You’ve probably heard of the Moeraki Boulders, those strangely spherical rocks on that beach somewhere in New Zealand.
Well that beach is called Koekohe, and can be found on the South Island’s east coast, between Dunedin and Oamaru. The boulders are absolutely worth seeing, but be warned: they attract a lot of tourists.
When you turn off State Highway 1 at Koekohe Beach, you’ll see an enormous sign pointing left towards the Moeraki Boulders. It’s a trap. It leads to a crowded café and giftshop, and a stairway to the boulders that you have to pay to go down. Instead, turn right. That road leads to the public carpark, from which you can access the boulders for free.
The more you look at the Moeraki Boulders, the more they resemble enormous alien eggs.
The worrying thing is that some of them look like they’ve already had things hatch out of them.
Here, you can see the cliff giving birth to one.
The Moeraki Boulders are made of mudstone, formed millions of years ago on the ocean floor. As the cliff erodes, more and more are exposed.
The scientific term for them, and rocks like them, is septarian concretions.
The Moeraki Boulders contain calcite crystals, as well as quartz and sometimes dolomite.
They’re not unique to Koekohe, or even New Zealand.
You can see similar boulders in a seemingly more bizarre and even more magical setting in a forest near Taihape. They’re called the Whitecliffs Boulders. I’ll show you the pictures I took there another time.