Last week I went to Fiordland to meet up with some of the Trustees of the Deep Cove Education Trust. The drive across from Dunedin lead towards some interesting cloud formations, presaging bad weather ahead.

Accessed via a 50 minute ferry trip across Lake Manapouri, and then about 20kms of unsealed road, Deep Cove is in the heart of the dramatic forested mountains of Fiordland. 

The Deep Cove Education Trust runs an extremely popular outdoor centre catering for school groups throughout the year.

Bruce Smart (left) is a long term member of the Trust. Along with Malcolm Walker, he has a passion for introducing Fiordland’s wilderness to young people.

Fiordland is made up largely of rocks that have been formed deep in the earth’s crust and then uplifted by plate collision. Millions of years of erosion have removed the overlying rock, to leave a dramatic topography of ice and water sculpted peaks, valleys and fiords. The landslide visible on this photo occurred as a result of the magnitude 7.8 earthquake in 2009.

During our stay, the rain teemed down –  I liked the comment from the bus driver who said – “if you have ever wondered what the inside of a cloud looks like – just look out the window…”

When the cloud cleared, we got a good view of many spectacular waterfalls thundering down the mountain slopes.

Water, water, everywhere.

During our short stay, there wasn’t much chance for doing a lot of geological investigation. Still, GNS Science researcher Rose Turnbull, managed to have a look for interesting samples in some rock debris not far from the Hostel.

You can read about the Deep Cove Educational Facility on their website here.  Bruce also has a blog at

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