Rocks 240 million years old – 7th stage of my walk along the Derwent River

Having left Otago Bay and now walking along the Derwent River edge of the East Derwent Highway, the green hills soon disappeared. I calculated that to have entered the Highway from Otago Bay Road and stayed on it would have cut half an hour off the walk, at least.  Once a little way north, I looked back to the river edge near the end of Murtons Road and reflected on the insanity of the path I chose. I like the photo below because I can see where I have just been at the water’s edge in the distance. In addition, I am seeing one side of Mount Wellington with the awareness that once I travel inland further, this will disappear from sight.

As I continued the walk, over the Highway was a wall of rock which continued for a while.

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When I spotted an interpretative sign installed on the rocks, I crossed the road to investigate.  The rocks and ground were teeming with Portuguese Millipedes crawling over the surface looking for a mate.  Rain encourages them to get on the move and, trust me, they were moving.  Thankfully they are completely harmless to humans.

I arrived at the sign at 12.15pm and was glad to be able to read some geological information that was related to the fauna which was living 240 million years ago. This was the time when the Paleozoic era was in transition to the Mesozoic era.  Dinosaurs were dominant in the later period, while in the earlier time, fish, insects, spiders and shells developed.  It seems that increasingly large water creatures were around at the time when these sandstone rocks were formed.

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Once walking along the river again, I stopped to admire the views in all directions.  Looking back, Mount Direction rose up (I knew it sat just behind the Bowen Bridge where I had walked earlier in the day). The rural nature of the area below the small mountain is evident closer to the water’s edge.

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By 12.25pm, I had passed a sign indicating I had reached the locale of Old Beach, and I’d stopped and looked at the headland containing the Cadbury’s chocolate factory on the western side of the Derwent River.

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Walking beside the guard rail on the water side for safety, rather than the road side, was not an easy experience.  Also, it was not safe in parts especially where the slippery gravel dropped down to the water side. Nevertheless I persisted where I could and, after brushing beneath a wattle tree, came out the other side perfumed. A clean sweet smell. Very refreshing. On the rocks, a lone Pied Oyster Catcher wobbled away nervously.  I could see his future meals through the clear water.

Around some more corners, and I arrived at Cassidy’s Bay.

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