Abbey Caves, Whangarei, Northland, New Zealand 

The Abbey Caves Reserve comprises of naturally sculptured limestone outcrops, bluffs, enclosed depressions, sink holes and three significant caves, Organ, Middle and Ivy.

Two distinct areas of native bush with well established podocarp-hardwood forest include particularly fine specimens of puriri trees.

Nathaniel and Amelia Clotworthy settled on 409 acres here in about 1860. Their house in the limestone outcrops resembled an Irish ‘abbey’ leading to the name.

The house was destroyed by fire in 1920 but the site is still marked by chimney remains. A grave of one of the Clot worthy children also remains from 1884.

The land was bought by the Golden Bay Cement Company as a site to establish a mine, but in 1989 they sold it to the then City Council as a reserve for the people of Whangarei.

Epic New Zealand Culture & Adventure Route © Monika Newbound

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