In many places basalt reefs made of lava flows from Mt Horrible eruptions some two and a half million years ago, extended beyond the cliffs into the sea. It was these lava flows and reefs which shaped the local coastline into headlands and bays which provided shelter along an otherwise exposed coastline for Maori, early whalers and settlers alike.
In fact the first regular European visitors to this area where the whalers who established whale processing sites at Patiti Point and in the Caroline Bay area around 1837.
This open coastline was hazardous to early shipping and many boats came to grief including the Benvenue and City of Perth (memorial on the corner of Perth and Sophia Streets).
In 1878 the growing settlement of Timaru needed better facilities for shipping to service the area and a breakwater was built extending from the shoreline in the vicinity of the old landing services building at the seaward end of Strathallan Street.
This began to have an immediate effect on the local coastline as it interrupted the south to north coastal ocean current which carries shingle from the large rivers to the south (e.g. Waitaki River) and gravels eroded from the coastal cliffs. This shingle is what nourishes our local beaches and, in fact, many of the beaches within the Canterbury Bight.
With the gravel flow interrupted, the heavier shingle began to build up (accrete) on the seaward side of the breakwater and this has continued to the present day. During that time over 60ha of additional land has grown out from the original cliffs and has been utilised for a variety of commercial and industrial purposes.
The fine sand held in suspension in the seawater continued north and was then drawn into the calm water on the leeward side of the new breakwater and began to gather on the beach forming Caroline Bay. This process continues to this day with sand volumes of approximately 3000m3 arriving at Caroline Bay every year.
Maximum stay 3 nights (please arrive after 4pm and leave before 10am)
Please camp responsibly:
Always use a toilet
Please don’t litter
Please dispose of toilet waste sensibly
Respect your fellow campers
Weather in New Zealand can change unexpectedly so make sure you check the forecast for any warnings and always carry appropriate provisions.
We appreciate your help in preserving the beauty of our District by camping responsibly and protecting our natural environment.
Please enjoy your stay.
Last updated: 16 Sep 2021