ABOUT OUR GEOPARK

Welcome to the Waitaki, formed under an ancient sea and built on the remains of prehistoric creatures from a vanished world. 

Straddling the 45th parallel South on the east coast of Te Waipounamu (the South Island) of Aotearoa (New Zealand), the geopark is bounded by mountains and sea, the remnants of fire and ice, and the powerful Waitaki River.

The park covers just over 7,200 square kilometres. At the heart of it all are spectacular areas of karst. Karst is landscape underlain by limestone which has been eroded by dissolution, producing ridges, towers, fissures, sinkholes and other characteristic landforms. 

 

The karst landscape and its ‘whitestone’ are integral to the identity of the Waitaki region. The first people to the area found shelter in limestone caves, leaving now-treasured rock art. Waitaki's largest town, Ōamaru, is renowned for fine limestone architecture. Today, the Vanished World Centre celebrates the wonderous fossils that emerge from the region’s whitestone. This is why our geopark is proudly named the Waitaki Whitestone Geopark.

Check out Amelia's introduction to the Waitaki Whitestone Geopark:

Waitaki Whitestone Geopark introduction

In 2018, Duntroon School entered an advertisement that they filmed for the Geopark in a popular nationwide competition, the 'Fair Go Kids Ad Awards'. And this is the winner of the Waitaki Whitestone Geopark Fair Go Kids Ad Awards competition!

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"What a fantastic window into the past. Today we saw fossil bones in limestone at two different sites. One set were whale bones. Just awesome that this trail has been put together, maintained and promoted."

— Mark Shipman, 

Vanished World visitor

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