FolkestoneJack's Tracks

The Karitane Peninsula

Posted in New Zealand by folkestonejack on January 4, 2016

After leaving Moeraki behind we continued on our drive south, before taking a turning off State Highway 1 around 35km out from Dunedin. This put us on to Coast Road, a wonderfully scenic stretch of road that follows the line of the coast through Karitane, Seacliff, Omimi and Warrington before connecting back onto State Highway 1). As well as offering some great views out to the Pacific Ocean it also crosses the South Island Main Trunk Railway in eight places.

Karitane and the Waikouaiti River

Karitane and the Waikouaiti River

The idea behind this detour was to see the old man and old woman rocks at Karitane, partly prompted by seeing so many paintings of these at an exhibition in Oamaru. However, there was much more to be seen on the peninsula than just these large pinnacle rocks and being a little off the normal tourist trail I had no idea just how beautiful this would prove to be when we got out of the car to explore.

The historic site of Huriawa sits on a promontory overlooking the small fishing port of Karitane at the mouth of the Waikouaiti River. On this site the fighting chief Te Wera and the people in his pā (a defensive settlement) withstood a six month siege in the mid-eighteenth century. In its day it was regarded as one of the most impressive fortified settlements on the South Island.

In 1998 the Crown returned the reserve to the ownership of Te Rūnanga o Ngai Tahu as part of the Treaty of Waitangi settlement. The site is now jointly managed by the Ngai Tahu and the Department for Conservation.

The rocky promontory at Huriawa

The rocky promontory at Huriawa

Huriawa is a quite beautiful and well maintained site, including some stunning views towards Karitane and the Waikouaiti River, two blowholes where the incoming tide is forced up through the rocks and some very dramatic rocky cliffs. To say that I was delighted by this unexpected find would be quite some understatement. It is a lesson that taught me that guide books, with their prescriptive lists of what is worth seeing, sometimes have the unintentional effect of blinding you to so much more!


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