The Chicken Drumstick Rock at Castle Hill

Just down the road from Cave Stream ( is Castle Hill. I took some black and white photos back in January:

Olivia’s first visit here, and she decided this rock is a KFC chicken drumstick:


A hand with cut-off fingers maybe….

2013March28_CastleHill-1 2013March28_CastleHill-2 2013March28_CastleHill-3

2013March28_CastleHill-5 2013March28_CastleHill-8

View the full set of photos on my Flckr site:


Cave Stream

Cave Stream at Easter time. We just walked to the entrance since we didn’t have the gear to actually go through the 362 m cave walk.





Moeraki Boulders 2013

I wrote about Moeraki Boulders last year. You can read all about the boulders in Here are a few photos from our stop there during our Christmas holidays this year. We also had a look around the nearby Moeraki Village; one day I will stay the night there.

If the large boulders are around 60 million years old, I wonder how old this baby boulder is that I’m standing on?

2013January21_MoerakiBoulders_DianneOlivia_pixlr_Hagrid_clean 2013January21_MoerakiBoulders_Hayley_pixlr_hagrid_clean 2013January21_MoerakiBoulders_HayleyOlivia_pixlr_hagrid_clean 2013January21_MoerakiBoulders_Olivia_pixlr_hagrid_clean


Kura Tawhiti (Castle Hill)

After experiencing the horizontal rain in Arthur’s Pass and Otira on New Year’s Day (subsequently the road was shut the following day), we stopped off for a quick visit at Castle Hill on our way home; it was sunny and 26 °C.

The grand limestone rock battlements of Kura Tawhiti led early European travellers to name this area Castle Hill because of the imposing array of limestone boulders in the area reminiscent of an old, run-down stone castle. 

The two main areas are Kura Tawhiti and Flock Hill. Both areas are very popular area for rock climbers, and nearby Flock Hill has been used for filming battle scenes in the film, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

The front of the Christchurch Cathedral (badly damaged by the earthquake) was made from Castle Hill limestone.

In 2002, the Dalai Lama named it a “Spiritual Centre of the Universe”.

Like looking up at the clouds and making out shapes, it’s also interesting working out what shapes the rocks look like…







Moeraki Boulders or Eel Baskets

When my daughters saw these rocks and asked me where they came from, I suggested that maybe aliens planted them there. They didn’t believe me. However, Maori legend has it that the boulders are the remains of eel baskets, calabashes, and kumera washed ashore from the wreck of a large sailing canoe (Āraiteuru) that was wrecked at nearby Shag Point (Matakaea).

Some 60 million years ago, the Moeraki boulders on the Otago coastline of New Zealand started forming on the ocean floor. Centuries of coastline erosion have revealed a spectacular view of these curiously large spherical boulders.

The largest boulders are as big as 3 metres in diameter and weigh several tons. It is estimated that they have taken 4 to 5.5 million years to grow. The boulders consist of mud, fine silt, and clay, and cemented by calcite. The degree of cementation varies from being relatively weak within the interior of a boulder to quite hard within its outside rim.

Shutter speed 1/100.  ISO 400

Shutter speed 1/1400. ISO 400

Shutter speed 1/640. F-stop f/5.6. ISO 100

This next photo shows large cracks known as septaria formed in the boulders. Brown calcite, yellow calcite, and small amounts of dolomite and quartz progressively filled these cracks when a drop in sea level allowed fresh groundwater to flow through the mudstone enclosing them. This particular large boulder has split over time revealing its inside.

Shutter speed 1/80. ISO 400

Shutter speed 1/500. ISO 100

Shutter speed 1/680. ISO 400

Shutter speed 1/750. ISO 100

Shutter speed 1/500. ISO 100