Fossil Walk in the Waipara River

Two weeks ago, one of the dads in our homeschool group led a walk up the gorge of the Waipara River, to look for fossils. There are a lot of fossils in the rocks there, and they wash out in floods. He has an extensive collection of fossils, and has found some pretty interesting animals—one was even named after him!

We started with a picnic in the river bed. After everyone was done eating, we started walking. The first thing we did was cross the river in a place that was about a foot deep, then walked through a very rocky area. For a ways, we walked in the river, where it was only a few inches deep, then walked on the rocks again, then on a grassy area. Eventually, we came out at the base of a cliff littered with concretions, enormous round rocks. They are at all levels of the cliff, and as the cliff face erodes, they come down. Thankfully, none came down while we were there! Our leader didn’t allow the boys to climb as high as they wanted to, for their own safety. We only saw a few fossils, but had a beautiful walk with good friends!


The man in front center of this picture, wearing a backpack and gumboots, was our leader.


That tiny white object my finger is pointing to is a shark’s tooth!


In the one area we walked through, there were a lot of these shattered rocks.


This was a vertebrae from a marine reptile.


My Mr. Diligence found this greensand, a type of sandstone.


That’s my Mr. Handyman in the middle, helping carry one of the little children.


The first concretion I found. I sat on it to feed my baby, and the wife of our leader commented that she had sat there to feed her baby several years before!


The boys all had fun climbing up and sliding down this cliff!


One of the concretions, ready to come down (it was probably 50-100 feet above us).


Another fossil vertebrae.


More concretions.


Mr. Imagination on a concretion in the river.


This picture is for my Mom. I thought of you, Mom, when I saw this very unusual thistle here and there along our walk.


Mr. Handyman on a concretion!


The scenery along our drive was spectacular, too! Also, notice how dry everything is. We have only gotten about an inch of rain since New Year’s.

Yes, one place the road was really this steep!IMG_0499IMG_0504IMG_0508IMG_0537IMG_0538IMG_0545IMG_0549IMG_0554IMG_0557


About NZ Filbruns

A home-school family living in New Zealand, with a desire to share what Christ has done for us.
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2 Responses to Fossil Walk in the Waipara River

  1. Ian Johnson says:

    Looks like you had a fab day. Any chance you could share directions on how to get to this location please. My kids love fossil hunting. Have you tried Matanau beach? There are fossilised crabs there- we have found 2 nice ones. Haumauri bluffs are also excellent for Belamnites- quite a tough location to get to though.

    • NZ Filbruns says:

      Sorry, I’m not sure I can. We followed other people. I know we drove out the road that goes inland from Waipara Hills Winery, off Highway 1 between Amberley and Waipara, and went a long ways. This was the Waipara Gorge; maybe you can find that on Google Maps.

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