41. The Southland Syncline

The Southland Syncline is a block of land that used to be joined up with the land that Nelson sits on, so many of the same rocks can be found in both places, as in the Longwood Range. It’s also true for fossils; the same Triassic fossils that are found near Nelson can be found in the Southland Syncline.

The Southland Syncline butts up against the schist rocks of Otago and this is typical for New Zealand where land from two completely different origins and times are now sitting adjacent to one another.

The following photos are just a few of the sights we saw while following the Syncline, armed with the local Geological Map (Murihiku), and looking for fossils in the rocks.

A wind farm on North Range.
An old cottage, as best as we could tell likely once used for mustering.
Limestone near Castle Rock.
Castle Rock limestone quarry.
The Takitimu Mountain Range from different vantage points…
Deliciously clear water in the streams.
There’s a story here: if you see an official yellow AA sign saying ‘Cayford’s Track’ (not far from Dipton) think twice before believing it! We spent a good half hour looking for the trailhead then another couple of hours on the trail itself – it wasn’t actually a trail but rather a route through the bush, and sometimes not even that!! It was fun and games and I was glad I had taken a GPS reading back at the start when we were having trouble even finding the start of the track. Still, we had to push on in case we came across some fossil rock! We didn’t, but it was still good fun; we got right to the top of the hill – no view through the dense bush – and saw some nice trees, plants, berries and fungi.
This old shed was near the start of the trail before it led into dense bush.
Look at those bedding planes – very typical of the Hokonui Hills.
A fossil!
…and a butterfly.

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