Slope Point, the southernmost point of the South Island of New Zealand, is a truly unique place. Due to the strong Antarctic winds, the trees here stretch sideways rather than upwards.
At Slope Point, which lies approximately 24 kms from the small settlement of Waikawa, cold air whirls around the Antarctic Ocean uninterrupted, making the winds so fierce when they smash themselves onto this exposed coastal area that the trees here are perpetually warped and grow in an almost horizontal manner, reminiscent of a weird hairdo.
These tough, enduring shrubs were planted here by sheep farmers to give their flocks some protection from the savage weather. As they struggle to bear the brunt of the windy assault, they bend northward in a uniform fashion.
On a pleasant day, beams of sunlight penetrate the gray, sinister-looking clouds, giving the impression of a surreal artistic masterpiece. Indeed, Slope Point is a beautiful place to hike, with the green pastureland stretching toward the horizon, leading to the rocky cliffs that plunge into the water below. You’ll hardly encounter anyone here apart from other hikers and the sheep dotting the rolling hillsides.
Against all odds though, a few venturesome folks have chosen the place as their home but they might be gone now
Upon arrival, the visitor is greeted by a canary yellow sign showing the distance between Slope Point, the South Pole, and the Equator
Not only the trees are formed into unique shapes by the roaring winds, rocks are too
The winds that batter Slope Point are so strong and persistent that trees are molded into strangely and beautifully twisted shapes
But just how strong are those winds? Well check this out:
A truly surreal experience.