Tucked away in the Waipara Valley, Canterbury, is one of New Zealand's most exquisite nature parks.
The luxurious Claremont Country Estate offers complimentary four wheel drive land rover estate tours to guests who stay 3 nights or more. For guests who stay one night, a tariff applies.
The tour begins with some history on New Zealand deer and sheep farming, before taking in some of the amazing geological features in the Waipara Valley.
Some of the highlights include seeing a 300ft limestone escarpment, 65 million year old "God's marbles" which are similar-looking to Moeraki boulders, KT Boundary – evidence of how the dinosaurs disappeared after a meteor impacted on earth some 65 million years ago and a walk through to "White Gorge" where many fossils can be found.
The gigantic 45m high "Bishop's Head", a natural rock sculpture will leave a lasting impression.
The tour includes opportunities to walk beside the River exploring "God's marbles" and seeing the fossils up close.
Host, Robert Brown, gives a superb, informative commentary for guests. Robert's delightful English setter dog, Lulu, enjoys escorting people along the river walk.
We spotted some rare native clematis in flower.
Some 138 marine dinosaurs have been found on this land over the last 100 years including the remains of the world's tallest, oldest penguin – "Waimanu" which has been dated back to being some 60 million years old and around two metres in height.
As we finished our tour it was time for pre-dinner canapés and drinks.
Sitting outside under the pergola in the late afternoon sun with gracious hosts Robert and Dorothy seemed the perfect way to finish a wonderful day.
- Claremont Country Estate is located some 45 mins drive from Christchurch
- There are opportunities for walking/cycling
- For information on accommodation: www.claremont-estate.com
All Photos Copyright of Catherine Stewart ©2012