On my trip to Queenstown last year I made a special stop on the way home to the famous Clay Cliffs in Omarama. They are so big you can see them from the highway which is a few kilometers away and they are quite spectacular even at that distance.
It was a lot further to get to them than I expected, as you have to go across the basin and south a bit til you hit a farm gate. These are on private land but the farmer allows access (he has a collection box as well). The cliffs are formed from water shaping the clay and as the road started to climb up a bit you could see evidence of storm runoff that had made some rather scary pot holes, but the trusty Toyota managed to shimmy through around the edges safely 🙂
There is a decent sized carpark and a sign that says 4WD only beyond this point. When I got there an idiot with a Suzuki had decided that even tho there was a large and deep gully, he was going to cross it. Apparently he had, but got stuck getting back and a crowd had formed, watching his mates chuck stones in under the wheel that was spinning in mid air. Making sure I had a safe path I jumped my way across the bits of gully til I got to the path and climbed up til I was greeted with the view above which was just stunning.
I kept walking up the path but got distracted by a big clump of wild rosehips and spent some time trying to capture them in the foreground of the cliffs.
It was a surprisingly hot day and I had to be in CHCH by a certain time to collect the cat from the cattery so didn’t stay for long. You can walk right up and into some paths in the cliffs, it feels a lot like a scene from LOTR I have been told. Will go back again when I have more time and try to climb up to the top if it is possible 🙂
On the way back down to the carpack I had a completely different image presented to me, the flat plain of the basin with the hills on the other side all snow capped and stunning blue sky
It gets really hot here in summer, in fact it is the gliding capital of the country, as the wide flat plain generates lots of thermals and they have gliding competitions and you can be taken up for a ride. I imagine the view from the sky is amazing!