30. The Road to Roxburgh

We stopped in Brighton, staying for a couple of nights as we enjoyed it so much – the beaches south of Dunedin continued to be gorgeous. It’s great having the flexibility to stop for as long or little as we like.
I’m still fascinated by the basalt peak, which we can see from Brighton beach – just. Kevin talked with more surfers who told him the basalt mountain has fast disappeared and it wasn’t that long ago when it was still a proper mountain. We both talked with a couple out walking who told us resource consent conditions meant the peak of the basalt mountain would never be removed; it can only be quarried downwards now.
Can’t get enough of this beach…lots of families out swimming, paddling and digging in the sand.
We often see different species of birds hanging out together – here are seagulls and oystercatchers. Oystercatchers – the black ones with orange beaks – pair up and stay within the same 100 metre stretch of beach for their whole lives.
This rock is schist – we climbed around on top of it, trying not to step on any plants.
Sea anemones, chitons and barnacles in and around this rock pool – the water so clear you wouldn’t know it was there if I didn’t tell you!
Seen this before? We repeated our walk in the late evening…
We had torches, and didn’t get back home until after dark.
We carried on along the coast to Taieri Mouth then over a huge hill to Lake Waihola. It would be fun to watch kids playing on this slide, set out in the Lake, and possibly have a go if the weather was hot enough.
We drove around to the other side of Lake Waihola where there’s a tiny jetty to walk along if you like tightrope walking!
A shot from the tiny jetty – raupo to the left, grass to the right, and Waihola township straight ahead on the other side of the lake.
We found the Sinclair Wetlands – a large block of land purchased in 1960 by Horrie Sinclair, who, instead of draining it and turning it into farmland, protected it as a wetland. These days Ngai Tahu and the local community are working together to nurture the wetlands and return them to their former glory, and new plantings are ongoing. The wetlands formed due to being downfaulted – as is typical with New Zealand, there are faults everywhere!
Further inland, along a steep gorge, we found the Waipori Falls which have got to be among the most underwhelming of waterfalls in New Zealand. It might have been spectacular if we could have seen it through the bush covering its gully, as it was coming down from a steep hillside. We did our best to see it, clambering down off the other side of the visitors platform to get closer, but could still only see the very bottom…although later walking back along the track we did spot the tiniest smidgeon exposed way up near its top. All the same, fun trying, and a lovely bush walk.
Waipori in English means dark water, and was given due to the staining of the water by peat further upstream.
A miniature waterfall, right by the carpark and walking track. We joked it was more spectacular than the Waipori Falls themselves.
Very close to the Waipori Falls lies one of four power stations along the Waipori River, first set up in 1907 to give power to Dunedin. The reservoir for the dams is Lake Mahinarangi which we would reach if we carried on driving through the gorge. We are very aware of the ground we are not covering between Taieri Mouth, Kaka Point and Lake Mahinarangi, but we turn back to drive to Roxburgh for a few days with family.

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