Saturday, December 25, 2010

Hampden, NZ: Christmas Balls

Christmas Day was a day of fine weather, and our gift was a tailwind pushing us down the coast in the quiet of the early morning, while the rest of the world was home opening their presents.

South of Oamaru, the coast was sparsely developed and dominated by tussock.
In the small town of Hampden, there is not much more than a fish and chips shop and a convenience store.  And a quiet little campground steps from the beach.  It was recently purchased by a young Swiss couple who are doing renovations, but still retaining the family feel of the place.  We walked down the beach a couple of kilometers to visit some famous residents -- the Moeraki Boulders.

As we walked along the sand, the rocks became gradually bigger and more spherical, dislodged from the horizontal beds on the cliff above.

Some of the boulders reveal their core when rolled and cracked in the surf.

I am only in the picture for scale.

Some of these concretions have a web of calcite veins surrounding and bisecting them.

Some of the giant cue balls in the area where most visitors can access the beach from a nearby car park.

The boulders are best viewed two hours before and after low tide.

As boulders get claimed by the sea, others emerge from the cliff.

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