Located 70 km north of the city of Dunedin, Moeraki is now most famous for its boulders; mysteriously spherical stones scattered across a beach just north of the village, some more than 2 metres (6.6 feet) across.
Moeraki Boulders
Moeraki Boulders
Cracks in a boulder filled by yellow calcite

Moeraki Boulders

Centuries of coastline erosion have revealed one of New Zealand's most mysterious attractions, the Moeraki Boulders. 60 million years ago these odd concretions began to form around small shells, bone fragments and pieces of wood, growing for up to 5 million years to their incredible size. Today the boulders are strewn across the beach in various states, many round and perfect, others cracked open to reveal their prehistoric fossil core.

Just 1 km north of the Moeraki township, the entrance to this mysterious beach is off State Highway 1. An excellent place to stop off and take a break from driving, relax in the cafe overlooking the ocean before venturing down to explore the golden beach.

Looking north from where your feet hit the sand, the boulders seem to grow impossibly in size as you approach them. Discover the calcite-filled cracks running through the boulders like giant turtle shells, climb on top of or inside the biggest one you can find, or simply watch the tide wash lazily around them.

According to Maori Legend, the boulders are the eel baskets, calabashes and kumara (sweet potatoes) that were washed ashore after the great waka (canoe) Arai-te-uru was wrecked at Shag Point, just south of Moeraki.

There is one very large Moeraki Boulder outside the Otago Museum in Dunedin. At 6 ft (1.8 m) in height it weighs over 7 tons, and was transported to Dunedin by truck. The boulders are now legally protected from damage, graffiti or removal.


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