Day 182 on the Road
Discovering Fossils, Unusual Rock Formations and Maori Rock Art in the Waitaki Valley
In this video, we’re hitting the road through the Waitaki Valley following the Vanished World Trail! If you like this video and want more NZ bucket list inspiration, then jump over to our awesome YouTube Channel!
Today we’re going to discovering unusual rocks and fossils on the vanished world trail.
This is our last day in the Oamaru Backpackers so Laura and I take the time to embrace the beautiful view and the awesomeness of the hostel by grabbing a fancy breakfast on the balcony before heading on the road.
Alright guys so I don’t want to brag but I actually have found the actual best place in New Zealand. It’s a candy factory shop. Alright so if you want to be proper Kiwi right here you call it lollies that’s the word for candy in New Zealand and I leave the factory with 2kg of lollies. That’s pretty awesome but we have heaps to do today so first things so first up we are heading to the fossil museum.
The Vanished World Museum as it’s proper name is full of awesome artifacts that have been found in the Waitaki Valley which is the valley that we are exploring today.
One of the main attractions of this whole exhibition is this shark-teeth dolphin. I did not know that dolphin had teeth and in fact those things were actually as big as whales back in the days. the volunteer museum keeper is showing us heaps of little fossils that have been found around the Waitaki Valley and in fact he’s the one that found a lot of them because this entire museum came together when locals start gathering and making piles of collections of fossils that they’ve found in their own land.
What’s really awesome is the fact that most of these fossils are from sea creatures because New Zealand actually used to be submerged underwater before it was uplifted by activity on the Earth’s crust.
We also see a prehistoric penguin and before going into the Rock Room.
Dave then shows us the bone from moa bird which is an extinct species of bird from New Zealand which actually grew to 3.6 metres.
That was a really awesome insight into the Waitaki Valley but it’s now time for us to explore it ourselves so we head to our first stop.
Alright so we just left our campervan behind and now we’re making our way to some Maori rock art which are one of the main features along the fossil trail.
The Maori Rock Art is located on the Duntroon to Livingston Highway and it’s really easy to miss because there is not that many signposts to tell you it’s there so just look up for the pouwhenua which is the big maori carving that stands out of the flax on the side of the road.
Behind the fence that are here to protect those carvings that are of massive historical significance here in New Zealand we get to see a lot of early drawings from the very first settlers to New Zealand which were the Maori which came from the Pacific Islands.
The drawings are very simple we can see some sea animals we can see some people we can see some sheep that the early settlers arrived when those drawings were still done and they’re much simpler than what we are used to seeing in the current Maori carvings.
Next up on the vanished world on the Waitaki Valley we are heading to Elephant Rocks which are named because i guess they look like large elephants?
The Elephant Rocks are a collection of weathered limestone rocks that are spread out among this huge sheep field paddock. There’s not really much of a walking track to get around this place it’s sort of a free for all in this massive field where you have loads of really amazing photo opportunities.
Of course, we can’t help ourselves but climb a few of these really awesome rocks and there’s actually some people here as well doing bouldering so if you’re into that this is definitely a place to check out.
We also see a few sheep that are using the rocks for shade and a few of the cracks in the limestone have made the perfect little birds nests as well.
For all of you Narnia fans out there this Elephant Rocks is actually a filming location for the Chronicles of Narnia so this setting right here was at Aslan’s camp.
Thank you Laura, I’m pretty sure that all two of the world’s Narnia fans are going to be really happy to hear that.
The boulders of Elephant rocks are huge some goes as high as 10m which is really gigantic. it’s an amazing feature of nature and I really loved spending the time this afternoon exploring the area because there is just so much to see and I also really love the fact that there is no track right here so Laura and I just get to roam around freely and it’s really cool. Almost every single places we go to new Zealand we have to follow a path on this one it’s just here you go have fun and roam around.
After spotting a few more shapes of rocks like this guy hiding behind a rock we are hopping back onto the campervan and making our way toward Omarama Top 10 Holiday Park where we’re gonna be spending the night before tomorrow tackling one of the best bike rides in New Zealand, The Alps 2 Ocean.
I really encourage you guys to look it up. the Waitaki Valley is actually awesome and we’re even gonna put a link for you guys to the most bizarre sights of the area because we to write a guide of it because it is just so good.