Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

New Zealand: three faces of Te Hoho

with 9 comments

On March 7th we visited Cathedral Cove, a scenic tourist attraction on the Coromandel Peninsula. The ThousandWonders website says this: “The cliffs surrounding Cathedral Cove are made of white massive ignimbrite, a rock produced by explosive volcanic eruptions about eight million years ago. A little offshore is a pinnacle of pumice breccia rock, known as ‘Te Hoho’. Centuries of wind and water has shaped this rock to look like a ship’s prow approaching the beach.”

How you release your inner pareidolia depends on the place from which you view Te Hoho. As I kept moving to the left of the position from which I took the first photograph, I saw the rock take on a second and then a third shape.

From the second position I seemed to see a giant cowboy boot. Nothing particular suggested itself to me from the first position or the third, but you may have visions you’d like to describe.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 2, 2017 at 4:53 AM

9 Responses

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  1. This is a favorite. It’s one of those bits of nature that’s perfect just as it is. I wish I were there to get a really up-close-and-personal look at it: probably closer than would be possible or allowed. Actually, I wish I could reach out and touch it. I’m especially intrigued by the contrast between the rougher, pumice-y texture near the bottom, and the smooth areas.

    The trees draped artistically down the side seem just right, too. They’re give a sense of scale, as well as being beautiful.

    I did think of Native American tools when I saw the first and second photos. The depressions make it look like a piece of chert that’s been chipped to provide raw material for arrowheads or scrapers. And the last view? It may be the world’s biggest and most elegant bonsai.


    June 2, 2017 at 3:33 PM

    • I saw some people in the water right up against this structure, so you could touch it. The harder part is going half-way around the world to get to the place.

      Aren’t those trees something? I never thought of a bonsai.

      Apropos Native American tools and other implements: we’ve seen a lot of them in exhibitions in Nebraska and South Dakota over the past week.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 3, 2017 at 10:40 PM

  2. The second photo resembles a bust of Julius Caesar, or some other Roman Emperor with a very prominent chin!


    October 1, 2018 at 10:54 PM

  3. Somehow I missed this. That second shot makes the rock look like a hiking boot. Or Tanja’s Caesar.

    Steve Gingold

    March 7, 2022 at 10:49 AM

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