Neighborhood Travels

New Zealand Part 8: Moeraki Boulders

One of the places I definitely wanted to visit in New Zealand was on the South Island at a much photographed beach known for its Moeraki Boulders.  I allowed an entire day for this stop just to be certain I would be there at low tide. There was one thing I didn’t plan for…that I would forget the plate that connects my camera to the tripod!  I could have kicked myself for that mistake since it was impossible to take long exposure shots without it.

Still, there was no point in fretting over what couldn’t be fixed.  Instead I shot what I could and enjoyed these awesome stones.  They are stones, right?

Clusters of Moeraki Boulders
Clusters of Moeraki Boulders

I’m not certain I can explain exactly what these things are.  They didn’t just roll up onto the beach.  The surrounding land eroded gradually and in so doing, revealed the boulders.  What’s more they are called concretions.  They are hollow and covered by tiny cracks.  The  Boulders (or concretions) developed over time as minerals slowly came together (concreted) into spheres.  They are very old, dating back to the time of the first large mammals. Shhh, I can hear my geologist daughter sighing at the above explanation so I’ve added the above link.

I doubt if most people care what they are or how they came to be on the beach.  These boulders draw a crowd and they did so while I was there.  That’s another reason to choose wisely when trying to photograph.  You probably don’t want extra people in your shot.

People posing on the Moeraki Boulders
People posing on the Moeraki Boulders

The boulders run right down into the sea so the best time to see them is at low tide.  Obviously everyone else knows that too.

Moeraki Boulders extend right out into the sea.
Moeraki Boulders extend right out into the sea.

The above image was shot from up on top of the cliff.   Parking and admission payments are all handled up above and then one walks down the steps to the beach.   I know of no other access so plan to take everything you need on the first trip down.  This is something I learned the hard way as I frantically went back and forth trying to find all the pieces to my tripod!

Broken Moeraki Boulder on the beach
Broken Moeraki Boulder on the beach         Photo by Halley Sanchez Boatman

In the above shot you can see the steps in the background.  They lead up to the gift shop which has a boulder-like roof!

Actually this is a marvelous spot.  You can’t get lost and there’s lots to see.  The boulders are amazing. Some are huge and others are simply a pile of broken bits, like the one above.   And there are lots of birds.

Masses of little white birds at Moeraki Boulders
Masses of little white birds at Moeraki Boulders

I’ve no idea what these little fellows are but there were a lot of them, and they were heading my way.  Purely coincidence, I’m sure.

Would I visit again?  Yes, but I think I would plan the trip just a little bit better.


Elizabeth Boatman

Traveler, explorer, memory maker and someone who's just downright curious about stuff. It's all about finding joy.

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