“The grand limestone rock battlements of Kura Tawhiti led early European travellers to name this unique area Castle Hill. The area is rich in Maori history.”
The geology of the rocks at Kura Tāwhiti is tertiary limestone, mudstone, sandstone and tuffs. Limestone is formed from layers of organic sediment, deposited in deep oceans far from land. The layers are compressed into soft, soluble rock.
The area was once under a large, shallow inland sea that began to infill some 30 million years ago. Pressure over time caused extensive uplift and folding and faulting of the Torlesse and Craigieburn Ranges.
Thrust up from their origin, the limestone rock was eroded by water into these distinctive sculptured landforms, called a karst landscape.
Kura Tāwhiti Access Track:
Wander through majestic limestone rock formations of special significance to Ngāi Tahu. Follow an easy access track to the site. From here a network of unmarked but worn tracks go up and around large (up to 30 m high) limestone formations. These formations can be seen from the highway but their size is best appreciated up close.
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