Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Castle Hill Rocks

3 November
Castle Hill is south-west of Christchurch on the way to Arthur's Pass in the Southern Alps. We managed to leave our lunch behind in Christchurch so stopped in Springfield to stock up before going on to Castle Hill which is about an hour and a half from Christchurch I guess. The huge grey boulders cover a large area, are set on beautiful bright green grass and have the snow capped peaks of the Alps for a backdrop. They are water eroded remnants of limestone formed when much of New Zealand was covered by the sea and you can clearly see the channels and basins carved by water, millions of years ago. They are very impressive and have been used for filming some Narnia scenes, also regularly used by climbers. We spent the afternoon wandering around, climbing up to the highest point then round to the back where an area is fenced off to protect rare plants.

After a good walk round we drove a bit further and stopped at the Cave Stream. This is a limestone cavern with a stream flowing through it and it's possible to wade through the length of it if you don't mind walking in pitch darkness up to your waist in ice-cold water. The image below is the entrance to the cave. I don't plan to get any closer but Mike's planning a work trip there so I guess he'll be giving it a go sometime soon . . .

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