Ngarua Caves

In which the weather cries wolf and Miles heads west.

To view the full gallery of 25 pictures on imgur, click here.

All week the weather reports threatened rain.  Rain did not arrive.  Wet weather was predicted for the weekend, then it wasn’t, then it was again.  When the week ended without precipitation, I was in much more of a mood for a new adventure than for hiding indoors.  I filled the tank and headed west.

Kahurangi National Park is huge, and it wasn’t long before the road was climbing into its mountains.  I pulled over to enjoy the view several times, but the short walk to Hawks Lookout brought me to the best spot.

View from Hawkes Lookout
View from Hawkes Lookout

The clouds hung low over the mountains.  I had a few destinations in mind, but as the weather was looking ominous now, I stopped at Ngarua Caves at the top of Takaka Hill for something underground.

Takaka Hill is typical karst country.  The rock is mostly marble, and it has weathered into many strange shapes, sink holes, and caves.   There was once a marble quarry here.  Takaka Hill is 791 metres at its highest point and separates Golden Bay from Tasman Bay.

Karst landscape of Takaka Hill
Karst landscape of Takaka Hill

The gentleman who led the tour is president of a local camera club, and gave me some very helpful info on using my camera.  I was lucky enough to be part of a small tour group.

Entrance to Ngarua Caves
Entrance to Ngarua Caves

With the info given to me by our guide, I was able to take pictures in the caves without a flash.

Ngarua Caves
Ngarua Caves

The person who discovered the caves, and various visitors after, until the caves were protected, took souvenirs, wrote their names on the walls, and did other forms of damage to the caves.

Ngarua Caves
Ngarua Caves

Various animals fell into the caves over the centuries, including the now extinct Moa.

Moa bones
Moa bones

I’ll let you view the full gallery of 25 pictures on imgur (click here), and continue my journey west in my next post.

I first visited caves in New Zealand in Waitomo, in 2005.  They’re always interesting, and offer some cool rock formations.  I was left with the urge to revisit Carlsbad Caverns however, and I did so in December of that year, and confirmed my memories of something on a whole other level.  I’ll include one picture, below.

Carlsbad Caverns
Carlsbad Caverns

I have not however visited my last cave in New Zealand.

I had to leave the campsite I’ve been staying at because they have not been able to return the internet there to a usable state.  I’m at another campground in the area now, and I’ve discovered that here too they have the same company, The Internet Kiosk Specialist, deal with the vending of internet for them.  When I’ve seen this form of delivery in the past, it has frequently gone the same way – in addition to charging you, and giving you a small slip of paper with login details, the internet provided works poorly, if at all.  Where the internet works as it should, the proprietors usually deal with the ISP directly, and provide WiFi to customers for free.  IKS actually worked well in Collingwood for days, then went horribly, unusably wrong.  Tonight it is usable, but I’ve needed to shepherd it through the process of uploading images, frequently reconnecting and/or restarting uploads.  The campground in Richmond, where I’ve been at my most productive since arriving on the South Island, uses IKS, and I can only hope that things won’t be as problematic when I return there.  I’ve been forced to consider cutting my visit to this area short unless I can find WiFi that I can rely on.  Tonight I’m up late trying to finish this post.  My apologies if the next is delayed as well.  I’ll try to go back and add captions to the imgur gallery later.

2 thoughts on “Ngarua Caves”

Comments are closed.