As mentioned in the first Post of this Series, I am undertaking a three-week stone collecting trip to the South Island by car. I am posting up-dates on Facebook for family and friends, then re-posting them here.
Day Six, Gore to Riverton, Visit to Back Beach – A cold but sunny day in the south! Arrived at Riverton at lunchtime. Visited the Back Beach for about 45 minutes as the late afternoon sun was going down. Were a few people there, enjoying the end of the first long weekend under Alert Level Two.
The stones on the Back Beach are a very mixed bunch. Most are rough and don’t look good candidates for polishing. However, I have often been surprised at how well they turn out after spending time in the tumbler barrel. The key is to see the potential of the colours and patterns. I found very few fossil worm cast stones despite them having been much easier to find earlier this year.
Day Seven, First Visit to Gemstone Beach – Warmish cloudy day, spent three hours on Gemstone Beach with my sister Helen. About 10 other people were on the beach at different times as well, one was a local collector of hydrogrossular garnets I had met before, and three were Czech people stranded in NZ by the Covid-19 pandemic, undertaking a South Island tour in Level Two. Helen and I first went to the left of the carpark where stones are not usually deposited on the beach. Today there was a good selection there.
We then dropped our initial finds off in the car before walking to the right, past the Taunoa Stream. About 500 metres in that direction we started to find a few small hydrogrossular garnets. Overall, many interesting stones on the beach.
Day Eight, Second Visit to Gemstone Beach – Another warm day, spent four hours on Gemstone Beach with my sister Helen. We timed our arrival for just after high tide and decided to move westwards along the beach towards the Waimeamea River mouth, just over one kilometre away. However, we were initially unable to cross the Taunoa Stream so spent 30 minutes or so on the beach near the carpark until the tide went out a bit more and the Taunoa Stream went down. We then made our way towards the Waimeamea River, arriving there about two and a half hours later, collecting stones all the way.
Another hour saw us back at the carpark, just as a cooler breeze was getting up. We found a few hydrogrossular garnets, as well as some nice specimens of fossil worm cast stones, along with a good number of colourful and interesting patterned stones likely to respond well to tumble polishing.
Day Nine – Too wet and windy, stayed inside.
Day Ten, Third Visit to Gemstone Beach – A cold front moved through yesterday and the temperature has dropped. However, I dressed warmly and headed to the beach. Ended up spending five hours there. Arrived just before high tide, and the waves were high and powerful, forcing me initially to look for stones at the foot of the cliff at the back of the beach.
I went about one kilometre past the Waimeamea River mouth, further than I have gone before. I dropped off a couple of stashes of stones along the way to pick up when returning, so my backpack would remain as light as long as possible, though by the time I got back to the carpark it was quite heavy!
See here for the next Post in this Series.