Alpine Fault Tours
See how the forces of the colliding Pacific and Australian tectonic plates have shaped the awesome Southern Alps.
Where you can see the naturally exposed Alpine Fault.
Alpine Fault Tours will take you on a two hour discovery adventure to see where the Pacific and Australian continental plates meet. Visit the drilling site and learn how it plays a vital role in seismic monitoring and see how two active plates come together and shape the land around them. The Alpine fault is a natural wonder of our planet that until recently has only been accessible to international geologists studying and monitoring the site. Tour hosts, Gray and Vicki, enthusiastically share their knowledge of the fault with visitors from all over the world. Their commentary and guided walk also give an informative brief of the unique New Zealand flora and fauna along the way.
The Gaunt Creek exposure site is one of the most significant sites in the world where middle earth has been thrust to the surface from 30 kilometres below by the power of the colliding tectonic plates. The fault is like nothing you have seen before. It’s unusual colour and texture created by pressure and heat must be seen to be believed. It is the only naturally exposed fault site on the globe making it a magnet for scientists from all around the world. The Gaunt Creek seismic observatory has provided global scientists with a quantum leap forward in their knowledge about earthquakes. The site is the first place in the world where scientist have been able to drill right through an active fault.
We look forward to showing you the bigger picture of how the earth works from up close. The tour departs from the Alpine Fault Tours office on the main street of Whataroa and the follows the Waitangi-taona Valley to Gaunt Creek. It is suitable for all ages and a reasonable level of fitness is required. Tour duration may be approximate due to weather conditions.