Elephant Rocks

Waitaki District

The Elephant Rocks

This is a great place for anybody to explore. Pristine green grass farmland with amazing limestone rock formation sticking out of the ground all over the place. I've been here in the mid-day sun, snowy winter and for autumn sunsets, it really is great any time of the year. There are heaps of great rock climbing spots and places for a picnic. Back in 2005 they also filmed Aslan's camp from the Chronicles of Narnia here, if you know where to look you might just find some of the old set still out and about.


From Oamaru, it's a 35 minute drive along a very fun country road. Take the Weston Rd inland and then in Weston take the left onto Weston-Ngapara Rd. Follow this for about half an hour and you will see the sign and probably a few cars parked up on the side of the road. This is what your after. Its about a 2 minute walk over to the rocks. Sheep will probably be present.

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Rocks, rocks and more rocks

It was mid autumn, we were having a family day visiting the annual Oamaru brick show (LEGO show). Even after having lunch at the Steampunk playground we still had quite a bit of daylight left. What better thing to do than to drive out and see the Elephant Rocks. After a couple of wrong turns and some windy picturesque roads, we made it to the parking lot, or more just a patch of gravel on the side of a road.

Unbeknown to me at the time, we had actually passed an imaginary line into South Canterbury. Since when did Canterbury have land on the South side of the Waitaki River? Who would know. We slid through the gate into a paddock filled with sheep that didn't seem to bother that we were there. They just looked at us for a bit and went back to munching their grass. It only took about a minute till we were standing at the rim of a limestone ledge with a large green field with massive boulders scattered throughout just waiting for us to explore.

About 5 minutes into the exploration of the surreal landscape, my 4 year old son had climbed on top of a cool looking rock, then something startling happened, he yelled "I'm going to jump". As our natural parent instincts kicked into high gear, we both yelled "No, don't". But it was too late, he was launching himself off a rock that was 4 times his height. He landed on his feet on some very uneven ground with a worried look on his face as he realized it was further than he thought. Then the look of pain, he had landed and rocked his ankle to the side, no tears, just a limped walk over to us with a worried look on his face. He didn't jump off anymore rocks this day.

For the next hour or so we meandered through the fortress of obelisks and took heaps of family portraits pretending to hold up some of the rocks. We watched the sunset and took off home. What a great day.

Sunup, Sundown - Stu