I wonder how many people have ever heard of Orepuki? Even for those from Southland, there is a possibility you might not be able to place this wee town on the southern coast. Orepuki is an example of a “blink and you’ll likely miss it” town. Along the Southern Scenic Route, it’s small, with few permanent residents. So close to the often wild and rough southern seas, it’s winds can rip right through a person. Around Orepuki it is possible to find trees adapted, with their branches growing away from the wind.
But despite its size Orepuki has a claim to fame which draws many visitors every year. Gemstone Beach. Along its cliff lined beach there is a creek which transports gemstones down from the hills. Stones found on the beach could include pale green hydrogrossular, jasper, garnet and black magnetite sands containing fine gold and platinum, rodingite, idocrase, epidote, fossil worm casts, oil shale, rare sapphire. While I felt like I was in heaven fossicking among the stones, unfortunately I wouldn’t know or recognise any of these aforementioned gems if they up and bit me. But while I have no idea what I picked up, the stones did fill more than one two litre ice cream container. I can admit it was very heavy to carry. What will I do with this collection of stones? I have no idea, but I have, I believe, what are some beautiful examples…of something.