significant geologic 
wonders, including some whale fossils and some Maori cliff paintings:

We had to walk through this canyon to look at some whale fossils....  or I should say we walked through this canyon after looking at some whale fossils and just kept walking. Erin was not happy with my 'trespassing' at first, but it was such a nice walk, she soon forgot all about 'laws' and such.

This little canyon was tricky because just off the edges of the path (sheep trails) there would be holes big enough to fall into and never be seen again. Well, maybe not quite that big, but big enough to hurt yourself. There was a pretty abrupt gorge off to the right of this picture, so I think all the holes were wash-outs that connected to that. Luckily we didn't fall in any of them, and got to enjoy our walk without injury.

Here's one of the whale fossils. We actually stopped to look at two different ones in separate locations. This one is from the second location where we once again trespassed. I will admit that this second one was a bit more of an actual trespass. The land-owners for all of these sites are very cool and allow people to respectfully come on their property to view these points of interest. There are small signs that guide you to the wonders, but I missed the fact that the sign for this whale meant it was just right off the road, and thought I was supposed to drive way down by this guy's house, past his barn, and down into his field, just to come up to the fossil from the other side. But it was all good. no harm, no foul.

Then it was on to go find some cave painting type stuff. Turns out, most of them have been removed and taken to museums, but there are a few around still. I think the sunset lighting up this cliff was probably the most impressive cliff painting at this particular location.

You'll have to squint again.  But, if you look closely, you can see what appears to be a 'white man's' ship at that bottom of the photo. So this was likely late 1700s?  The top of the picture has what appears to be a circus performer standing on the back of a horse. Just squint, you'll see it.

As you can see, this series of paintings is a lot more red, and isn't in great condition. I think the strip along the bottom was just a decorative scroll-work band. The big red thing on the upper left is what can only be called an alien face.

And speaking of aliens:
Moeraki Boulders was one of the last stops for our trip. We swung by these guys on our way back to Southland. We also cut through the Catlins for a look at the Nuggets, but you've all seen that enough times by now.
Back to these boulders:
They are the strangest things. There are a lot of them. Just  big round rocks sitting at the edge of the ocean. 
There are many theories for how they got here or what they are. 
My theory is that they are giant prehistoric sea turtle eggs from a nest up on the shore in the hill behind, and they have now fossilized and spilled out onto the shore.
Tell me that's not an egg of some kind....

Aliens also get a lot of credit for their existence.  As does Mother Nature. 

I guess it will remain a mystery (since I don't remember what the official answer was). Oh well. They're neat.

And they make for some fun photos:

And that concludes Erin's visit and our East Coast Adventures!

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