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Vanished World - Self Drive
Scenic Trail

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. A full informative Vanished World Trail brochure with a summary of sites and a location map is available for purchase at the Vanished World Centre in Duntroon.

Elephant Rocks
Tokarahi Sill

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?

Self Drive Scenic Tour Map

Image: Self Drive Map with a few of the Vanished World Trail sites

Tour Highlights of Vanished World Trail

Bridge Point

Take a walk inside an ancient volcano! Make sure to visit at low tide to see two sea arches at their best. Explore rock pools and take a stroll along the beach.

All Day Bay/Campbells Bay

Sand, surf, seals, and penguins! Waitaki has some of the best coastline in New Zealand, walk for hours with not a soul in sight.

Kakanui Beach

Kakanui Beach will definitely keep the kids interested thanks to the abundant sea life accessible at low tide. At the northern tip, the beach is accessible via the boat ramp, head north at low tide to explore the rock pools. Head south along the curve of the beach to the Kakanui river mouth keeping an eye open for treasures washed up by the tides.


Explore the sheltered and narrow valley of Anatini. Featuring the fossils of a baleen whale partially exposed in a limestone outcrop.

Take a VR tour - Nicol's Blacksmith, Duntroon

Nicol’s Blacksmith Shop, which operated as a smithy from the mid 1890s to its closure in the early 1970s, is a special example of a working smithy with all its tools and equipment left intact. It provides insight into the work of blacksmiths, wheel wrights and later motor garages during this period.

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