Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

New Zealand: Shakespeare Cliff Scenic and Historic Reserve

with 10 comments

Look at the native bush and the naturally sculpted rocks we saw on March 7th at the Shakespeare Cliff Scenic and Historic Reserve in Cooks Bay on the Coromandel Peninsula. If you’d like a better look at the closest and most prominent rock formation, click the excerpt below.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 30, 2017 at 4:55 AM

10 Responses

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  1. The big rock formation resembles a whale……………

    Rana Sanders

    April 30, 2017 at 8:32 AM

  2. That is a remarkable formation.


    April 30, 2017 at 8:56 AM

    • It seems that many visitors to the reserve hike up to a lookout, but the sky was overcast and we had intermittent light rain. I was glad to see this view from the road, especially as there was an easy place to pull over.

      I just did a Google search for “Shakespeare Cliff Scenic and Historic Reserve” and found that this post turned up as the seventh hit.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 30, 2017 at 9:46 AM

  3. The cliff reminded me at first of my chert nodules from the hill country: a relatively thin crust over a different interior rock.

    I did a little snooping, and found Shakespeare Cliff described as a blend of volcanic ash and pumice from an eruption seven million years ago. Those were tourist-oriented sites, though, so I looked around a bit more and found an article (from 1874) about the Wanganui Tertiaries which is more detailed, and which also mentions the pumice. Pages 453-454 are most relevant, although I kept reading some distance past that.

    It looks to me as though you’ve captured some of the blue clay in your photo.


    April 30, 2017 at 9:45 AM

    • Thanks for that reference. One thing that puzzles me is the description of Shakespeare Cliff as “opposite the town of Wanganui.” Whanganui, as Wanganui is more commonly spelled now, lies on the other side of the North Island from Shakespeare Cliff, and is over six hours away by car. I wonder if one of the towns near Shakespeare Cliff used to be called Wanganui.

      I hadn’t been aware of the blue clay in the area, but now that you’ve brought it up I do see a bit of a bluish cast in the frontmost rock face.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 30, 2017 at 10:18 AM

  4. My first response was the same as others…a whale, possibly beached, so to speak. Amazingly smooth rock.

    Steve Gingold

    April 30, 2017 at 2:37 PM

    • Although you and others saw the rock as a whale, I didn’t. I can see it that way now, thanks to the power of suggestion.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 30, 2017 at 6:58 PM

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