The Twisted Trees of Slope Point

On the southernmost tip of New Zealand’s South Island sits Slope Point. There, the airstreams loop the vast circumpolar Southern Ocean unobstructed for 2,000 miles, and then they smash into land. They are so persistent and so violent that the trees are perpetually warped and twisted into crooked, windswept shapes. It’s not surprising that this is why no one lives at Slope Point. Yet, like virtually everywhere else in New Zealand, you will find sheep in abundance. Even these hardy creatures need some shelter from the elements, which is why decades ago local farmers planted saplings they hoped would afford their animals some shelter from the savagely inclement weather. As they grew, the trees were so bombarded by the wind that their branches became twisted in order to offer the least resistance to the gales blasting in from the South Pole. Spectacularly steep cliffs descend to the sea which means that there's no slope forming a natural break for the winds, despite the place’s name. There’s no road to Slope Point at all, and the closest one is a brisk 20-minute walk away. It's not surprising that there are only 58 people who live within a 5-mile radius of the area.