The fossilized trees you can see at the Curio Bay Petrified Forest were alive around 170 million years ago when New Zealand was part of the Gondwana super continent. Massive sheet floods of volcanic debris are believed to have destroyed the forest.
In the millions of years since, the sediments were buried deeply and impregnated over time with silica minerals, eventually turning the wood to rock. This rare and internationally important site can be best viewed at low tide.
Souvenir hunters have removed some of these rare fossils over the years and this practice is illegal.
Image by BackpackerGuide.nz