Southland the home of giants

LLOYD ESLER
Last updated 13:52 05/12/2013
Milford Sound
MAJESTIC: We emerge from the amphitheatre of mountains to Milford Sound and are met with the image on all the postcards of a 1682-metre sheer peak rising from still water

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Did you know. . . Southland's largest animal is The Lion, a 1302m high rock in Milford Sound that resembles a crouching lion.

Second largest may be The Giraffe, pictured, which appeared when a slip exposed rock at Lake Manapouri.

The perceived resemblance of natural shapes to animals and body parts, particularly facial features, is called pareidolia.

The best example is the "Face on Mars", which is actually an eroded mountain. Pareidolia is the explanation for ghosts which appear in photographs where shadows and reflections and patches of light and dark resemble humans.

New Zealand's largest muster of wild horses and biggest horse sales took place when the horses of Ruapuke Island were rounded up, shipped to the mainland on the Kekeno and transported to the Wallacetown saleyards in the 1920s.

Southland's first motels were probably Mitchell's Motels in Alice Street. In 1956 the tariff was [PndStlg]2 5/- per day per unit. That's $4.50.

Southland's remotest spot is the one remaining "confluence point" that has never been visited.

There are five confluence points in Southland where latitude and longitude intersect as whole numbers.

Four have been visited - at Chatton, Wairio, Big Glory Bay and on the Milford Road. 46'S 167'E is deep in the Cameron Mountains in southwest Fiordland. It is 36 kilometres from Port Craig and at an altitude of 548m.

The story of confluences can be found on confluence.org.

Southland's and New Zealand's most poisonous spider is the redback which turns up occasionally.

The female is black with a distinct red stripe. The similar, native katipo reaches its southern limit at Karitane, just north of Dunedin. Some other spiders have a nasty bite such as the white-tailed spider which is well established in Southland.

About The South Lloyd Esler 15 Mahuri Rd, Otatara, RD 9, Invercargill Phone-fax (03) 213 0404 email: esler@southnet.co.nz

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- The Southland Times

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