|Derelict film set for Kingdom Come set into the hillside behind Elephant Rocks|
This is the place I really want to see after finding images on the net but seeing it for real was something else. It’s impressive, in the same way that Stonehenge is, but of course these stones are natural not man-made and cover a much larger area. They are huge chunks of Otekaike limestone that have been wind and water eroded over millions of years to produce weird and wonderful shapes. Some are a little elephant-like, maybe because of the grey colour on the exposed rock but we also spot a tortoise, a duck, a frog, and a dinosaur or two.
Initially we’re here on our own and wander around for ages till others join us. Imagine having Stonehenge all to yourself on a beautiful sunny late afternoon. Just amazing!
The colony is small and there are a few people gathered up high on the cliff penguin spotting and sure enough we see 4 or 5 of this quite rare species jumping out of the sea and drying themselves off before settling down for the night at the back of the beach. Just as well we have binoculars though, the beach is a long way down.
We end up going out to eat fairly late and walk through town from the b&b following a footpath around the harbour. Almost there and we spot 3 little blue penguins waddling across the path. After dinner on our return we pass the same spot and hear loud snoring coming from underneath an old wooden shed beside the track. We can see where the penguins have hollowed beneath the shed to make a snug burrow. Didn’t know penguins snore and it sounds quite human.
|Sunrise over the Pacific|
Next morning I wake up early hoping to catch my first Pacific sunrise. It had been quite chilly going out at night but this morning the wind has changed direction and there’s a warm breeze from the north. We walk back to the harbour and right to the end of the long pier where there are a couple of fishermen and some photographers hoping to catch the sunrise. Back for a hearty breakfast then we wander back to the old stone warehouse street for the Farmer’s Market.
|Street of old warehouses where the Farmer's Market is set up|
After packing up the car we head for the Moeraki boulders, another of the famous landmarks of the area. They’re a short drive south, scattered in groups or individually on the beach. They are spherical in shape measuring 1-2 m in diameter. Some are still in the process of breaking out from the mudstone cliffs at the back of the beach. Very strange indeed. After a long walk along the beach we set off back to Christchurch.