On our drive from Christchurch to Wanaka we passed a sign pointing toward the Clay Cliffs near the town of Omarama. We wrote a note to ourselves to remember them as a possible stopping point on our return drive. A week later the weather was overcast but not raining, so we decided to stop and stretch our legs here, and it turned out to be a fun hike.
The cliffs are on private land, and on the way in we had to open (and close) two livestock fences.
Through the pasture area we enjoyed some nice views of the river including the early fall color of yellow leaves and bright red wild rose hips.
Shortly after the second fence we got our first views of the cliffs, then a parking area for all but the most intrepid 4-wheel drive vehicles.
A 10 minute walk up the hill lead us to the base of the cliffs, and from there trails that lead into the canyons. The cliffs are quite crumbly, with lots of texture and colors between the clay and stone. It was great that you can walk in them and explore.
On the way back we also stopped in Twizel which was bigger than expected and might be a good launching point for exploring around Mt. Cook on future trips with supermarkets, gas, lodgings, etc.
I asked Leandra to stop at the Mt Cook visitor’s center so I could get a few shots and she took advantage by buying herself some salmon sashimi for lunch.
Fresh salmon with a gorgeous view…
Another pit-stop on the way back, the insanely blue-green Tekapo Canal.
We also stopped in Geraldine, this time at the The Plum Cafe for pastries. Leandra choose a port wine truffle, while I went for the nut and fruit chocolate bar (which was a little heavy on the orange zest for me). A few hours later we made it through Christchurch rush hour traffic to our hotel and our last night on the South Island.