Twisted trees of Slope Point, New Zealand

Slope Point is the southernmost tip of New Zealand’s South Island. It lies 4800 km (2982 mi) from the South Pole and 5100 km (3168 mi) from the equator, so it’s regularly exposed to unimaginable weather conditions. The air stream loops that travel over the Southern Ocean uninterrupted for 3200 km (2000 mi) make landfall at Slope Point, making for consistently extreme winds. And yet, even in this uniquely harsh environment, extraordinary beauty can be found.

The extreme winds that batter Slope Point are so strong and consistent that the trees that grow there are molded into strangely and beautifully twisted forms. The trees themselves would not exist there if not for the sheep farmers that live nearby. Although Slope Point itself is almost uninhabited and is only reachable my foot, nearby farmers’ sheep graze there. The farmers raised small groves of hardy trees to offer their livestock some respite from the strong winds.

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