We have developed a set of locations that form the easily accessible Vanished World Trail.

The self-guided Trail spans coastal localities from Moeraki to Oamaru and extends inland through the Waitaki Valley. Visit sites related to landforms, distinctive rocks, minerals, and fossils.

Most sites have signposts and/or explanatory panels. An informative trail brochure with a summary of sites and a location map is available for purchase at the Vanished World Centre in Duntroon.

Vanished World Self Drive Route

The Trail showcases some key geological sites in North Otago. 

The limestone of the Waitaki region holds the signatures of the inhabitants of the ancient seas; shellfish, corals, sharks, fish, penguins, whales and dolphins.

Two Trail sites show skeletons of fossil vertebrates that have been excavated and exposed (behind protective covers) for viewing. As you travel along you will often see spectacular limestone outcrops, interspersed with fossil fragments that settled on the seafloor, 75-100 m below the sea surface some 24-26 million years ago. Look up and imagine the the ocean above your head, what would you see swimming around?

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