New Zealand, South Island, Otago coast (Moeraki+Katiki+Dunedin)

From Christchurch we headed south into the Otago Region along the coast making stops at the Moeraki Boulders, Katiki Point Historic Reserve and the city of Dunedin. I will apologize now for the excessive number of photos of boulders. I admit I was obsessed and took hundreds of photos from every conceivable angle. Consider yourselves lucky that I’m only posting a handful.

Moeraki Boulders

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View on waking up on the second morning in New Zealand

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Not a bad spot for some freedom camping

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In search of dinosaur eggs

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Distracted by the sunrise

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Found them! The Moeraki Boulders are large spherical boulders of concretions washed out of the mudstone by coastal erosion. Concretions are formed when mineral deposits in water around a nucleus, often organic in nature such as a leaf or shell. They are pretty much geological curiosities that have taken millions of years to grow (Moeraki Boulders are from the Paleocene Epoch). They are also eerily cool, especially in the first morning light.

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It’s easy to imagine that we have come across a nest of dinosaur eggs.

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For a perspective on the size of the boulders

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The Moeraki Boulders are a special type of concretions called septarian concretions due to their angular cavities. Here are my peeps checking out one of those cavities.

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Sitting here since before mankind

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Another cluster of boulders

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My baby dinosaur hatching out

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The cracks are a characteristic of septarian concretions. This one reminds me of a green turtle.

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A look at the insides of the boulders

 

Katiki Point Historic Reserve

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Katiki Point Historic Reserve is famous for its incredible coastal views and its resident penguins and fur seals.

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Just a ten minute walk from the entrance will bring you to the point where gorgeous vistas and the resident colony of fur seals awaits.

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Here’s one of the residents

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I’m sure this one wanted me to scratch his belly but Marc was adamant that I not go near it. Tempting isn’t it?

 

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Searching for penguins. Sadly it was too early in the day and they were all out fishing.

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The countryside around Katiki Point

 

Dunedin

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Otago Harbour and the surrounding countryside around the city of Dunedin

 

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Here are the two reasons for our stop in Dunedin:) We were fortunate to have an old friend and a new friend play host and tour guide for us. Other than showing us incredible views of Dunedin they also took us to see glowworms! It was incredible to see them start glowing as the light of the day faded. Unfortunately my photography abilities just wasn’t good enough to capture their magic.

 

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Otago Harbour on the left and Dunedin on the right as the sun is setting

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New Zealand, South Island, Christchurch

New Zealand: a country where the people share a name with a bird and a fruit and every bend in the road leads to a one lane bridge and spectacular landscapes. This first post on our journey through New Zealand comes at an interesting time. As I write this, New Zealand is in the news. Those memorable landscapes we drove through are now forever changed by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that took place three days ago. It resulted in a lift of the seabed by almost two metres and a mind-boggling 100,000 landslides.

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Landslide covering a highway that we once drove. Image source: NZ Defence Force

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Seabed that has lifted. Image source: National Business Review (photo via Mark Enlin)

As I read the stories and see the images coming through the Internet, I think of driving on the roads and the highways that are now torn apart or covered up. As I read that the famous seal breeding ground at Ohau Point has been destroyed by the the earthquake, I think of visiting the baby seals there. It is one of our fondest memories from New Zealand. More than ever, I am grateful that we had an opportunity to travel through this incredible country. And now I get to share it with you.

Our journey began in this sweet ride…

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So we upgraded from the campervan in Australia to this swanky camper for our New Zealand escapades. It was so comfortable that we briefly contemplated selling our belongings and living in it for good. 

 

We set out from Christchurch with an ambitious itinerary for the next three weeks. The plan was to head south from Christchurch, make a stop in Dunedin to see a friend and then cut across to Queenstown and Wanaka before going back up north through the West Coast then over and around to Kaikoura. We would then take the ferry over to Wellington and move through the North Island stopping in Rotorua, Matamata, and finally ending in Auckland. Not only did we manage to do all this but we ended up adding a couple of days in the Coromandel. Ready to hear all about it?

Well, here’s Christchurch and day one of our Kiwi journey.

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View outside our camper on the first morning. Travelling by camper allowed us to wake up to scenes like this one. 

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And this one

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Typical New Zealand scene: bird, water and mountain

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One of many murals found throughout the city of Christchurch

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Many buildings that were damaged in the 2011 earthquake still stand unrepaired. 

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While in the city we managed to fit in a game of chess…

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climb a tree at the Christchurch Botanic Gardens…

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and smell a very large flower.