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Taieri Plains and Sinclair Wetlands

The Tairi Plains are an area that worth going there. The Plains are a wide valley south of Dunedin. If you drive from Dunedin to Mosgiel you pass a lookout point called "Lookout Point", here is a fire station that overlooks the whole valley. From here you will have a first look to Saddle Hill and the Taieri Plains. Go further on the Highway No 1. The Highway starts at the top of the North Island and ends in Invercargill at the southern end of the South Island. There is also the Dunedin Airport in the Taieri Plains, at Momona/Allanton. The Taieri Plains are named after one of the rivers crossing the plains, the Taieri River. The other river passing through the plains is the Waipori River. The Waipori is a tributary river of the Taieri. The plains are protected from the cold southern wind by a chain of hills at the coast in the east, the Coastal Hill. In the west are the and at the mountains of Maungatua and the Silverpeaks Range. There are two lakes in the Plains, Lake Waihola und Lake Waipori. The Plains have got a maximum wide of 30 km and cover an area of 300 square km. With up to 2 m below sea level the Taieri Plains are one of the lowest areas in New Zealand. New Zealand is still raising from the sea, the Australian Plate is moving below the Pacific Plate and lifts New Zealand up. Not far ago the area where now are the Taieri Plains has been a part of the ocean. You can still find many shells, in particular in the Wetlands. This protected position makes it possible that it is always 2 - 3 degrees warmer in Taieri Plains then in Dunedin.

Beside from Mosgiel and Outram there are two other bigger townships, Milton and Waihola. Of course there are some smaller places and single farms. In Milton you will find the "Milton Hilton", the prison. The prison is not only one of the newest buildings in Milton, it is also very comfortable (it has central heading) and has a swimming pool of its own. That is why the people in that area called the place "The Milton Hilton".

Just before Milton you find a stone quarry. Here they are breaking the famous lime stone of Otago, where many old buildings in Dunedin are built from. During the works at the quarry a wale skeleton was found some years ago. Together with a few other fossils which were found the wale skeleton is shown in a little showcase on the paddock above the quarry. Here the exhibits are accessible for everybody, provided that you know where to find it.

Both lakes (Lake Waihola and Lake Waipori) are surrounded bei swamp land. A part of it was bought by the farmer Horace Sinclair in 1960. He had the vision to re-create that area. When Horace Sinclair died in 1998 he made sure, that the Sinclair Wetland would be a Natur Reservation with public access for a long term by settling a contract with the government. The aim is to protect the existing wetlands and to help the native water birds to recover from the European and Asian influence. Since European and Asian water birds came to New Zealand a "Waihola Lake Duck" developed by mating between native ducks and the European wild duck. At the Nature Reservation is a little station and you will find an Information Centre. Here a ranger waits for you to give you any information about the Sinclair Wetlands, the re-creation and the water birds living here.

New Zealand Flax
The Maoris used the plant for many thing, moist of all to build huts and boats. The pedicles are extrem hard and hollow, so it is quite suitable for building boats.

The Wetlands

View towards Coastal Hills

View from a paddok above the stone quary towards Lake Waihola and Saddle Hill

View into the other direction - here one of the Gravel Roads, typical for New Zealand

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