Ancient Clay Cliffs of Omarama

We wandered under the stunning ancient Clay Cliffs, near Omarama, in the Upper Waitaki River Basin, North Otago. Fantastic pinnacles and ravines, formed by natural erosion on the active Ostler Fault, laid down millions of years ago as ocean sediment.  There is a signposted road on State Highway 8, just north of Omarama, to access the Clay Cliffs.  There is an honesty box of $5 per car at the entry gate.

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Routeburn Track

The Routeburn Track is one of New Zealand’s nine Great Walks, a set of premier tramping tracks.  Straddling Fiordland National Park and Mt Aspiring National Park, the Routeburn’s highest point is 1300 metres and its lowest point is 477 metres.  There are  rivers, lakes, forests, tussocklands and alpine views  – wild and scenic landscapes in its 32 kilometres.  We set off from the Divide (near the Homer Tunnel on the Milford Road) and completed the track three days later at Glenorchy, at the northern end of Lake Wakatipu.

Day One – the Divide to Lake Mackenzie Lodge (12km)

Heading up to Key Summit, with a view of Mt Christina

Track to Key Summit

Leaving our packs on the track at the turn-off, we took a 30 minute walk up to Key Summit.

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Heathcote Valley from the Bridle Path – what has happened in 135 years?


Heathcote Valley from Bridle Path, about 1880 (on the left) and 2015 (on the right).  Click to enlarge

As a pre-Christmas trek,  we walked  the Bridle Path, from the Heathcote Valley over the Port Hills to Lyttelton.  On the way we passed an information board which reminded us of the challenges faced by the early European settlers who arrived in Christchurch in 1850.  The photo on the left, originally from the Canterbury Museum and taken about 1880, appears on the information board.

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