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Between a rock and a hard place: Julian Croft with a massive rock dislodged from Queenstown Hill

By PHILIP CHANDLER

A monstrous rock’s landed near Queenstown’s Gorge Road, having hurtled down a cliff face about 300 metres above.

Local Julian Croft spotted the dislodged rock, near Matakauri Park, while driving along the road.

‘‘I looked over into the paddock and saw there was a big pile of turf in front of a rock.

‘‘It looked like it had been pushed up in front of the rock, and then I started looking further and started walking up the track to see where it had come from.

‘‘And I realised it had come from pretty much the top.’’

Croft suspects the rock was dislodged during winter after a heavy rainfall.

‘‘It started by sliding and then it’s got momentum up and actually been bouncing — it would have been travelling at quite some speed.

‘‘It’s created a series of craters between 15 and 20 metres apart.’’

At one stage he says it must have jumped over trees about five metres high.

This week he measured the rock as 7m long, 3.3m wide and 2m tall.

Other rocks in the paddock have also come down over the centuries, he says, ‘‘but none are quite as big as this one’’.

The rock’s come from Queenstown Hill and landed in a neighbouring paddock.

‘‘It would have been rather frightening to be anywhere near [that rock fall], that’s for sure,’’ Queenstown Hill farmer Kelvin Middleton says.

‘‘I heard from the neighbours that it’s landed, but hopefully we don’t get charged rent for it being on their property.

‘‘Thankfully, council have made some good decisions both where to put houses and where not to.’’

scoop@scene.co.nz