the clay cliffs | south island, new zealand

nick & i were traveling together, living out of our car in new zealand.
one morning we were driving with no map & no destination on winding dirt roads, through farmlands, sloping hillsides & corridors of lupine taller than me.

the road narrowed, eventually leading to an abandoned horse barn & cabin at the end of the road.
an old stream lined with wildflowers runs through the property.
i love the fascination of abandoned places, fragments, evidence of the past.

a weathered highway sign advertising ‘the clay cliffs’ intrigued us & we found our way there.
it was lightly raining & through the blurry raindrops on the windshield, it looked like a giant sandcastle fortress, a landscape maybe from another planet.

we had a picnic on a log in the parking lot before climbing up the steep path up to the giant rock formation.

the clay cliffs are incredible, otherwordly.
layers upon layers of ancient silt & stone, sculpted by glacial flow two million years ago, jutting straight out of the earth.

they sit on top of a hill, looking out over a vast expanse.
their orange color stands out vividly against the green forest surrounding it.

we followed a path to the top, until there was no path anymore.
we kept climbing a steep, slippery incline, on a crevice made of silt & gravel, slipping sometimes & hoping for the best, kind of regretting how high we had climbed.

the rocks have formed bizarre & intricate patterns.
it was so wild, standing in the middle of it all, admiring every little rock making up the larger whole.. eyes tracing the paths carved into the stone by the elements through the years.

the cliffs feel equally delicate & strong, enduring through time.

you can stay as long as you want, free to wander & soak up this incredible giant sandcastle landscape.

cost : $5 per car in an honesty box | 
location : near omarama, new zealand
a perfect stop on the way from mt cook > wanaka, or mt. cook > omaru ]

♥ chelsea
g: @chelseadonoho


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