Tuesday, August 6, 2019

A Walk at Shag Point

Shag Point is just a 15 minute drive from Moeraki, and on a sunny winter day we went to explore. It was luminous.

The NZ Department of Conservation describes Shag Point:
Shag Point/Matakaea has a rich history, from early Ngai Tahu settlement to historic coal mining. The area has diverse marine life. It has interesting flora, is great for wildlife viewing, and is geologically fascinating.

Matakaea is jointly managed by DOC and Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu. Matakaea has Topuni status. The mana (authority) and rangatiratanga (chieftainship) of Ngai Tahu over the area is recognised publicly by this status. Ngai Tahu takes an active role in managing the natural and cultural values of the area.

We headed south, South Pacific to our left/east.

Can you spot the fur seal? She surprised us with a yelp, letting us know she was there. Imagine hauling yourself all the way up that boat ramp to sit in the sun up here.

The Matakaea Reserve is exquisite, beckoning the visitor to pause.

But, as usual, we're here to walk.

At the lookout, fur seals basked on the sandstone/mudstone, looking like visitors to a sauna.

This is one odd-looking elasmosaur, the sign informing us it was the largest marine reptile of all time at about 36 feet long. I would not want to be walking (or swimming) behind it. A seven-metre marine reptile, a plesiosaur, was found here and is now part of the University of Otago fossil collection.


More fur seals

Way off in the distance is the Otago Peninsula, a glorious landform that juts into the ocean from Dunedin.

The rocky shore is lined with rimurapa (bull kelp). Just offshore are dense forests of giant bladder kelp, which are among the best examples of macrocystis in New Zealand.

On the return drive, we stopped for a walk on Katiki Beach.

And then we crossed the street from our campground for one more afternoon meal at Fleur's, this time sole, before she closed for two days and we are gone.

The Queen of Flat Whites bids you an optimistic day.

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