Monday, November 16, 2009

Red Rocks, Wellington

For the second part of our bus trip we were heading to Red Rocks on the South Coast if it was fine (or Te Papa if it wasn't). Amazingly, in the midst of the all the **** weather we have had recently, the weather seemed to behave itself 'sort of' so we could explore the coast!

First up we had a talk from a Forest and Bird Marine person who had come down on her Saturday to a place she is passionate about: a marine reserve was created just over a year ago on part of this coastline, and she explained how it had come about and the rationale for it.

This coastline is quite wild- Cook Strait has a confluence of various currents, and the wind is able to whip through the gap between North and South Islands.
As someone who grew up near the coast (Waitara) and who now lives 'inland' in New Zealand terms, I was glad to have the chance to be near the sea.
And even more so I revelled, as there was a chance to see the waves doing some wild things in the wind!
The bus driver told us we were lucky it was a northerly. We might have got windblasted at times as the afternoon moved on, but he said if it was southerly we would also have been drenched and cold!
I didn't walk as far as where the seals were reported to be: in the time we had I preferred just to make it to Red Rocks and then to spend some time watching the wild waves!

There was a Visitor's Centre where there were displays explaining various aspects of the reserve, including how the rocks in just a small section came to be red, when most of the surrounding rocks were grey sedimentary greywacke. It seems that in the midst of the sedimentary layers under the sea millions of years ago, there was an extrusion of volcanic basalt. So some of the rock ended up having iron included in it, and some of this has oxidised to red...
I asked this Brit tourist to pose, so you could see some of the red rocks are quite large. She offered to take my photo, but I am certain you would rather see her!!!
So that was my Saturday: thanks to Forest and Bird for all the organisation that made this trip possible. I found both places fascinating, and will make my way back to the Karori Wildlife Centre before long for sure!


  1. I remember Red Rocks! Isn't there a sea lion colony there?
    Cool Brit chick, I must say!

  2. There is a bit of a seal colony a bit past them. I have been there before when seals were there. I never walked quite far enough to see them this time as we had limited time, but I gather there weren't many to see the day we visited anyhow.