Fossil Bluff

Facility Snapshot

Features

Fossil Bluff is a the perfect place to discover your inner explorer. At low tide, the cliffs reveal evidence of prehistoric fossils encased in the sandstone layers. The beach is also has a treasure trove of shells to discover and collect.

East and west of the beach you’ll see a low, flat, gray rock. This is the Wynyard Tillite, about 280 million years old – having been formed in the geological period known as the Permian period. It was formed in the age of glaciations while Australia was part of the super continent called Gondwana. The glaciers flowed from the south towards the north and when they were melting and reached areas of depression they slowed down, and dropped the rocks they were carrying. Over time, mud covered the rocks, which became a mudstone conglomerate. You can find granites, cherts, quartz, jaspers and agates in the tillite, and on the beach as small pebbles.

Fossil Bluff was beneath the sea in the Oligocene geological period (about 38 million years ago) and it lies on top of the tillite. As you walk around the Bluff (at low tide) you will be able to see where the sandstone and tillite meet. Some of the layers of sandstone are rich in fossils, while others are not, showing the different climatic conditions that occurred during the millions of years of the Oligocene period. The fossils are not dissimilar to many of the shells found today. Please do not take specimens of fossils from the Bluff.

Access can be gained to the Freestone Cove Beach at the end of Freestone Crescent. Picnic tables are provided near the beach and seating is available on top of Fossil Bluff. There is a short walkway to the top of Fossil Bluff, with spectacular views of the coastline from the top.

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